South Australian David Johnson, riding the Alistair Cowan Racing Kawasaki, won a dramatic RST Superbike Classic TT Race today on the Isle of Man – his first victory on the TT Mountain Course after race leader Michael Dunlop retired at Hillberry on the last lap – less than two miles from the finish line. Johnson had hardly got a lap in during practice due to ongoing machinery issues but when it came time for the race the Cowan Kawasaki and Davo rose to the occasion!
After the race a delighted Johnson revealed how hard the race had been: “To make the bikes quick they are really hard to ride. I’m really happy because I put everything into it and a huge thanks to Alistair Cowan and the team. I was going to wave to the Australian fans at Hillberry on the last lap but then when I saw Michael Dunlop had retired I got my head down.”
Conditions were described as perfect for the final race of the 2019 Classic TT presented by Bennetts and the packed crowd around the TT Mountain Course were treated to a thrilling climax to the meeting.
Horst Saiger on the Greenall Racing Kawasaki had the honour of leading the field away at 5.15pm – after mist delayed the race programme – but all eyes were undoubtedly on fastest qualifier Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki, who left the line from his now traditional sixth place on the grid.
Other high profile TT stars in the line-up included Conor Cummins and although the Manx rider had only qualified eighth fastest, he had hinted before the race that there was more to come from the Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles 500cc two-stroke YZR Yamaha that he rode to third place in last year’s race.
As expected, Dunlop held the lead at the opening timing point at Glen Helen but was only two seconds ahead of Johnson with Gary Johnson on the Team York Suzuki a further two seconds back in third. Paul Jordan on the Mistral Racing Kawasaki and Cummins rounded out the top five.
Cummins had moved up to third by Ballaugh, six seconds behind the race leader with Ireland’s Derek Shiels on the second Mistral Racing Kawasaki the new fourth placed man, whilst Gary Johnson dropped down the leader board to fifth – less than a second behind Shiels.
Dunlop’s opening lap of 124.87mph gave him a lead of less than two seconds over David Johnson (124.647mph) at the end of the opening lap, with Cummins (123.519mph) a further ten seconds back in third. Shiels (123.257mph) remained fourth with James Hillier (123.136mph) on the Oxford Products Racing Ducati moving into the top five.
Dunlop had doubled his lead to almost four seconds over David Johnson by Glen Helen on the second lap with Cummins third and Shiels fourth, just over a second ahead of the fast improving Michael Rutter, who was clearly benefitting from circulating with Dunlop on the road and moved into fifth.
As the riders came into the pits to refuel at the end of the second lap, Dunlop’s lap of 125.626mph gave him a lead of over ten seconds from Australian Johnson (124.825), who in turn was 12 seconds ahead of new third placed man Rutter who, unsurprisingly, had a similar lap time to Dunlop – 125.628mph – the fastest lap of the race. Cummins (124.321mph) and Sheils (123.921mph) completed the top five.
In addition to a fuel stop, Dunlop also changed his rear wheel and dropped ten seconds to David Johnson while Cummins lost around ten seconds to Rutter in the pits. Hillier benefited from a rapid pit stop – the fastest in the race at 51.567 seconds – to close the gap on the front five.
Johnson, courtesy of his faster pit stop, was now at the front of the race at Glen Helen on the third lap but only by less than two seconds and the Team Classic Suzuki rider had further cut the gap to less than half a second by Ballaugh and was back in the lead by Ramsey.
Meanwhile Shiels moved up into third place at Glen Helen, less than a second ahead of Rutter and Jamie Coward on the Prez Racing Kawasaki moved into the top five ahead of Hillier and Cummins. However, Rutter, running in fourth, was reported to have stopped at Gwens, just after Ballaugh Bridge, to make adjustments.
Dunlop’s third lap of 118.287mph gave him a lead of almost five seconds from Johnson (118.705mph) with Shiels (117.136mph) holding third, five seconds ahead of Hillier (117.971mph). Jamie Coward (116.571mph) was fifth at the Grandstand but was reported to be a retirement at Cronk Y Voddy which saw Cummins move back into the top five at Ballaugh Bridge.
