Historic Racing | 2018 Phillip Island Motorcycle Classic
Words Geoff Baldwin Photography Luke Ray
This year marked the 25th anniversary of Australia’s largest historic racing event, the Phillip Island Classic. Taking place on the Australia Day weekend (Jan 26-28) the event plays host to riders from four different continents racing some of the most iconic machines from motorcycling history. This year we headed to Phillip Island, about two hours east of Melbourne to take in some of the trackside action.
One of the highlights of the Phillip Island Classic is the access you gain to the event with nothing more than a general admission ticket. Unlike most racing events, visitors are welcome to wander through the pit area (not the pit lane) and into the sheds where the teams prepare their motorcycles for the weekends racing. This kind of access gives you a unique look into the intricacies of classic motorcycle racing and the chance to talk one on one with the riders and their crews.
As we made our way through the pit sheds we were greeted by a treasure trove of awesome classic race machines ranging from pre-war to new era motorcycles. From legendary Japanese motorcycles to rare and collectable classics like vintage Vincents and Nortons.
This year for the event’s 25th anniversary organisers also invited legendary Grand-Prix champion Giacomo Agostini to attend and display a handful of race winning MV Agustas from a private collection in Milan, Italy.
Some of my personal highlights from the event included seeing Melbourne based HRD Irving Vincent’s incredible black and gold sidecar in action. Bevel Rubber’s beautiful Birch P4 ’72 Imola Ducati replica and finally getting a chance to take a look at local former World Endurance Champion and fellow motorcycle journalist Steve Martin’s awesome 185bhp Suzuki Katana.
After our day at the event, temperatures soared on the Saturday and Sunday making racing tough going for many of the vintage motorcycles and their riders. As the dust settled after the final race, points were tallied and rider Troy Corser reclaimed the FIM Oceania Historic Road Race Cup for Australia on his Honda Harris F1. The Phillip Island Classic will return again next year for another round of vintage racing. Be sure to bring your camera.