2019 Island Classic Friday Report
Images by Rob Mott
Heat and wind. Those were the two words on everyone’s lips at Phillip Island today as they sweltered through oppressive conditions. Ambient temperatures nudging towards 40-degrees does not make for the nicest weather to be working on highly tuned air-cooled machines, it was downright tortuous in fact.
That did not stop more than 500 historic motorcycles taking to the track today though with 15-minute qualifying sessions for all classes of racing. Seven races were also on the card for the opening day of Island Classic 2019. There had been a practice session attended by almost all riders on Thursday, but Friday was the first official day of the event.
Plenty of spectators also made the pilgrimage down to Phillip Island to check out all the action and the Island was buzzing with the huge influx of tourists here to celebrate the Australia Day long weekend. Those not taking shelter from the heat, were instead enjoying the dazzling blue waters of Western Port Bay.
The stiff north-westerly breeze, the gusts of which did cause some riders a few problems, did have the useful side-effect of keeping track temperatures a lot more manageable that they might otherwise have been.
One crew that had not got much sleep overnight were the guys twirling spanners for Team America’s Steve Rapp. The 47-year-old took a hefty tumble yesterday with a stuck throttle pitching him and the CMR prepared and FJ1100 powered Yamaha down the road. The bike was a mess, and his mechanics worked through the night in order to repair the machine for today.
As first qualifying for the International got underway just after midday, track temperatures were already starting to nudge their way towards 50-degrees celsius.
That did not stop Aaron Morris dropping in a 1m37.943 on a Suzuki Katana to top the timesheets ahead of David Johhnson, the South Australian recording a 1m38.518 on an XR69 Suzuki.
America’s Josh Hayes proved his pedigree by adapting quickly to the Phillip Island layout to finish Q1 in P3 ahead of Shawn Giles and Jason Pridmore.
Team America have really stepped things up a level in regards to team strength this year. That has helped to partly fill some of the void left by the absence of Team UK and their brace of star riders, along with the beautiful Roger Winfield prepared machinery that had become a much loved staple of the Island Classic. Still, the absence of a credible Team UK is keenly felt and they are sorely missed.
Some riders were suffering carburettor problems in the heat and fuel boiling issues as the oil-air-cooled machinery struggled to maintain their composure in the conditions.
The wind picked up much more force in the afternoon and switched to a south-westerly. This was met with sighs of relief by everyone up and down pit-lane as it helped to take the sting out of the heat and temperatures started dropping back to a much more manageable 28-degrees.
Ahead of the second and final International Challenge qualifying session Aaron Morris took to the circuit again to claim pole in the New Era Formula 1300 category with a 1m37.685. Before that final International Challenge Qualifying was to get underway though we had some races on the schedule.
Pre-War / 125 P-CL & FE / 250 P-CL and Classic
The opening race of the 2019 Island Classic was the combined Pre-War, 125 Post Classic & Forgotten Era, 250 Post Classic and Classic.
The somewhat strange combination forced by a limited number of entries across these categories.
Murray Seabrook and Roly Orr quickly broke away from the pack on their 1972 Yamaha TD3 machines but Seabrook then ran off the track at turn four and his chance of a race win went down the slip road with him. Terry Morris recovered from a bad start to chase down Roly Orr and by lap two was tussling with Orr for the lead. A mistake by Orr on the final lap gave Morris the advantage he needed to take the win at the chequered flag.
Pre-War / 125 P-CL & FE / 250 P-CL & CL R1 Results
- Terry Morris
- Roly Orr +0.256
- Greg Roberts +43.765
- Lorraine Crussell +45.991
- Marco Vittino +61.047
- Bruce Meredith +66.482 (2CL)
- Fred Schafer +67.535 (2CL)
- John Imrie +73.140 (2CL)
- Ben James +84.528
- Stacey Heaney +85.674 (1PC)
250 FE / 125 New Era / 350 Classic
Lachlan Hill started the combined 250 Forgotten Era, 125 New Era and 350 Classic from pole position on his Rotax powered machine that is backed by Ron Angel Classic Racing. Hill immediately streaked away from the field and was in a class of his own onboard that machine.
R2 – 250 FE / 125 New Era / 350 CL R1 Results
- Lachlan Hill (2FE)
- James Doddrell +3.117 (1NE)
- Mark Laing-Hughes +19.077 (1NE)
- Grant Boxhall +21.870 (2FE)
- Ben Bramich +21.998 (3CL)
- David Manson +36.290 (1NE)
- Phil Paton +37.092 (3CL)
- Robert Heather +60.276 (2FE)
- Colin Meredith +105.239 (3CL)
- Ross Hollands +1 lap (3CL)
500 Forgotten Era & Unlimited Post Classic
This one was shaping up to be a much closer battle with little separating Dean Oughtred on a CR750 Honda and Tom Bramich on the Ron Angel baked Paton during qualifying.
It was the indomitable Laurie Fyffe though that scored the holeshot on his CB750 Honda.
Beau Beaton’s Irving Vincent has suffered numerous problems which had led to a poor qualifying performance but the big booming Melbourne built machine was quickly into the lead and streak away from its pursuers. If anyone would know how to ride it defensively though it would be Beau Beaton, who was now in his tenth year of ridiing the Horner built machines, would it hang together for the four-lap race distance…?
Hang together it did and Beaton rewarded his crews efforts with a clear win over Dean Oughtred by over ten seconds while Simon Cook got the better of Laurie Fyffe to round out the Unlimited Post Classic podium.