Hillier meanwhile had moved into third by Ballaugh Bridge on the last lap but only 0.2 seconds ahead of Shiels, with Cummins moving back into the top five. With riders jostling for the final podium places, the dramatic news came through that Dunlop was a retirement at Hillberry and Johnson moved into the front at Cronk ny Mona to take the chequered flag with a final lap of 125.150mph.
Shiels (124.494mph) made a dramatic last sector charge and made up over two seconds on Hillier from Cronk Ny Mona to finish runner-up, 1.5 seconds ahead of Hillier although Hillier later reported issues that saw him forced to restart his machine.
Cummins (123.641mph) finished fourth with fellow Manx rider Ryan Kneen on the Team Heirheim Kawasaki finishing in the top five – a credible performance after starting 21st on the grid.
2019 Classic TT Superbike Race
David Johnston – Alisdair Cowan Racing Kawasaki (123.272mph / 1:13.27.422)
Derek Shiels – Greenall Racing Kawasaki (122.129mph / 1:14.08.689)
James Hillier – Oxford Products Racing Ducati (122.086mph / 1:14.10.235)
Conor Cummins – Milenco by Padgetts Yamaha (121.641mph / 1:14.26.514)
Ryan Kneen – Team Herheim Racing Kasasaki (119.600mph / 1:15.42.743)
Peter Hickman romped to his third victory at the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix when he dominated proceedings in a heavily delayed Daly’s Superstock race on Saturday afternoon.
Heavy rain and mist in the morning meant it was 12.45pm before any track activity took place but when racing did get underway, the Smiths Racing BMW rider disappeared into the distance to eventually win by 24.2s from Davey Todd with Conor Cummins in third.
Hickman grabbed the lead the minute the lights went green but it was a disaster for fellow front row starter Lee Johnston who dropped all the way back to tenth whilst Jamie Coward, fourth in qualifying, pulled in at the end of the warm-up lap.
Hickman’s lead over Todd on the Penz13.com BMW at the end of the first lap was only half a second as Dean Harrison slotted into third but as soon as he crossed the line he sat up and raised his hand to retire. It was close for fourth though as Michael Sweeney, David Johnson, Derek Sheils and Cummins were locked in battle.
Second time around and Hickman doubled his advantage and it was now Johnson on the Honda that was in third with Cummins moving into fourth ahead of Sheils, Sweeney and the recovering Johnston. Michael Dunlop, who started from the second wave, was up to eighth.
On lap three, Hickman pulled the pin and a lap of 122.830mph, the fastest of the race, saw his lead jump to five seconds but further back, Cummins overhauled fellow Honda rider Johnson for third. The battle for fourth continued to rage though with Johnston continuing to move forward.
The final two laps saw Hickman extend his advantage considerably as he lapped more than five seconds a lap quicker than Todd but the latter had a comfortable gap over Cummins and was able to ease off. The Manxman had left the group behind him as just half a second covered Johnston, Johnson, Sheils and Sweeney.
Hickman duly took the chequered flag for his third win of the week, and ninth UGP win in total, with Todd taking his first UGP podium in second. Cummins again finished third with Johnston rueing what might have been as he took fourth.
Sheils, Johnson and Sweeney were close behind with Dunlop taking eighth ahead of David Jackson and Brian McCormack.
Superstock Race – Saturday
Peter HICKMAN BMW 21:54.056
Davey TODD BMW +24.239
Conor CUMMINS Honda +29.792
Lee JOHNSTON BMW +34.003
Derek SHEILS Suzuki +34.171
David JOHNSON Honda +35.880
Michael SWEENEY BMW +36.579
Michael DUNLOP BMW +1:16.308
David JACKSON BMW +1:23.029
Brian McCORMACK BMW +1:24.238
Supersport Race 2
Peter Hickman’s dominance of this year’s Ulster Grand Prix continued on Saturday afternoon when he swept to victory – his fourth of the meeting – in the opening Supersport race on the Trooper Beer by Smiths Triumph.
Hickman moved ahead of Davey Todd on the run towards Leathemstown on the first lap and never looked back, eventually coming home 8.3s clear of the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha of Lee Johnston. Todd held onto third despite suffering from a lack of vision.
Hickman’s lead over Todd was 1.37s at the end of the first lap with Johnston 0.8s further back in third and Todd’s Milenco by Padgetts Honda team-mate Conor Cummins well in contention in fourth. Jamie Coward slotted into fifth ahead of Michael Sweeney whilst Mike Norbury was having a great ride from the second wave and was up into eighth.
