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2019 Island Classic | Focus on Forgotten Era 350/500

350cc Forgotten Era & Unlimited Classic

500cc Forgotten Era & Unlimited Post-Classic

By Alistair Wilton

The 2019 running of the Island Classic saw another highly successful event at the famous Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, boasting international legends of motorcycling on a bevvy of rare and precious classic machinery.

There was plenty going on over the weekend, with over 50 races, so here’s a look at some of the smaller classes, which while not as renowned as the International Challenge, still feature amazing racing and incredible machines.

350cc Forgotten Era

While the focus is regularly on the Unlimited capacity class in Forgotten Era, which is not unexpected with bikes that are easy to source and easy to tune, the 350 class is one that is sometimes overlooked.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Friday Lachie Hill
Lachlan Hill – Yamaha TZ350 – Image Rob Mott

The 350 class is dominated by true period Grand Prix class TZ350s and regularly puts on some of the best racing of the weekend, making it something not to miss.

However for 2019, with the loss of leaded race fuels (the 40+ year diet of 350GP bikes!) kicking in, there was a chance that this class could be a lottery as riders and tuners got to grips with the various replacements that have come to light.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Friday Martin Morrison
Martin Morrison – Image Rob Mott

While there was a little mechanical mayhem which unfortunately beset a couple of front runners, including Kiwi Steve Brown and Taswegian Grant Boxhall, the fuel change didn’t put a damper on proceedings.

The headline should read ‘Lachlan Hill Dominates Again’, but that would ignore the enormous efforts that class newcomer Keo Watson put in riding Western Australian Neil Robinson’s immaculate TZ350.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Saturday Keo Watson
Keo Watson – Image Rob Mott

Lachie has dominated the class for five years and rightly so, with his riding efforts, but also a willingness to develop his bike, which has put him less than 1/10th of a second outside the lap record.

In 2019 Lachlan took four wins from four races and his excitement in doing so was visible on the last lap of race four.

However, Keo Watson wasn’t concerned with reputations and methodically went about taking the fight to Hill with three strong second place finishes. Racing saw Watson get ahead of Hill a number of times, including in a spectacular Race 2 on Saturday afternoon.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Friday Keo Watson
Keo Watson – Image Rob Mott

Watson led on the last lap and after trying a move at the exit of Turn 2, finally making a pass under brakes at the Turn 4 hairpin on the last lap. The pace was strong enough that Hill reset his own personal best lap time and had a moment or two at MG.

By race four, Hill was in a relatively safe position on points for the class at 75 to Watson’s 60, but he would have had one eye on the Phil Irving Trophy as well. For four laps Watson and Hill were hardly separated, until suddenly there was only one of them.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Friday Keo Watson Chris Hayward Lachie Hill
Lachlan Hill, Chris Hayward and Keo Watson – Image Rob Mott

A tyre experiment for the last race proved costly with Watson tucking the front and low siding at Hayshed, leaving Hill a very large gap over second placed Christopher Hayward. This one DNF unfortunately dropping Keo Watson from second down to sixth overall for the weekend.

Forgotten Era 350 for years has also had a strong Kiwi presence, fielding many riders in the class every year for 19 of the 26 years the event has run. 2019 was no different with eight riders and they were somewhat hampered by only being able to tune for the new fuels from Thursday onwards. However they were well on the case by Friday, though many of the team had made use of the exceptional talents of Bruce Woodley of Powerflow Engineering to keep things under control.

Jock Woodley – Image by Rob Mott

Jock Woodley was the most consistent of these, again landing third place overall with four strong rides – the same overall result as 2018. Chris Hayward had a number of lonely rides for second overall.

The unlimited Classic bikes were run concurrently with the Forgotten Era with Garth Francis taking four class wins on his 750 Norton, mixing it with the mid-field TZ350s.

