Josh Hayes dominates International Challenge finale

International Challenge Race Four

Images by Rob Mott

Aaron Morris had his perfect record spoiled in race three when gearbox woes saw him get pipped at the post by Steve Martin and Shawn Giles. With no parts to fix it ahead of race four, the Corish Motorsport squad are having to make do by dropping three teeth off the rear sprocket on the TBR Katana in order to try and contest the race with only the first three gears.

Those woes had allowed the TBR/D&D Katanas get the better of Morris in the third bout and had seen Steve Martin close to within five-points of Morris heading into Sunday afternoon’s final six-lap race.

Problems for Josh Hayes with his Yamaha running on three-cylinders, and a jump-start penalty for Larry Pegram in race three, had hurt Team America’s chances for overall victory in the International Challenge. Heading into the final battle in the four race war Team USA trailed Australia by 35-points. The team had put in a whole new ignition system in to Hayes’ machine ahead of this final six-lap race of the 2019 Island Classic weekend.

They are away!

Josh Hayes fired off the line to head the International Challenge field like a rat up a drainpipe! Hayes led the field by a full second through the first split as Jed Metcher, Alex Phillis, Steven Martin and Aaron Morris gave chase. A 1m43.26 for Hayes from a standing start, and he backed it up with a 1m37.215 to extend his lead out to 1.6-seconds as they started lap two.

The battle for second place was hotting up with Alex Phillis battling with Jed Metcher while Steve Martin was looking to join that game.

Aaron Morris was suffering with those gearbox problems and struggling for pace as he tried to defend his fifth place from Giles, Pegram and Gilbert.  He could not muster enough speed to keep them at bay and was passed by all those riders by half race distance.  The individual trophy was slipping from his grasp with every position lost. During that middle part of the race on points, with Steve Martin in fourth, and Aaron Morris in ninth, that put the pair on 150-points apiece…

Steve Martin then got the better of Alex Phillis to move up to third place and started vying for second place with Jed Metcher.

Up front Josh Hayes had pulled the plug and was managing a three-second lead before taking the chequered flag as the clear race winner to finish the event on a high for Team USA.

The American effort for the 2019 Island Classic was absolutely outstanding and added some great flavour to the International Challenge event for 2019.

Team UK was sorely missed, without a doubt, but with Team America coming on so strong it only leaves me sailvating at just how good it might be if a Team UK came back in strength to really shake things up. Word is that something along those lines might happen for the 2020 Island Classic! That would truly cement the Island Classic as the most serious historic road racing event held anywhere in the world.

New riders to the event, including race four winner Josh Hayes, were genuinely shocked at how hard the fast runners ride in this event. And were in wide-eyed awe at the speed of the renowned Phillip Island circuit.

Steve Martin top scoring individual overall

Steve Martin pipped Phillis and Metcher in what was an almost photo finish to take second place in this final race, and with it  Steve scored enough points to take out the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy for the highest individual points scorer. The winning margin over Aaron Morris was two points.

Shawn Giles took fifth place in the final race ahead of Larry Pegram, Michael Gilbert and John Reynolds while Aaron Morris limped home to ninth place. Those gearbox problems costing him his chance at overall individual honours. But that’s historic racing, as much as the riders battle on track, the pit crews do battle all weekend in pit-lane in their own race just to keep their fast but fickle mounts running.

Team Australia win International Challenge

Team USA put up a valiant fight in that final battle but in the end Australia won the war with 676 points to America’s 634.  Team New Zealand scored 460 points.

International Challenge Race Four Results

  1. Josh Hayes
  2. Steve Martin +4.052
  3. Alex Phillis +4.089
  4. Jed Metcher +4.114
  5. Shawn Giles +8.919
  6. Larry Pegram +10.769
  7. Michael Gilbert +10.771
  8. John Reynolds +14.769
  9. Aaron Morris +15.233
  10. Mark Miller +20.701
  11. Craig Ditchburn +20.931
  12. Jay Lawrence +21.364
  13. Dean Oughtred +21.446
  14. Barrett Long +21.476
  15. Dale Quarterley +29.966
  16. Scott Webster +36.295
  17. John Allen +36.321
  18. Duncan Coutts +60.846
  19. Justin Mellerick +66.321
  20. David Crussell +67.774
  21. Roger Gunn +67.934
  22. Laurie Fyffe +68.412
  23. Joe Pethoud +73.788

International Challenge Team Points

  1. Australia 676
  2. USA 634
  3. NZ 460

Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy Points

  1. Steve Martin 152
  2. Aaron Morris 150
  3. Josh Hayes 141
  4. Shawn Giles 141
  5. Larry Pegram 130
  6. Michael Gilbert 128
  7. John Reynolds 128
  8. Mark Miller 121
  9. Craig Ditchburn 120
  10. Barrett Long 114
  11. Jed Metcher 113
  12. Alex Phillis 109
  13. Scott Webster 99
  14. John Allen 93
  15. Jay Lawrence 89


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