Despite a valiant effort at the Phillip Island Classic in Melbourne, Australia, Glengormley’s former MotoGP ace Jeremy McWilliams narrowly failed to retain his crown in front of a packed audience — including legendary guest of honour Giacomo Agostini, a 15 times world champion.
McWilliams led the British team of Steve Brogan, Mick Godfrey and Ryan Farquhar and despite three second-placed finishes and a victory in the final race of the weekend for the Ulster veteran, it wasn’t enough to overhaul eventual champion Shawn Giles, who had three wins and a second place to lift the coveted Ken Wootton International Trophy.
The Suzuki Katana mounted Giles also led the Aussies to the overall team victory by a considerable margin (1036 points to the UK’s 506), but only took the individual honours by a solitary point over McWilliams, who had World Superbike star Jonathan Rea in his corner for support.
Despite losing out, McWilliams was far from disappointed at his effort on the XR69 Classic Suzuki.
“I have to offer congratulations to Shawn as he rode sensibly in that last race and did what he needed to do,” said McWilliams.
“I sometimes get quite nervous in close combat on these big bikes for fear of things going wrong, but once the first race was out of the way it was completely forgotten about and it was all about riding as hard as you could.
“Honestly, this is the best fun you can have on a race bike.”
Aussie TT star Cameron Donald was third overall with a 3-4-8-4 scorecard.
Mick Godfrey was the next best of the British riders in sixth place overall, with both Steve Brogan and Ryan Farquhar plagued with mechanic gremlins