350cc Forgotten Era / Unl Classic Race 1

  1. Lachlan HILL (VIC) 7:28.326
  2. Keo WATSON (NSW) +0.226
  3. Christopher HAYWARD (SA) +9.698
  4. Jock WOODLEY (NZ) +18.418
  5. Trevor TAYLOR (NZ) +43.875
  6. Garth FRANCIS (VIC) +43.933
  7. Andrew McLAREN (NZ) +53.017
  8. Andrew PITMAN (SA) +54.228
  9. Jason HOWCROFT (NZ) +54.249
  10. Bob SAYER (NSW) +1:06.492

350cc Forgotten Era / Unl Classic Race 2

  1. Lachlan HILL (VIC) 9:10.046
  2. Keo WATSON (NSW) +0.528
  3. Steven BROWN (NZ) +20.106
  4. Christopher HAYWARD (SA) +24.079
  5. Grant BOXHALL (TAS) +51.375
  6. Trevor TAYLOR (NZ) +57.771
  7. Andrew McLAREN (NZ) +58.408
  8. Andrew PITMAN (SA) +1:01.021
  9. Jason HOWCROFT (NZ) +1:06.185
IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Saturday Jock Woodley
Jock Woodley leads fellow Kiwi Steve Brown – Image Rob Mott

350cc Forgotten Era / Unl Classic Race 3

  1. Lachlan HILL (VIC) 7:16.508
  2. Keo WATSON (NSW) +13.392
  3. Christopher HAYWARD (SA) +18.027
  4. Jock WOODLEY (NZ) +38.496
  5. Andrew McLAREN (NZ) +45.835
  6. Trevor TAYLOR (NZ) +56.749
  7. Robert HEATHER (VIC) +1:00.192
  8. Jason HOWCROFT (NZ) +1:00.937
  9. Garth FRANCIS (VIC) +1:09.734
  10. Andrew PITMAN (SA) +1:10.471

350cc Forgotten Era / Unl Classic Race 4

  1. Lachlan HILL (VIC) 9:07.796
  2. Christopher HAYWARD (SA) +18.391
  3. Jock WOODLEY (NZ) +40.970
  4. Andrew McLAREN (NZ) +53.058
  5. Andrew PITMAN (SA) +53.714
  6. Trevor TAYLOR (NZ) +59.035
  7. Jason HOWCROFT (NZ) +1:06.288
  8. Kevin McDONALD (NZ) +1:07.944
  9. Phil OADES (NZ) +1:20.652
  10. Garth FRANCIS (VIC) +1:30.929

350cc Forgotten Era Standings

  1. Lachlan HILL 100 points
  2. Christopher HAYWARD 73
  3. Jock WOODLEY 68
  4. Andrew McLAREN 61
  5. Trevor TAYLOR 60
  6. Keo WATSON 60
  7. Andrew PITMAN 54
  8. Jason HOWCROFT 51
  9. Phil OADES 42
  10. Kevin McDONALD 34

Unlimited Classic Standings

  1. Garth FRANCIS 100
  2. William MOONEY 70
  3. Dan GLEESON 56
  4. Brendan BURNS 49
  5. Bob SAYER 40
  6. David WEATHERHEAD 18

500 Forgotten Era / Open Post Classic

Based upon current form, the question was going to be who was going to come second?
Current ASBK Supersport 300 champion Tom Bramich on the incredibly reliable Ron Angel Racing Paton 500 was looking too strong to bet against, which was a prediction seen out by the weekend.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Friday Tom Bramich
Tom Bramich – 1973 Paton BM3 500 – Image Rob Mott

The answer as to who would claim second was Keo Watson with four second places, but don’t let the results let you think these were processional. Yes, Bramich was away in race one and two but also had Unlimited Post classic bikes to play with. By Race 3 on Saturday afternoon, Watson was well on to his game and running with Bramich, never more than a second apart the whole race with neither having a speed advantage.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Sunday Tom Bramich
Tom Bramich – 1973 Paton BM3 500 – Image Rob Mott

Race 4 saw Tom in a strong position chasing for an overall win, which ensured the clean sweep with Watson second, while Christopher Hayward put in four great rides in third each time for third overall.

Due to an accident in the International Challenge Beau Beaton on the big Irving Vincent didn’t feature in the Unlimited Post Classic past Saturday lunchtime, but in his earlier showing he reset the lap record in race two for a run away win by 10 seconds up over Dean Oughtred on his immaculate Carl Cox Racing / Dynoverks CR750, backing up his win in race one.

Tom Bramich aboard the Paton Image Russell Colvin
Tom Bramich on the Paton – Image Russ Colvin

With Beaton out for the weekend, Oughtred had a clear run in Race 3, but a DNF in race four let evergreen Laurie Fyffe through for the overall win, with Robert Wallace just missing out pushing him back to third.