In the 500 Forgotten Era sub-category it was Tom Bramich on the Paton BM3 who claimed the win from Keo Watson and Chris Hayward. Bramich had also claimed an outright podium ahead of the Unlimited Post Classic bikes of Cook and Fyffe.
500 FE & Unlimited Post Classic R1 Results
- Beau Beaton
- Dean Oughtred +10.589
- Tom Bramich +13.414 (5FE)
- Simon Cook +27.751
- Keo Watson +28.576 (5FE)
- Laurie Fyffe +31.092
- Chris Hayward +31.478 (5FE)
- Jock Woodley +36.609 (5FE)
- Steven Brown +36.755 (5FE)
- Robert Wallace +42.964
Unlimited Forgotten Era Premier
Beau Beaton was quickly back in action after his victory in the Unlimited Post Classic to take another win in the Unlimited Forgotten Era category.
He had to work harder for this one though as Marty Craggill made life hard for Beaton with Craig Ditchburn also dipping his TZ750 oar in from time to time.
In fact Ditchburn managed to get the better of Craggill late in the race to take second place. Glenn Hindle was fourth ahead of Bernie Leen and Justin Mellrick while young Drew Sells took seventh ahead of Scott Webster.
Unlimited Forgotten Era Premier Race One Results
- Beau Beaton
- Craig Ditchburn +0.860
- Marty Craggill +1.027
- Glenn Hindle +14.472
- Bernie Leen +15.769
- Justin Mellrick +16.508
- Drew Sells +17.307
- Scott Webster +18.725
- Duncan Coutts +23.951
- Steve Stanwix +27.557
- David Crussell +29.073
- Matthew Ineson +36.061
- Martin Hodgson +36.089
- Denis Ackland +38.450
- Albert Tehennepe +43.463
Unlimited Forgotten Era Minor
Due to a massive entry list in the Unlimited Forgotten Era class the field had been separated in to two with the slower machines in the field put into another sub-category. Pete Byers the victor ahead of Dave Fuller and Dan Sandler.
Unlimited Forgotten Era Minor
- Pete Byers
- Steve Dobson +10.950
- Dave Fuller +16.391
- Daniel Sandler +26.237
- Bruce Andrew +31.146
- Garry Kellalea +31.180
- Wade Boyd +36.352
- Allen Bromley +41.336
- Neil Howard +46.687
- Tim Wotton +48.530
International Challenge Final Qualifying
The temperature had dropped quite dramatically ahead of the second and final qualifying session for International Challenge competitors got underway at 1545 on Friday afternoon. This certainly suited not only competitors, but also their tyres, and their machinery.
Jed Metcher certainly welcomed the cooler conditions as his T-Rex Honda Harris had not coped at all well with the more oppressive heat earlier in the day.
Aaron Morris and Jason Pridmore were the first men to dip into the 1m37s this afternoon. A 1m37.341 the early benchmark from Morris to Pridmore’s 1m37.642. Those laps stood the test of time to see Morris take pole and Pridmore P2 on the grid for tomorrow’s first International Challenge bout.
Paul Byrne would also score a front row start position courtesy of a 1m38.056 ahead of David Johnson, Jed Metcher and Josh Hayes.
Cam Donald was nowhere to be seen, more problems with the Irving Vincent we believe preventing the two-time Isle of Man TT winner to join the circuit in the second session and having to rely on his 1m44.5s from QP1 for his grid position. That QP1 run had also been troubled for Donald as he managed only two laps and was far from his potential pace.
International Challenge Qualifying Results
- Aaron Morris 1m37.341
- Jason Pridmore 1m37.642
- Paul Byrne 1m38.056
- David Johnson 1m38.104
- Jed Metcher 1m38.122
- Josh Hayes 1m38.202
- Beau Beaton 1m38.286
- Steve Martin 1m38.454
- Shawn Giles 1m38.642
- Larry Pegram 1m38.819
500 Post Classic
Tom Bramich quickly cleared out from the field in the 500 Post Classic four lap race to the tune of more than ten-seconds a lap better than any of his competitors. Bramich and the Ron Angel Paton on another level.
500 Post Classic Race One Results
- Tom Bramich
- Paul Smith _+39.154
- Tony Logan +65.198
- Eric Salmon +73.832
- Brendan Burns +90.453
- Danny Ahern +90.932
- Dean Marsh +109.076
- Shan Nicholas-Oliver +109.184
- Ben James +116.495
New Era Formula 750
Son led father in qualifying for the New Era Formula 750 with Scott Campbell besting famous father Malcolm (Wally) Campbell on their pair of beautiful RC30 Hondas. In fact the top four qualifiers were RC30 mounted with Nathan Spiteri also on the front row ahead of James Doddrell.
Scotty also led dad away when the lights went out and pulled away to the tune of more than a second a lap on his way to a clear six-second victory over his father while Nathan Spiteri rounded out the podium.
No luck for Ben Burke in this one as he rolled to a stop at turn one on his CBR400 with two laps to run.
New Era Formula 750 Race One Results
- Scott Campbell
- Malcolm Campbell +6.075
- Nathan Spiteri +9.114
- Quentin Blazley +15.446
- James Doddrell +18.004
- Bernie Leen +19.775
- Scott Findlay +26.031
- Michael McGuire +35.871
- Rob Ruwoldt +37.114
- Andrew Relph +37.541
The massive program of qualifying and racing all ran quite smoothly despite the challenging conditions and we actually finished racing at 1630, half-an-hour ahead of schedule. Tomorrow we have a huge program of 22 races beginning at 0900, and then we do it all again on Sunday!