Lap two and with the clear road ahead of him, Hickman’s lap of 118.835mph saw him extend his lead to 4.63s but it was Johnston who was now in second as Todd’s steamed up visor saw him drop into the clutches of Cummins. Coward was now in a lonely fifth as Sweeney and Derek Sheils disputed sixth.
A new fastest lap of 119.242mph on lap three enabled Hickman to double the gap to Johnston who had now pulled clear of the battle for third which saw Todd and Cummins split by less than half a second.
Hickman went quicker still on the fourth of five laps, 119.329mph proving to be the quickest of the race, and he eventually ran out victor by 8.3s from Johnston who, like Thursday, took another second place.
Todd edged out Cummins by the miniscule margin of 0.042s and with Coward safe in fifth, Sheils got the better of Sweeney on the final lap to take sixth.
Frenchman Xavier Denis had another good ride into eighth with Dominic Herbertson and Brian McCormack completing the top ten. Norbury slipped back to 11th, a good result nonetheless, with American Patricia Fernandez taking a solid 16th place.
Whitemountain Centre Supersport Race Result
Peter HICKMAN Triumph 18:45.386
Lee JOHNSTON Yamaha +8.306
Davey TODD Honda +10.135
Conor CUMMINS Honda +10.177
Jamie COWARD Yamaha +20.956
Derek SHEILS Yamaha +39.230
Michael SWEENEY Yamaha +39.736
Xavier DENIS Honda +1:02.100
Dominic HERBERTSON Kawasaki +1:02.331
Brian McCORMACK Yamaha +1:10.206
Superbike Race 2
Peter Hickman equaled Phillip McCallen’s 23-year old record of five wins in a meeting at the Ulster Grand Prix when victory in Saturday’s feature Superbike race maintained his 100% winning record at this year’s event.
The Smiths Racing BMW rider had to work a bit harder on this occasion than his two previous races on Saturday but once he’d seen off the early challenge of Dean Harrison, he edged away to win by an eventual 3.018s. Harrison slipped back to third before overhauling Conor Cummins on the last lap.
It was the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider who got the holeshot but his lead over Hickman at the end of the first of the six laps was only 0.117s with Cummins only half a second further back in third. They’d made a bit of a break over fourth placed Derek Sheils as Lee Johnston made his now customary slow getaway and dropped as low as tenth.
Hickman grabbed the lead going into Rock Bends with Cummins also getting past Harrison, this time on the high speed run through Budore, and a lap of 123.603mph gave Hickman a 2.1s lead at the end of the lap. Only 0.4s separated Cummins and Harrison as Sheils maintained fourth ahead of Johnston and Davey Todd.
By half race distance, Hickman’s lead had more than doubled to 4.7s, aided by a lap of 125.517mph but he was given a warning by the damp conditions as the rear wheel stepped out as he rounded Dawson’s onto the start and finish.
Harrison had moved back up to second only for Cummins to regain the runners-up spot along the Flying Kilo on the fourth lap and as they continued to battle, Johnston closed in rapidly.
As the race entered its final stages, spots of rain began to fall once more and with his lead having got as high as six seconds, Hickman eased back slightly on the final lap to win by more than three seconds. It was his fifth win of the meeting and 11th Ulster GP win in total, which is already the joint fifth highest total of all time.
The battle for second went all the way to the line but with the fastest lap of the race, 126.321mph, it was Harrison who got the verdict from Cummins by 0.865s, the Manxman taking his third podium of the week.
Johnston took fourth with Todd taking fifth as Sheils slipped back slightly to sixth. David Johnson had a relatively lonely ride into seventh as Frenchman Xavier Denis’s excellent week continued with eighth. David Jackson and Mike Booth completed the top ten.
MMB Surfacing Superbike Race Result
Peter HICKMAN BMW 21:32.926
Dean HARRISON Kawasaki +3.018
Conor CUMMINS Honda +3.883
Lee JOHNSTON BMW +9.392
Davey TODD BMW +16.094
Derek SHEILS Suzuki +19.370
David JOHNSON Honda +29.822
Xavier DENIS Honda +44.882
David JACKSON BMW +1:03.992
Mike BOOTH Kawasaki +1:11.728
For the second time in three days, the Supertwins class at the Ulster Grand Prix served up a thrilling race as Christian Elkin and Joseph Loughlin disputed the win throughout the five laps but on the sprint to the line it was former double 125cc British Champion Elkin that came out on top on the Dynobike Kawasaki by 0.078s!
