Everything old is new again and in 2020, nothing’s cooler than a vintage motorcycle!
For an Australia Day long weekend getaway with a historic high-horsepower twist and a spot of seaside camping thrown in, head to Victoria’s spectacular Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for January’s International Island Classic.
The highlight will be the bar-banging International Challenge battle when Australia takes on America and a new-look UK.
Australia is the defending champion, and the ace up the locals’ sleeve is that they are going in with close to an unchanged line-up in 2020, so the likes of 2019 individual winner Steve Martin, David Johnson, Aaron Morris, Jed Metcher, Shawn Giles, Alex Phillis, Cameron Donald and Beau Beaton will all hit the ground running when practice begins on Friday ahead of qualifying and the four six-lap races on Saturday and Sunday.
However, that home ground advantage will only serve as motivation for America and the UK, especially the former which on paper has the means to seriously test the Aussies.
An American victory will depend a lot on the form of Josh Hayes, who won last year’s final race and is an out and out superstar with multiple AMA superbike titles to his credit.
Canadian superbike legend Jordan Szoke and Taylor Knapp are the new – and extremely fast – members of the America team, and other guns include Larry Pegram, Michael Gilbert and Hayes’ wife, Melissa Paris – the first female to compete in the International Challenge.
The UK returns in 2020 after sitting out last year’s event, and is packed with classic racing devotees from the British racing ranks – as well as a machine that was previously ridden at the event by the indomitable Jeremy McWilliams.
Team captain Tony Hart will ride that bike, and some of the UK big names include 30-year-old Alex Sinclair, who claims several Classic TT and Manx titles to his name, and chief tester for British motorcycle weekly MCN, Michael Neeves.
Classic History In A Packed Three-Day Schedule
Now in its 27th year, and the largest historic motorcycle racing event in the Southern Hemisphere, the weekend honours a century of motorcycling in three action-packed days, celebrating the splendour of historic racing across so many levels, from the exotic machines to the people who race and prep them.
As well the International Challenge, the Island Classic includes 50 other races for machines across the six historic racing categories: Veteran (up to 1919), Vintage (1920-1945), Classic (1946-1962), Post Classic (1963-1972), Forgotten Era (1973-1982) and New Era (1983-1990).
Up to 400 solo bikes will take to the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit over the three days, where each class will be decided after one qualifying session and five races and riders also vying for the Phil Irving Perpetual Trophy for the highest scorer in non-International Challenge events.
Qualifying will begin on Friday for all classes, followed by a full program of racing from late Friday through Saturday and Sunday. For more event info and tickets go to www.islandclassic.com.au
An Affordable Australia Day Long-Weekend Away
Traditionally, Australia Day long weekend sojourns in beach-side locations cost a bomb! But think again, with Phillip Island’s Island Classic.
The circuit opens its grounds for camping for ticket holders, and suddenly four nights camping in a spectacular seaside location, is yours for a fraction of the cost you would normally pay.
But the trick is to buy in advance and secure your camping spot early.
Wrap your three-day event ticket in with four nights of on-circuit camping, and the cost for your Island Classic getaway – entry to three days of on-track action and camping with views over Bass Strait – will be just $167 booked in advance.
Even better, bring the family, because children 15 and under are free for camping and event entry, if they are accompanied by a full-paying adult.
Bookings for pre-purchased general admission and camping tickets close at 12:00pm on Thursday, January 23. You can buy at the gate from 8am Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings but it will cost you a little more.
INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE – TEAM AUSTRALIA
Captain: Rex Wolfenden
|186||Beau Beaton||Irving Vincent||1982||1300|
|86||Cameron Donald||Irving Vincent||1982||1300|
INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE – TEAM USA
Captain: Dave Crussell
|55||Michael Gilbert||Yamaha||CMR FJ|
|4||Josh Hayes||Yamaha||CMR FJ||1983||1250|
|44||Taylor Knapp||Yamaha||CMR FJ||1983||1250|
|72||Larry Pegram||Yamaha||CMR FJ||1983||1250|
|32||Joe Pethoud||Yamaha||F1 Harris FJ100||1984||1250|
|62||Robert Ruwoldt||Harris Kawasaki||F1||1980||1260|
|101||Jordan Szoke||Yamaha||CMR FJ||1983||1250|
INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE – TEAM UK
Captain: Tony Hart
|39||Tony Hart||Harris Suzuki||F1||1982||1085|
|33||Jim Agombar||Spondon Yamaha||TZ750||1978||750|
|107||Roger Gunn||Harris Suzuki||F1||1982||1170|
|111||Johnny Nordberg||Ducati||Veetwo Imola||1972||748|
|331||Michael Neeves||Harris Suzuki||1984|
|54||Brendan Wilson||Suzuki||Harris F1||1980||1170|
Tickets Now On Sale
The International Island Classic is an affordable Australian Day long-weekend away with your mates and family, so plan now for your island escape with tickets and on-circuit camping on-sale at islandclassic.com.au
Pre-purchase and save on general admission and camping tickets, with children under 15 free.
The ever-popular Club Classic Hospitality is a perfect way to relax and unwind as you take in all the on-track action from the climate-controlled glass fronted suite overlooking Pit Lane, the Start/Finish Line and Gardner Straight.
Qualifying will begin on Friday for all classes, followed by a full program of racing on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information contact the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on 03 5952 2710 or visit islandclassic.com.au