The International Island Classic is one of the world’s premier vintage motorcycle races, and the 2018 event is just around the corner. The Classics have largely been dominated by British and Aussie riders, as previous American efforts were low-budget entries with mid-tier riding talent.
That’s changing this year, as three former pro American riders will be making their way to the Phillip Island circuit for the January 26-28 event. As reported in the above link, double WorldSBK champion and veteran MotoGP rider Colin Edwards will come out of racing retirement to ride a Suzuki XR69-replica chassis powered by a Yamaha FJ engine, a package built by our friend Carry Andrew in his HyperCycle race shop.
And now we’ve learned that Jake Zemke and Jason Pridmore will be joining the 43-year-old Texas Tornado at the Classic, which should make for a formidable trio to beat in the International Challenge team competition for bikes manufactured between 1973 and 1984.
To help support the American team, vintage racer Wendy Newton has printed up a batch of t-shirts featuring Colin Edwards on them and is hoping to sell a bunch before she leave for Oz next week. They’re available in men’s (M-L-XL-XXL-XXXL) and women’s (S-M-L-XL) sizes. Also available are mugs, hats and stickers, which are available a Newton’s website, Helmetsnheels.com.
“Having attended the International Island Classic in the past,” Newton related, “I learned how much the Australian and New Zealanders like Americans. They are wonderful hosts and big fans of some of our fast guys. This being the 25th anniversary of the event, it’s an historic occasion, especially with Colin Edwards, who has Australian roots, coming out of retirement to assist Team USA on the HyperCycle XR69 in the Island Challenge race. I thought it would be nice to offer something memorable to the event fans at his favorite track. And now with Jason Pridmore and Jake Zemke coming out of retirement to assist, along with youngster Barrett Long, we’ve got the best team and chances yet!”
Organizers expect the Island Classic to draw more than 500 classic bikes and 300 riders fort the three-day Australia Day long weekend extravaganza featuring 56 races from Friday, January 26 to Sunday, January 28. All races are between four and six laps and feature bikes from pre-WW1 through to Vintage (1920-1945), Classic and Post Classic (from 1946 to 1972), and the more recent Forgotten Era and New Era classes. Sidecars will also join solos on the program.
More info about the event can be found here.