National Racing

2015 Island Classic Attracts Record Field

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Records are made to be broken and this Australia Day‰Ûªs big historic bike meet (January 23-25 ), the Australian Motorcycle News International Island Classic at Phillip Island, will set some serious records with an astonishing 526 bikes entered ‰ÛÒ an increase on the 490 machines that competed in 2014; and a massive 56 races on the agenda ‰ÛÒ up from 44 previously.

The biggest roll up in the event‰Ûªs 22 year history proves the popularity of the event amongst all lovers of bikes and racing on, and off, the grid. A haul of retired greats are champing at the bit to compete at Australia‰Ûªs world famous motorcycle mecca and prove they‰Ûªve still got the talent and verve of their competitive past, especially when pitted against today‰Ûªs young guns.

For bike fans, Phillip Island is the place to be for a weekend steeped in motorcycle magic ‰ÛÒ history, racing and a raft of tales told that get better year after year. Special guest for the Classic is Australia‰Ûªs GP crew chief extraordinaire, Jeremy Burgess, who‰Ûªs spent 20 years steering the careers of Valentino Rossi, Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner. Now retired, he‰Ûªs making his first visit to the Classic as special guest at Friday evening‰Ûªs Welcome Dinner.

TEAMS ANNOUNCED
Just as it has been since 2005, the headline act at the 2015 Australian Motorcycle News backed Island Classic will be the Tahbilk International Challenge, pitting Australia against the UK, America and New Zealand in the coveted teams' challenge. See full listing attached.

Held over four races, with the top five point scorers from each team going towards the final tally, International Challenge rules allow for machines manufactured between 1973 -1984 to compete, and for capacities ranging from 350-1300cc. All engines must be air-cooled.

A TRUE TWO WHEEL TALENT FEST
Australia has an unblemished record in the Tahbilk International Challenge, but worked up a real sweat to defeat the Jeremy McWilliams-led UK team in 2014.

It was a massive fright, and in 2015 a number of new faces have been drafted into the Australian squad to provide even more bite, including Jed Metcher, Ryan Taylor, Paul Young and veteran John Pace. That trio will link up with International Challenge hard men such as Cameron Donald, Rob Phillis, Shawn Giles, Steve Martin and Brendan Roberts ‰ÛÒ all now retired from full-time racing except for Donald, but still enjoying the thrill of the hunt.

Metcher, who's just had three plates and nine screws removed from his left foot ‰ÛÒ the residual of a prior injury -- represents a real injection of International Challenge youth, and he's just completed a second shakedown test on the Suzuki Katana he'll race in 2015.

‰ÛÏThis test was a really important one, as next time we hit the track on this Katana, it will be for real,‰Û

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