The duo seized control from the outset and it was Loughlin who held the advantage on the Team ILR/Mark Coverdale Paton at the end of the first lap by 0.269s as Lee Johnston slotted into third on the Ashcourt Racing/KMR Kawasaki. Meanwhile, a three-way dice for fourth was taking place between Thursday’s winner Paul Jordan, Jamie Coward and Ian Lougher.
Loughlin added a tenth of a second to his lead on the second lap but on the third lap around the 7.4-mile Dundrod circuit, Elkin hit the front at Pullitt’s Gate and he held sway by 0.174s as they headed into the penultimate lap. Johnston remained in third but a charging Coward had left Jordan and Lougher behind as he began to close in on the Northern Irishman.
Elkin lapped at 115.700mph on lap four to extend his advantage to more than half a second but the fifth and final lap saw him and Loughlin exchange the lead on numerous occasions. The latter led going into the hairpin only for Elkin to ride round the outside of him at the Flowbog Crossroads.
A backmarker on the run in to the line gave Loughlin a chance but Elkin grabbed his fourth UGP win by just 0.078s as Loughlin took his second successive runners-up spot. Johnston upped his pace in the closing stages to see off Coward with Jordan just getting the better of veteran Lougher for fifth.
Michael Sweeney, Jonathan Perry, Ryan Gibson and James Chawke completed the top ten.
Maxwell Freight Services Supertwin Race Result
Christian ELKIN Kawasaki 19:21.717
Joseph LOUGHLIN Paton +0.078
Lee JOHNSTON Kawasaki +11.364
Jamie COWARD Kawasaki +11.796
Paul JORDAN Kawasaki +41.036
Ian LOUGHER Paton +41.098
Michael SWEENEY Kawasaki +45.800
Jonathan PERRY Kawasaki +46.083
Ryan GIBSON Kawasaki +55.154
James CHAWKE Paton +55.383
Supersport Race 3
History was made at the Ulster Grand Prix late on Saturday afternoon when Peter Hickman took a thrilling Supersport race win from Lee Johnston to become the first rider to win six races in a single meeting.
The pair were never more than inches apart and each led on a number of occasions but it was Hickman who prevailed on the Trooper Beer by Smiths Triumph to get the win at the end of the six laps by 0.145s.
Hickman suffered a bit of drama on the opening lap when the filler cap sprung open on a number of occasions but he still completed the lap in second place, only 0.169s behind Johnston on the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha. Jamie Coward was going great guns in third with the Padgetts Honda pairing of Davey Todd and Conor Cummins close behind.
The second lap saw the gap between the front two come down to 0.088s and they were steadily edging away from the three-rider battle for third with Michael Sweeney circulating in a safe sixth.
Hickman took the lead along the Flying Kilo on the third lap but by Wheeler’s Johnston was back in the lead and the gap at half race distance was even closer than the lap before at 0.066s! Todd had now moved ahead of Coward as Cummins kept a watching brief in fifth.
A lap of 126.007mph on lap four saw Johnston eke out his lead to 0.101s and there was now just three thents of a second between Todd, Coward and Cummins but all eyes were on the battle for the lead as it entered its closing stages.
Hickman again went ahead at Rock Bends on the penultimate lap only for Johnston to regain the lead but on the final lap, the Lincolnshire-based rider made the pass stick and although they were side by side on more than one occasion, he was able to hold on for his sixth victory from his six starts.
The gap at the end was only 0.145s and they were some 16 seconds clear of Cummins, who came through for third, at the chequered flag. Todd had to settle for fourth behind his team-mate with Coward in fifth and Sweeney sixth.
Dominic Herbertson, Xavier Denis, Joseph Loughlin and Tom Weeden rounded out the top ten.