500cc Forgotten Era & Unl Post-Classic Race 1

  1. Beau BEATON (NSW) 7:09.518
  2. Dean OUGHTRED (VIC) +10.589
  3. Tom BRAMICH (VIC) +13.414
  4. Simon COOK (SA) +27.751
  5. Keo WATSON (NSW) +28.576
  6. Laurie FYFFE (NSW) +31.092
  7. Christopher HAYWARD (SA) +31.478
  8. Jock WOODLEY (NZ) +36.609
  9. Steven BROWN (NZ) +36.755
  10. Robert WALLACE (VIC) +42.964

500cc Forgotten Era & Unl Post-Classic Race 2

  1. Beau BEATON (NSW) 9:01.183
  2. Dean OUGHTRED (VIC) +7.216
  3. Tom BRAMICH (VIC) +8.549
  4. Keo WATSON (NSW) +15.125
  5. Simon COOK (SA) +22.270
  6. Christopher HAYWARD (SA) +27.773
  7. Jock WOODLEY (NZ) +35.123
  8. Steven BROWN (NZ) +37.543
  9. Laurie FYFFE (NSW) +39.234
  10. Tony WILKINSON (VIC) +45.853

500cc Forgotten Era & Unl Post-Classic Race 3

  1. Dean OUGHTRED (VIC) 7:16.501
  2. Tom BRAMICH (VIC) +5.826
  3. Keo WATSON (NSW) +5.881
  4. Simon COOK (SA) +13.365
  5. Laurie FYFFE (NSW) +20.204
  6. Christopher HAYWARD (SA) +21.852
  7. Jock WOODLEY (NZ) +22.600
  8. Steven BROWN (NZ) +24.602
  9. Martin MORRISON (USA) +39.836
  10. Tony WILKINSON (VIC) +40.732

500cc Forgotten Era & Unl Post-Classic Race 4

  1. Tom BRAMICH (VIC) 9:08.380
  2. Keo WATSON (NSW) +12.247
  3. Christopher HAYWARD (SA) +17.137
  4. Laurie FYFFE (NSW) +26.645
  5. Jock WOODLEY (NZ) +33.457
  6. Owen WARD (QLD) +42.423
  7. Martin MORRISON (USA) +44.124
  8. Paul SMITH (WA) +45.345
  9. Robert WALLACE (VIC) +55.075
  10. Dave FULLER (QLD) +56.564

500cc Forgotten Era Standings

  1. Tom BRAMICH 100 points
  2. Keo WATSON 80
  3. Christopher HAYWARD 72
  4. Jock WOODLEY 68
  5. Martin MORRISON 59
  6. Paul SMITH 57
  7. Dave FULLER 55
  8. Trevor TAYLOR 48
  9. Steven BROWN 48
  10. Andrew McLAREN 45
IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Friday Tom Bramich
Tom Bramich – 1973 Paton BM3 500 – Image Rob Mott

Unlimited Post-Classic Standings

  1. Laurie FYFFE 77 points
  2. Dean OUGHTRED 65
  3. Robert WALLACE 64
  4. Wayne GOW 57
  5. Simon COOK 56
  6. Owen WARD 51
  7. Beau BEATON 50
  8. Fred SCHAFER 49
  9. Lex McKINLEY 45
  10. Stacey HEANEY 39

Source: MCNews.com.au

Aaron Morris wins IC opener | Pridmore & Beaton go down

International Challenge Race One

Images Rob Mott

Weather conditions were much friendlier to all-comers this morning at Phillip Island. Temperatures were nudging the mid 20s today, rather than the furnace-like 40-degree that toasted competitors and their machines on Friday.

Ahead of the first of the premier category International Challenge events for the 2019 Island Classic pit-lane was a flurry of activity as riders and mechanics fettled their fast but fickle mounts. This event is always a battle to keep the highly tuned historic machines going for the 4 x 6-lap races. Not only last-minute fixes and patch up jobs, but even complete gearbox and engine rebuilds are sometimes required during the event.

Aaron Morris looked like the red hot favourite on the qualifying pace form guide, but with many of his competitors being held back during practice with mechanical gremlins, the rest of the field was bouned to get closer come race day.

Paul Byrne, David Johnson, Jed Metcher, Beau Beaton, Steve Martin and Shawn Giles were all in the top ten fastest qualifiers and it was looking as though it would take a momentous effort from Team USA if they were to take it up to the home team in the battle for overall International Challenge Team honours.

