25 January 2015
Farquhar and McWilliams toast Island Classic triumph
Ryan Farquhar and Jeremy McWilliams spur Team UK to victory in the International Island Classic meeting at Phillip Island
Team UK have won the International Island Classic meeting at Phillip Island, ending the Aussies' stranglehold on the event.
Ulsterman Ryan Farquhar, a regular at the meeting along with fellow countryman Jeremy McWilliams, finished as the highest individual points scorer over the four races on Roger Winfield's Harris Yamaha, helping Team UK secure the Tahbilk International Challenge title.
The Australian team, including Cameron Donald, Steve Martin, Shawn Giles, Jed Metcher and Paul Young, won three of the four races but Farquhar's consistent finishes along with the points gained by Manxman Conor
Cummins and McWilliams proved decisive in the end, giving Team UK a 42 point victory with 617 points to the Aussies' 575 America finished third with 445 points followed by New Zealand on 347.
Farquhar's tally was 141 points as he finished eighth, fourth, sixth and fifth in the four races, narrowly ahead of Cummins who chalked up 139 points. McWilliams was third overall on 138 points, missing out in the third race after losing valuable time when his bike stalled on the grid.
The former MotoGP rider finished second in race one but took a win in the second race, before dropping to 17th in race three and sixth in the fourth and final event.
“This is a great day for the UK team, and understandably there's a fair bit of emotion in the pits at the moment,” McWilliams said.
“The International Challenge is extremely tough and you've got to be there in every race. This weekend, we had solid riders and solid equipment and we proved to be more reliable when it counted.
“But we still had our fair share of issues, but to get past those headaches and take the victory is an absolutely sensational result. And congratulations must also go to Ryan, who was incredible all weekend.”
McWilliams has topped the individual standings three times in the past but this was the first time he had secured the prestigious team trophy down under.
Farquhar collected the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy as the top individual points scorer but Aussie Brendan Roberts, who had been on course to clinch the silverware, will be kicking himself after running off at Doohan Corner on the final lap of race four and failed to finish the race.
Farquhar took advantage, but had to dig deep in the final race to overhaul Cummins to make sure of the individual trophy, ending the race in fifth spot with the Ramsey man crossing the line in seventh.
Farquhar said: “This is all a bit of a shock really. Race four was really all about playing the team game, but in the latter stages I knew what the equation was and I just really put my head down.
“The victory hasn't really sunk in yet, but if you ask me about midnight tonight I'm sure I will have come to grips with it all by then.”
TT star John McGuinness plus Mike Edwards were also part of Team UK.
Australia's Giles notched a double with wins in the opening race and race three, with Metcher victorious in the final race.
Cameron Donald finished third in race one and fourth in the final two races after registering a DNF in race two.
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