Historics

The biggest bike bonanza of the year with historic bikes set for AMCN International Island Classic

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Love your motorcycles across all eras? Then Phillip Island is the place to be on the 2012 Australia Day long weekend (January 27-29) when the grand prix circuit hosts the largest gathering of historic bikes in the southern hemisphere -- the 19th AMCN International Island Classic from January 27-29.

Over 250 riders ‰ÛÒ and 340 separate machines -- have already entered for the meeting, in what is now an annual pilgrimage for a large number of competitors. Solo classes will be held for bikes dating back to pre-WWI, right through to Vintage (1920-1945), Classic (1946-1962), Post Classic (1963-1972), Forgotten Era (1973-1982) and the fledgling New Era (1983-1990) division. Sidecars will also compete.

The Island Classic attracts nearly 20,000 spectators, and this year they'll be able to sit back and soak up the action ‰ÛÒ and a healthy dose of motorcycle nostalgia -- across a whopping 44 races on Saturday and Sunday, headlined by the premier event ‰ÛÒ the 2012 Tahbilk International Challenge, a square off between teams from Australia, the UK and a 'World 13' entry.

A quick glance over the International Challenge entry list upholds the adage that 'once a racer always a racer,' with illustrious names of the past such as Jeremy McWilliams, Shawn Giles, Steve Martin, Rob Phillis, Malcolm Campbell, Barry Ditchburn and John Pace all set to compete, alongside modern day flyers such as Cameron Donald and Irishman Ryan Farquhar.

McWilliams, who started the 2002 MotoGP race at Phillip Island from pole position, was the leading individual point-scorer in the 2011 International Challenge, just pipping Donald after four colossal scraps ‰ÛÒ and at a searing pace which also saw Martin lower the historic lap record to a phenomenal 1min38.964secs.

But the team spoils against went to Australia, which cantered to victory for the fourth successive year to maintain its unbeaten record.

Outside of Australia's core group of stars, the balance of its 15-man squad for the Tahbilk International Challenge will contain domestic historic racing mainstays, while McWilliams and Farquhar are the marquee names for the UK team. And the World 13 entry has a diverse look, with riders from New Zealand, Australia, France and the United States.

For Ticket info and camping arrangments head to www.islandclassic.com.au

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