American newcomer and four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes is still learning the intricacies of the challenging 4445 metres of blacktop that make up the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Jason Pridmore rode last year and thus now has good experience of the circuit and the whole Team America challenge in regards to machinery and back-up has stepped up a notch. Steve Rapp was still building speed after losing track time with mechanical problems, Larry Pegram also still making progress and looking likely to get faster as the event progresses.

The strengthened Team USA 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. That said, the crowd was still looking pretty strong and there was still a great atmosphere surrounding the event.

None of the Team New Zealand pilots had made it inside the qualifying top ten, such is the competitiveness of the field again this year. Temporary Kiwi Alex Phillis had qualifieid 11th ahead of team-mate Jay Lawrence and this years star Team NZ recruit for 2019, triple BSB Superbike Champion John Reynolds.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Sat Start Pridmore Byrne
Jason Pridmore jumped the start
We are away!

They jumped off the line at 1220 in near perfect conditions but Jason Pridmore clutch bit a fraction too early and thus was hit with time penalty to be added to his race time.

David Johnson led the field through Southern Loop for the first time ahead of Jed Metcher while through the back section it was Paul Byrne, Jason Pridmore and Josh Hayes all giving chase to that duo as Beau Beaton, Alex Phillis and Shawn Giles also gave chase.

It was on!

Then it wasn’t…

A massive high-side for Jason Pridmore at turn 11 saw the red flag brought out as other riders also ended up in the kitty litter. Pridmore had fallen heavily and also caught up in the melee was Beau Beaton. The Aussie copped a major battering in the tumble and looked perhaps worse off than Pridmore. Both riders were treated on the circuit by medical staff, they were conscious, but in a world of hurt…

Let’s go again!

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Sat Start Morris Byrne
International Challenge Race One – Island Classic

One person thankful for the re-start was pole-sitter Aaron Morris. He had a terrible start first time around but got away from the line much better in this one only to get swamped on the run toward turn one as Jed Metcher swept through to the lead from with David Johnson and Alex Phillis also forging past Morris by Southern Loop.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Sat Restart Jed Metcher Aaron Morris
Aaron Morris chasing Jed Metcher

Metcher capitalised on his clear air at the front of the field to eke out a small buffer over David Johnson over the first lap and a half but then Aaron Morris wound up the big Katana and reeled in first Johnson, then Metcher to take the race lead. Morris put in a 1m36.789 on that first flying lap on his way to take the race lead, more than a second faster than any other rider in the field on that lap.

Josh Hayes was learning the circuit and his machine fast and by half race distance was really winding it up! Hayes had moved past Shawn Giles and Alex Phillis as he worked his way forward and then took David Johnson for third place just before they got the last lap board.

With one lap to go it was Morris leading Metcher by almost a second with Hayes equidistant back in third place. The trio were still in that order when they got the chequered flag, with David Johnson fourth and Shawn Giles fifth.

Early word was that while both Pridmore and Beaton were in no danger, they had suffered injuries and thus were heading off to hospital for further investigation of their injuries. It seemed unlikely they would take any further part in today’s proceedings.

Jed Metcher is hoping to come back stronger this afternoon to better take the battle up to Morris.

Jed Metcher

“The T-Rex Honda feels a lot better, but I found the limit quite quickly. I almost lost the front at turn four as I turned up the wick when Aaron Morris went by me. I just simply didn’t have the rear edge grip to get the drive and stay with him. We will work on those issues ahead of the second race later on this afternoon and work a bit more on the setup of the bike. We are aiming to get a bit more rear edge grip and try and get the bike to turn a bit faster in the middle of the turn and hopefully we can dip into the 36’s.”

International Challenge Race One Results

  1. Aaron Morris
  2. Jed Metcher +1.260
  3. Josh Hayes +1.614
  4. David Johnson +3.096
  5. Shawn Giles +4.507
  6. Alex Phillis +4.711
  7. Steve Martin +4.817
  8. Larry Pegram +14.943
  9. Jay Lawrence +18.675
  10. John Reynolds +20.509
  11. Michael Neeves +21.614
  12. Mark Miller +24.265
  13. Craig Ditchburn +24.864
  14. Cameron Donald +25.111
  15. Barrett Long +25.329
  16. Dale Quarterley +27.219
  17. Michael Gilbert +34.270
  18. Brendan Wilson +37.067
  19. Scott Webster +37.220
  20. John Allen +46.983

Source: MCNews.com.au