After losing out to Team GB in the International Challenge trophy at the International Island Classic for the past three years now, the Australian team are going all out to try and win back the trophy by bolting together a star-studded team for the 25th running of the iconic event.
By now, everyone knows that double WorldSBK Champion and former 500cc racer Troy Corser is the headline act for the green and gold team, but Corser is not the only megastar in the team.
The Australian nine-rider squad, which was officially announced today, also includes the 1999 Australian Superbike and 2009 World Endurance champion Steve ‘Chuckles’ Martin, triple Australian Superbike champion Shawn Giles, 2008 Isle of Man TT winner Cam Donald and his ‘stable mate’ and fellow Irving Vincent pilot Beau Beaton, 2017 race four winner Alex Phillis and David Johnson, who returns to the Australian team for the first time since 2010.
32-year-old Irishman, now an Aussie citizen Paul Byrne will return for his third International Challenge outing, but this time apart of the Australian team and will be looking to improve on his fourth place finish overall, after finishing just seven points shy from Giles this year. The ninth and final rider is Scott Webster, while Ken Watson has been slotted in as the reserve rider for the team.
“It’s time to get back and race at home in front of a Phillip Island home crowd,” said Corser. “I have been doing the Goodwood events with a great team at BMW Classic, riding some old museum bikes. It’s been a lot of fun.
“Everyone tells me the Island Classic is a great event so with it being the 25th anniversary, it feels like a good time to come back and give it a go,” added Corser, who will saddle up on a T-Rex Racing prepared Honda Harris F1 machine.
Corser has an impeccable record at the 4.445km seaside circuit in the World Superbikes, which dates back to 1994 and spans all the way to 2011.
In total, Corser, 46, has 31 race starts at the island, which includes seven race wins, which came in 1995-99-05-06. While Corser is making his International Challenge debut, which will now be known as the MV Agusta International Challenge, 49-year-old Martin will be once again throwing his leg over his QBE Insurance/Venhill/NG Disc/Pirelli Suzuki Katana, which will mark his ninth outing at the event.
Martin, who now dabbles in the motorcycle media area, as well as commentates for the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) expressed that it’s always a special time of year being part of the Australian team, celebrating Australia Day and racing motorcycles.
“We have a new line-up this year with Corser coming on board, making it one of the most competitive teams we have ever had,” said Martin, who won outright in 2010 and is not nick-named Smiler.
“We need it too, because the English team have a team full of current British Superbike wannabes – and then there’s Jeremy. Jeremy’s a bit fast for my liking, but I especially hate the fact he’s such a good bloke.”
All nine Aussie riders will take part in qualifying, however the team, which is once again captained by Rex Wolfenden will be slashed to eight for the four International Challenge races against the same sized teams from the United Kingdom, America and New Zealand.