For an Australia Day long weekend getaway with a historic high-horsepower twist and a spot of seaside camping thrown in, head to Victoria’s spectacular Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for January’s International Island Classic.
Team Australia returns to defend their International Challenge in 2020
The highlight will be the bar-banging International Challenge battle when Australia takes on America and a new-look UK.
Australia is the defending champion, and the ace up the locals’ sleeve is that they are going in with close to an unchanged line-up in 2020, so the likes of 2019 individual winner Steve Martin, David Johnson, Aaron Morris, Jed Metcher, Shawn Giles, Alex Phillis, Cameron Donald and Beau Beaton will all hit the ground running when practice begins on Friday ahead of qualifying and the four six-lap races on Saturday and Sunday.
Steve Martin, Shawn Giles, Aaron Morris – Image by Russell Colvin
However, that home ground advantage will only serve as motivation for America and the UK, especially the former which on paper has the means to seriously test the Aussies.
An American victory will depend a lot on the form of Josh Hayes, who won last year’s final race and is an out and out superstar with multiple AMA superbike titles to his credit.
Josh Hayes – Image Russ Colvin
Canadian superbike legend Jordan Szoke and Taylor Knapp are the new – and extremely fast – members of the America team, and other guns include Larry Pegram, Michael Gilbert and Hayes’ wife, Melissa Paris – the first female to compete in the International Challenge.
Jordan Szoke – Image by Brian Couture
The UK returns in 2020 after sitting out last year’s event, and is packed with classic racing devotees from the British racing ranks – as well as a machine that was previously ridden at the event by the indomitable Jeremy McWilliams.
Team captain Tony Hart will ride that bike, and some of the UK big names include 30-year-old Alex Sinclair, who claims several Classic TT and Manx titles to his name, and chief tester for British motorcycle weekly MCN, Michael Neeves.
Classic history in a packed three-day schedule
Now in its 27th year, and the largest historic motorcycle racing event in the Southern Hemisphere, the weekend honours a century of motorcycling in three action-packed days, celebrating the splendour of historic racing across so many levels, from the exotic machines to the people who race and prep them.
As well the International Challenge, the Island Classic includes 50 other races for machines across the six historic racing categories: Veteran (up to 1919), Vintage (1920-1945), Classic (1946-1962), Post Classic (1963-1972), Forgotten Era (1973-1982) and New Era (1983-1990).
2020 International Island Classic returns to Phillip Island over the January 24-26 weekend
Up to 400 solo bikes will take to the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit over the three days, where each class will be decided after one qualifying session and five races and riders also vying for the Phil Irving Perpetual Trophy for the highest scorer in non-International Challenge events.
Qualifying will begin on Friday for all classes, followed by a full program of racing from late Friday through Saturday and Sunday. For more event info and tickets go to www.islandclassic.com.au
An affordable Australia Day Long-Weekend Away
The circuit opens its grounds for camping for ticket holders, and suddenly four nights camping in a spectacular seaside location, is yours for a fraction of the cost you would normally pay, especially on a long weekend, and the weather is looking good!
Phillip Island Weather Forecast – Australia Day long weekend 2020
The trick is to buy in advance and secure your camping spot early.
Wrap your three-day event ticket in with four nights of on-circuit camping, and the cost for your Island Classic getaway – entry to three days of on-track action and camping with views over Bass Strait – will be just $167 booked in advance.
Even better, bring the family, because children 15 and under are free for camping and event entry, if they are accompanied by a full-paying adult.
Bookings for pre-purchased general admission and camping tickets close at 12:00pm on Thursday, January 23. You can buy at the gate from 8am Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings but it will cost you a little more.
To purchase tickets, visit
Team UK – Island Classic 2020
|Entry List Team UK|
|Tony Hart||1982 Harris Suzuki F1 1085cc|
|Jim Agombar||1978 Spondon Yamaha TZ750|
|Paul Gaskin||1978 Suzuki GS1000|
|Roger Gunn||1982 Harris Suzuki F1 1170cc|
|Hasse Gustafson||1972 Ducati 750cc|
|Johnny Nordberg||1972 Ducati Imola 748cc|
|Damien Kavney||1982 Suzuki XR69 1260cc|
|Richard Llewellin||1984 Ducati TT F1 750cc|
|Michael Neeves||1984 Harris Suzuki|
|Richard Peers-Jones||1980 Yamaha TZ9 347cc|
|Alex Sinclair||1982 Suzuki XR69 1080cc|
|Clive Warner||1978 Yamaha 560 750cc|
|Brendan Wilson||1980 Suzuki Harris F1 1170cc|
Team Australia – Island Classic 2020
|37||John Allen||Yamaha TZ750 1978||750|
|31||Craig Ditchburn||Yamaha TZ750 1978||750|
|76||Scott Webster||Suzuki XR69 1982||1200|
|186||Beau Beaton||Irving Vincent 1982||1300|
|86||Cameron Donald||Irving Vincent 1982||1300|
|19||Shawn Giles||Suzuki Katana 1992||1294|
|3||David Johnson||Suzuki Katana 1982||1100|
|99||Steve Martin||Suzuki Katana||1052|
|22||Jed Metcher||Yamaha FJ1200 1984||1200|
|64||Aaron Morris||Suzuki Katana 1980||1300|
|20||Alex Phillis||Suzuki XR69 1980||1100|
Team America – Island Classic 2020
|17||Dave Crussell||Yamaha TZ750 1978||748|
|136||Brian Filo||Kawasaki Z1 1978||1260|
|55||Michael Gilbert||Yamaha CMR FJ|
|219||Jorge Gurerro||Suzuki CMRXR69 1982||1200|
|4||Josh Hayes||Yamaha CMR FJ 1983||1250|
|44||Taylor Knapp||Yamaha CMR FJ 1983||1250|
|178||Bruce Lind||Yamaha TZ780B 1975||749|
|13||Melissa Paris||Yamaha TZ750 1978||748|
|72||Larry Pegram||Yamaha CMR FJ 1983||1250|
|32||Joe Pethoud||Yamaha F1 Harris FJ100 1984||1250|
|62||Robert Ruwoldt||Harris Kawasaki F1 1980||1260|
|101||Jordan Szoke||Yamaha CMR FJ 1983||1250|