2017 Island Classic
2017 Island Classic
The Island Classic is the perfect way to start a race season. Riding at Phillip Island in January is (usually) a beautiful time of year to be riding motorbikes on one of the best tracks in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to ride some very unique and exotic machines over the 6 times I have raced at the event. Winning the Phil Irving trophy has been a huge highlight of racing there along with a few lap records in the 350 and 500 Classic class.
For 2017 I teamed up with MotoGallur to ride their beautiful Godet Egli-Vincent 500. I was also to ride for the Irish in the International challenge on Roland Skates CBX 6 Cylinder ‘Beast’.
MotoGallur own two Egli Vincents, with Cameron Donald on one, and me on the other. Cameron campaigned the bike at last year’s Island Classic and Isle of Man Manx TT.
The CBX of Roland’s attracts a lot of attention and does a much better job than one might expect from a 230kg bike. Unfortunately the engine expired on Friday in qualifying so we were unable to carry on with that for the races.
Dudley Lister has been doing the engine work on the Egli-Vincents. He has worked with the likes of Mick Doohan, Kevin Magee just to name a few, and it was great to work with such an experienced engineer. We had just over 4 days of riding, which around Phillip Island is a lot of stress to put a classic bike through.
We ran the bike in on Wednesday afternoon, followed by a full day of practice on Thursday. Friday was qualifying and I put the bike 5th in our class. The Paton 500 and Yamaha Seeley 500 two stroke were always going to be much quicker than us. There was another Egli-Vincent over from the UK, to make it 3 in total in our class, so we were all certainly out to be the top Vincent.
In race 1 on Saturday morning I finished 3rd, with a best lap of 1:53.7. Everything was feeling good and with the British Egli not finishing race 1 that changed my outlook a little on the weekend. Knowing that if we finish all 4 races, we would be in with a chance of a good result of finishing on the podium. Race 2 I finished 5th, with further lap time improvements of a 1:53.3. Cameron and I had a good battle on the two MotoGallur Egli-Vincents, which I’m sure we would have had more of, had his bike ran smoothly all weekend. Race 2 on Sunday and we made a gearing change to try and get us moving up a little better. We were able to stick with the Paton for 2 laps and bring home 4th place, with a best lap time of 1:51.7. I was really pleased with the time we ran, and with that result I knew I just needed to bring it home in race 4 to secure 3rd place overall. We managed to do just that, taking 5th in the final race, was enough for us to secure 3rd place overall for the weekend and the first Egli-Vincent.
It was a pleasure to work with the whole MotoGallur team. Luis, Dudley, Mark, Craig and Blake all put in a huge amount of work to make the weekend a success. I’m grateful for the opportunity to race at the Island Classic and once again have been lucky to ride an amazing bike there.
I now have two coaching weekends left at my home track of Mac Park before heading back to the UK at the end of February.
Thank you to everyone for the support!