Team UK have beaten Australia to the team trophy in the Tahbilk International Challenge at Phillip Island.
The annual event – now in its 22nd year – sees riders compete in a number of solo classes for classic bikes, with points accrued in the four International Challenge races contributing to the team points. Hundreds of riders travel to Phillip Island for the event which sees bikes dating back to pre-WW1 through to the ‘New Era’ (1983 – 1990) compete in a number of races.
With Australia having beaten the UK to the teams trophy in 2014 – by 75 points – the tables were turned with a number of consistent finishes for the UK riders, allowing them to win by 42 points. Jeremy McWilliams secured pole position for the first International Challenge race but lost out to Shawn Giles. The pair shared the Ken Wootton Trophy (the individual award) last year. Giles, riding a 1982 Suzuki Katana 1294, finished just a tenth of a second ahead of McWilliams with Australia’s Cameron Donald in third place. Jed Metcher finished fourth for Australia while Glen Richards was the UK’s next best finisher in fifth. Brendan Roberts (Australia), Conor Cummins (UK), Ryan Farquhar (UK), Ryan Taylor (Australia) and Damien Kavney (New Zealand) rounded out the top ten finishers.
Race two saw McWilliams back on top but again it was a close margin with second placed finisher Metcher just a tenth back. They were joined on the podium by Paul Young. The UK finished particularly strongly in the race, boosting their team chances, with six finishing in the top ten. Farquhar was fourth, Cummins sixth, Mike Edwards seventh, John McGuinness eighth, and Craig Ditchburn in ninth. Brendan Roberts finished in fifth place for Australia with Kavney once again in tenth. Giles added a second victory to his tally in the third race, beating Roberts and Young resulting in an all Australian podium. Donald finished in fourth place with Cummins fifth, Farquhar sixth, McGuinness seventh, Edwards eight, Ditchburn ninth and Kavney in tenth.
It all came down to the fourth race and it was another Australian win, this time with Metcher taking the spoils. Giles finished second with Young once again in third. Donald was fourth with Farquhar leading the UK charge in fifth. McWilliams, Cummins, Steve Martin (Australia), McGuinness, and Edwards rounded out the top ten.
The end result was that Team UK topped the teams trophy total with 617 points with Australia finishing runner up on 575 points. The USA were third with 445 points with New Zealand ending up with 347 points.