Skegness Raceway Supersport Race Result
Peter HICKMAN Triumph 21:19.582
Lee JOHNSTON Yamaha +0.145
Conor CUMMINS Honda +16.426
Davey TODD Honda +16.435
Jamie COWARD Yamaha +17.220
Michael SWEENEY Yamaha +34.906
Dominic HERBERTSON Kawasaki +55.553
Xavier DENIS Honda +59.849
Joseph LOUGHLIN Kawasaki +1:26.509
Tom WEEDEN Yamaha +1:28.558
Superbike Race 3
Peter Hickman’s phenomenal run of success at this year’s Ulster Grand Prix ended exactly as it had started with the Smiths Racing rider taking Saturday’s second Superbike race to make it seven wins from seven starts.
With conditions the driest they had been all day, Hickman lapped at more than 134mph to win by almost seven seconds from Dean Harrison with Conor Cummins again in third.
The race got underway at 7pm and it was Harrison who got the jump off the line but Hickman soon moved to the front and he led at the end of the first of six laps by just over a second on the BMW S1000RR. Cummins slotted into third ahead of Davey Todd, David Johnson and Derek Sheils.
Second time around and a lap of 133.807mph saw Hickman double his advantage over Harrison with Cummins remaining in third and the trio had broken away from the rest of the field with Todd still at the head of the chasing pack.
He had David Johnson for close company whilst Derek Sheils, Brian McCormack, Jamie Coward and Michael Sweeney were locked in battle for sixth.
Another near 134mph lap on the third lap enabled Hickman to maintain his lead at half race distance but Harrison wasn’t letting him get away and with a lap only marginally slower, he kept the gap down to 2.195s.
However, Hickman put the hammer down on the fourth lap and despite the light beginning to fade, a lap of 134.504mph, the fastest of the race, meant his lead increased to 3.2s with just two laps to go.
Harrison and Cummins were comfortable in second and third but Todd and Johnson were still disputing third before the latter tipped off at the hairpin on the penultimate lap, fortunately without injury.
With spots of rain beginning to fall, Hickman brought the Smiths Racing BMW home to make it an unbelievable seven wins from his seven starts and he crossed the line 6.849s clear of Harrison with Cummins again having to settle for third.
“The team has been phenomenal and I can’t thank them enough. They have built me such a beautiful machine. All the bikes have been on point. Massive thanks to the team and to everyone!”
Todd had a lonely final lap to end his week with a good fourth place but the battle for fifth place went all the way to the end and it was Coward who came out on top from Sheils, Sweeney and McCormack, the quartet covered by just half a second at the chequered flag. Phil Crowe and Michael Booth completed the top ten.
“Ulster GP Done! All solid results in each race until the final Superbike Race… Bit of a racing incident went down with another rider on the penultimate lap at the hairpin while in fifth and lining up fourth. And I crashed.. Shit happens. I’m unhurt. Loads of positives to take away from the week. Next stop, Classic TT starting next week.”
Peter Hickman joined a select group of riders to win two races in a day at the Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, when he dominated the RL360 Superstock race to win by 26.045s from Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki).
South Australia’s David Johnson also joined a select band of riders in securing his first ever TT podium with a hard fought third place in today’s Superstock TT.
Hickman rider followed up his Monster Energy Supersport success from earlier in the day to take his fifth TT victory – and his third of the week – with David Johnson (Honda Racing) achieving his maiden TT podium in third as he got the better of Michael Dunlop on the final lap by just 0.208s.
A superb first sector saw Hickman lead through Glen Helen on the opening lap, – 1.68s ahead of Harrison with James Hillier a similar distance back in third. Dunlop slotted into fourth ahead of Michael Rutter and Davey Todd who was having a storming ride in sixth.
Hickman increased his lead by a further seven-tenths of a second at Ballaugh, while Dunlop moved ahead of Hillier for third. At Ramsey Hairpin the Burton upon Trent rider’s advantage had grown to 3.978s. Harrison was now almost five seconds clear of Dunlop with Hillier, Conor Cummins and Johnson occupying fourth to sixth positions.
A brilliant run over the Mountain and an opening lap of 132.02mph gave Hickman a 9.026s lead over Harrison as the riders all made their mandatory pit stop. Dunlop was just over four seconds behind Harrison but 6.7s ahead of Hillier although the Kawasaki rider picked up a 30s pit lane speeding penalty which dropped him down the order. Johnson was now in fifth having overhauled Cummins.
