Team UK have once again won the International Challenge Classic, beating Team Australia by 11 points.
The Island Classic is now in its 24th year while the International Challenge has been part of the event since 2005. It features bikes manufactured between 1973 and 1984 and Team UK have been in the hot-seat since beating Australia for the first time in 2015. Teams from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, America and new additions Ireland take part in a number of races with a number of different classes of bikes feature in the event including pre-war, Forgotten Era 250 & 350, and 500 Classic.
They are competing for the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy, the Phil Irving Perpetual Trophy, and the International Challenge. While the first two trophies are individual events, the last one is about riders accumulating points for their team.
It is the third successive year in which Team UK has beaten Australia, while new entrants Ireland came third. Team USA finished fourth with New Zealand fifth.
Jeremy McWilliams – an experienced rider for Team UK – won three of the four races which contribute to the International Challenge trophy. In the first race he was joined by Shawn Giles (Australia) and Peter Hickman (UK) on the podium. Race two saw Hickman finish second ahead of Jed Metcher of Australia. McWilliams and Hickman were first and second in race three also with Giles in third. The fourth and final race was won by Alex Phillis from Australia, beating McWilliams and Australia team-mate Steve Martin.
“Riders leave absolutely nothing in the tank at the International Challenge, and that’s what makes it so special to compete in and win,” McWilliams said of the event. “We are allowed to ride bikes on the limit by the owners, and it’s been an honour to represent the UK and get the job done again in 2017”.
McWilliams was joined in Team UK by Hickman, John McGuinness, Conor Cummins, James Hillier, and Glen Richards. Craig Ditchburn, Alex Sinclair, and Michael Neeves also featured on the entry list.
International Challenge Trophy
- United Kingdom – 651
- Australia – 640
- Ireland – 539
- USA – 357
- New Zealand – 323
Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy
- Jeremy McWilliams (UK) – 159
- Jed Metcher (Aus) – 147
- Shawn Giles (Aus) – 147
- Paul Byrne (Ire) – 140
- Conor Cummins (UK) – 133
Phil Irving Perpetual Trophy
- Murray Seabrook – 200
- Dean Ougtred – 173
- Lachlan Hill – 171
- Neil May – 170
- Peter Hinton – 168
Lewis Hamilton has won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but it was not enough to prevent Nico Rosberg becoming world champion.
Rosberg held off a late charge from Sebastian Vettel – who finished third – to become 2016 world champion. Hamilton backed his team-mate into the chasing pack, despite numerous calls from the pit wall to pick up his pace, but Rosberg was able to remain in second place. He crossed the line just four tenths off his team-mate with Vettel just four tenths further back on him.
Max Verstappen recovered from a lap one spin to make a different strategy work to finish in fourth, ahead of his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Kimi Raikkonen was a distant sixth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Felipe Massa ended his F1 career with two points ahead of Fernando Alonso who finished in tenth.
Romain Grosjean finished in 11th place ahead of team-mate Esteban Gutierrez, Esteban Ocon, and Pascal Wehrlein. Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr and a penalised Jolyon Palmer were the remaining finishers. Palmer was given a five second time penalty for crashing into Carlos Sainz and ending his race.
Joining Sainz on the sidelines were team-mate Daniil Kvyat, Valtteri Bottas, and Kevin Magnussen. Jenson Button suffered disappointment on his last Grand Prix appearance when his front suspension broke, bringing a premature end to his race.
At the front, defiant Hamilton backed his team-mate into the chasing pack but Rosberg withstood the pressure and finished where he needed to to become world champion. It is 34 years since his father Keke Rosberg won the world championship and they become one of only two father-son world champions. The other father-son world champions are of course Graham and Damon Hill.
After 20 races, the championship will be decided at the final round in Abu Dhabi. The race at the Yas Marina Circuit will see Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg go head-to-head for the 2016 title.
Rosberg is the driver with the advantage holding a 12 point lead over team-mate Hamilton. This means that reigning champion Hamilton must finish in the top three to win the championship, but even at that it will still be in Rosberg’s hands. If Hamilton wins the race Rosberg must be third to be champion. If Hamilton is second then Rosberg can finish any position down to 6th and if Hamilton is third then Rosberg can finish no lower than eighth.
Circuit: Yas Marina Circuit
Number of Laps: 55
Circuit Length: 5.554km
Number of Corners: 21
Lap Record: 1:40.279 Sebastian Vettel (2009)
Previous Brazil winners still on the grid: 4
Most Successful Team: Red Bull (3)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Soft, Supersoft, and Ultrasoft
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a day to night race which starts at twilight and ends under the lights. It is a circuit which features a mix of long straights, heavy braking zones, and fast and slow corners. The three sectors are very distinct and overtaking is possible. There are two DRS zones and grip levels are medium. Track temperatures drop during the race due to conditions going from day to night.
Rosberg won the race in 2015 but suffered heartbreak in 2014 when his car suffered mechanical issues when he was fighting for the championship. Hamilton has won the race in 2011 and 2014, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen winning the four other runnings of the Abu Dhabi GP.
This weekend will also mark the end of Felipe Massa’s F1 career as he retires. Jenson Button had been set to take a sabbatical, with a possible return to race in 2018, however he has recently said he is treating this weekend like his last Grand Prix. Between them they have entered 558 Grand Prix – Button is the third most experienced F1 driver of all time. They will both be missed in the F1 paddock and will be hoping for a good race to sign off their careers.