Hickman’s lead at Glen Helen had come down to 5.8s as Harrison made his bid to close the gap and it looked like it was now a two-horse race with Dunlop over eleven seconds in arrears in third. Johnson had moved up to fourth, courtesy of a superb pit stop, from Cummins and Rutter as Hillier went through in ninth.
As the lap unfolded, Hickman began to reassert his authority back on the race once more and the lead was up to nine-seconds at Ramsey with Dunlop having lost a further three-seconds on the west part of the circuit. Indeed, he was now coming under pressure from a charging Johnson on the Honda Racing machine.
Hickman’s second lap speed of 128.13mph gave him a healthy lead of 16.576s over Harrison as he headed into his third and final lap of the 37.73-mile course. Dunlop was now only 3.2s ahead of Johnson as Cummins and Rutter slotted into fifth and sixth. Hillier had fought his way back up to seventh.
At Glen Helen third time around, Hickman had extended his advantage over Harrison to 18.078s but Johnson had now moved up to third at the expense of Dunlop, although the gap between the pairing was only 0.784s.. Cummins and Rutter remained in fifth and sixth respectively but the battle for third was getting closer with Dunlop having closed to within 0.114s at Ballaugh.
Throughout the final lap, Hickman continually pressed home his advantage and with a final lap speed of 131.38mph, he took the chequered flag by 26.045s to move on to a career total of five TT wins.
Harrison took his second runner-up spot of the day, and third of the week, with Johnson getting the better of Dunlop for third by 0.208s as he overhauled the Ulsterman in the final sector.
Johnson’s hand-picked pit crew earned their stripes, they had got him out three-seconds quicker than Dunlop, in some part due to a perfect fuel strategy that allowed them less time in pit-lane, and Davo’s Fireblade spluttered after he crossed the line, so it was spot on to the final drop and that team work helped make the difference in helping Davo to get the Fireblade onto the podium for Honda Racing.
Cummins and Rutter took fifth and sixth with Hillier, Todd, Jamie Coward and Gary Johnson completing the top ten.
Dean Osborne was reported to be unhurt after coming off at Appledene.
After what had been a tumultuous first week of TT 2019, race action finally got underway at 1105 on Monday morning. Even Monday’s schedule had to be amended numerous times from the planned 1045 start. Firstly a medical emergency at Ramsey involving a member of the public put us back ten minutes as an ambulance was on course to attend that person. Then some problems with spectators at some parts of the course, and a motorcycle on fire at Creg Ny Baa added another small delay but Conor Cummins launched out of the hole at 1105 and TT 2019 was finally underway!
Preparation for many of the Superbike runners had been problematic with the extremely limited track time. Any motorcycle problems had caused riders to miss an entire session, thus many of the riders participating in this four-lap Superbike TT had hardly completed a lap of the 37.73-mile Mountain Course.
Still, it would be fair to say that the smart money today would be on Peter Hickman or Dean Harrison. That form guide proved true early on with a 132.48mph from a standing start for Dean Harrison saw him take the lead early but Peter Hickman was only 1.088-seconds behind as they crossed the line at the end of that first lap.
Conor Cummins was in third place ahead of James Hillier and Michaell Rutter, while Michael Dunlop was sixth on the Tyco BMW ahead of Gary Johnson and South Australia’s David Johnson.
John McGuinness came in to the pits on the Norton at the end of lap one with an oil pressure light indicating that not all was well with the British machine.
Dean Harrison was on fire and nudging sector record times to extend his lead over Hickman to almost five-seconds at Ballaugh Bridge on lap two. Shortly after that sector he passed Conor Cummins on the road, the Honda man had started first, ten-seconds head of Harrison, but the Kawasaki man had closed him down.
Peter Hickman was now wound up though and he clawed back those five-seconds on Harrison in that latter half of the second lap.
Conor Cummins had also got the better of Harrison between Ramsey and Bungalow, that tussle perhaps a factor in slowing down Harrison a little on that second lap.
Into the pits
Conor Cummins and Dean Harrison the first riders into the pits, but still out on course, after starting from #10, Peter Hickman was the new race leader ahead of his pit-stop. In the final sector before his pit-stop Hickman had extended his buffer out to a 1.78-second lead over Harrison.
David Johnson was up to seventh place on the Honda Racing Fireblade.
The final two laps…
Through the first split after the pit stops Hickman’s advantage had been trimmed to 0.690-seconds over Harrison, but the pit stops had seen the Kawasaki get away in front of Conor Cummins, who while just over ten-seconds behind him on time, was running with him on track, while holding down third place in the race.
Michael Rutter was in fourth place ahead of Michael Dunlop while David Johnson had moved up to sixth place. Lee Johnston then retired from the race.
An incident on the circuit at Snugborough, just before Union Mills, then caused officials to put the red flag out. It was some time before we got an update as to whether the race would be started again, or if it would be declared as results. They were past the halfway mark thus declaration was an option for officials. It was around 45-minutes later that officials finally made the call to declare the race, presumably the incident was very serious and the clean-up time deemed to be lengthy.
Peter Hickman declared winner
Results for the race were declared as at the end of lap two, at which point Hickman had a narrow lead over Dean Harrison.
Conor Cummins takes the final step on the subdued rostrum ahead of James Hillier and Michael Rutter.
Michael Dunlop finishes sixth ahead of David Johnson and Jamie Coward. Gary Johnson ninth and Davey Todd rounded out the top ten.
Peter Hickman also carded the fastest lap of the race at 132.947 mph.
David Johnson joins Ian Hutchinson at Honda Racing
South Australia’s David Johnson will line-up next to Ian Hutchinson on the roads, as the Honda Racing team prepares for the start of the 2019 road race season.
The pair will lead Honda’s charge on the roads at both The International North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT.
Both road experts will contest the Superbike and Superstock 1000 classes aboard the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, with the team also preparing a CBR600RR Supersport machine for Ian.
Jonny Twelvetrees – Team Manager
“I’m really pleased to have ‘Davo’ with the team for this season, he’s been a strong contender since his debut in 2010 and I know it won’t be long before he’s on the TT podium. He had a good season last year with two 4th places at the TT and a podium at the Ulster, so I’m excited to see what he can do on the Fireblade this year. With Hutchy we’re certainly going to see a huge difference compared to last year. Since the TT he’s had a lot of quality bike time, both on-track and also road riding, as always he’s training hard and will be coming into the season right back up there; so I think we’re in for some good racing. I’m looking forward to getting everyone together at the first test so we can start pushing on. It’s a long time between the races so the competitiveness has time to build up!”
‘Davo’ made his debut at the TT in 2010 aboard Honda machinery where he claimed the accolade of fastest newcomer that year. The Australian has since racked up three 4th place finishes at the Mountain Course and was close to a podium last year in the Superbike race. His best result at the Ulster GP has been 3rd (2018) and 7th at the NW200.
“I am really happy to join the Honda Racing team for this season. Over the years they have been incredibly successful on the roads and won a lot at the TT; I feel that I will gel with the Fireblade, so I’m very excited to get started and ride the bikes. With Hutchy getting fitter from his injuries I think we’ll work together well and I will have some great people around me in the team. I can’t wait to get back to the UK and start testing!”
Teammate ‘Hutchy’ continues with Honda after a valiant return last year, while recovering from injury. Displaying incredible drive and determination throughout 2018, the ‘Bingley Bullet’ is coming into the new road racing season with more bike time under his belt as he looks to return to winning form.
“I’m feeling confident coming into this season on the roads. Last year was about building back up and learning the Fireblade again. The results were a little disappointing, as they didn’t reflect the hard work that went in behind the scenes. But since the TT I have been out on a track Fireblade and also my road bike, so with that mileage and the testing programme we have for this year, I think we’ll be in a strong position when we arrive at the North West 200. I’m keen to get started and looking forward to the team’s first test.”
The Honda Racing team will now embark on a comprehensive testing programme before tackling the road circuits, starting with the North West 200 over May 12-18 before the TT which runs from May 25 through to June 7th.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Adelaide racer David Johnson has enjoyed some stellar moments in his motorcycle racing career, but being part of the victorious Australian team in the 2018 International Challenge at last January’s Island Classic historic race meeting was a stand-out.
With the 2019 Island Classic, presented by Visit Phillip Island, this weekend – January 25-27 – Johnson is itching to return to the grid as Australia attempts to overcome super competitive teams from the USA and New Zealand with qualifying Friday morning, and racing Friday afternoon, all day Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available at the gate from 8am each day.
“The Aussie victory in 2018 is probably one of the greatest feelings I have had in my racing career, and I have won a lot of races in England and Europe,” said Johnson, who was the leading individual scorer in 2018 after winning two of the four races and finishing second in the others. He’ll campaign the same Suzuki XR69 F1 bike in 2019.
“In 2018 I just rode that XR69 and it was mint, which is a full credit to the guys who built the bike and prepared the suspension. The engine and chassis are just awesome.”
Johnson, who finished fourth in the Superbike TT at the 2018 Isle of Man, knows that winning the International Challenge isn’t just about one man’s effort: it’s a function of multiple riders finishing well inside the top 10.
His 2019 Australian team includes a batch of stars who are now International Challenge staples: Aussie superbike champions Steve Martin and Shawn Giles, Isle of Man winner Cameron Donald, Jed Metcher and Beau Beaton.
Paul Byrne, Aaron Morris, Matthew Fyffe, Craig Ditchburn, Justin Mellerick, Scott Webster and Dean Outghtred complete the 13-rider squad, with Byrne particularly impressive last year in finishing fourth in the individual standings (aka the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy since 2013) behind Johnson, Jeremy McWilliams and Corser.
Martin, Metcher and Giles have all won the Ken Wootton trophy, the latter on multiple occasions.
“Hopefully there will be a handful of us out in front with a chance of winning races,” continued Johnson. “We just have to be smart about it, as we don’t want to take each other out.
“The young guys want to win pretty badly, as do I. However, if I feel that I’m not fast enough to win, I’m not going to do anything stupid to jeopardise another one of my team members from winning.”
Twelve of the Aussie riders are on booming four-strokes, with Ditchburn taking the two-stroke route on the blazing Yamaha TZ750.
Big names galore from Kiwis and Team USA
All teams are allowed a maximum of 13 riders in the four six-lap International Challenge races, with New Zealand and Team USA boasting super competitive outfits in 2019.
Suzuki-strong, the Kiwis have recruited gun rider, Alex Phillis and aligned with Taupo based Carl Cox Motorsport. The international DJ’s racing arm brings three-time British superbike champion John Reynolds, modern and classic racer Jay Lawrence and MCN road tester, Michael Neeves, into the silver fern fold.
“The Australian team is going to have to work together to get the job done. The Kiws will have riders dicing for the race win, and Alex (Phillis) and John (Reynolds) will definitely be up there,” warned Johnson.
“Then the American team. Josh Hayes will be very hard to tame. He’s a four-time AMA Superbike champion. And Jason Pridmore was the fastest American rider last year, and I expect their bikes should be a lot more competitive this year. Looking at their fleet of Yamaha FJs is quite intimidating! Then with Larry Pegram, Dale Quarterley and Steve Rapp, and now my old team mate Mark Miller, the Americans will be very strong.”
Rules & Regs
The International Challenge is reserved for bikes manufactured between 1973 and 1984, the only exception being two 1985 Suzuki GSX-Rs models granted dispensation to race under the Kiwi flag in 2019. One year outside the Island Classic eligibility, the two Suzukis will be subject to agreed performance restrictions- comprising of a reduction in RPM limit, an overall weight increase and a reduced rear tyre width to eliminate any possible traction advantage.
To be campaigned by Reynolds and Neeves, the duo’s performance will be counted in International Challenge points, but not in the tally for the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy that’s awarded to the rider with the highest individual points.
One of the world’s great historic bike meets
The 26th International Island Classic, presented by Visit Phillip Island, is one of the world’s great historic bike meets. Riders and fans from around the globe converge to celebrate a century of motorcycling with more than 450 bikes on display or competing in 56 races across classes from pre-WW1 bikes through to Vintage (1920-1945), Classic and Post Classic (from 1946 to 1972) and the more recent Forgotten Era and New Era classes.
Tickets at the gate
Tickets are available from Friday to Sunday at the gate from 8am. Friday features practice and qualifying across all classes, with racing from Saturday morning to Sunday late.
Children 15 and under are free, accompanied by a full-paying adult.
Camp at the circuit for an ultra-affordable Australia Day long weekend, with four nights for $84 per adult (with children 15 and under free to camp and enter the circuit). Campground opens at 8am Thursday, with 24/7 access via Gate 2.