Belfast Telegraph

Jeremy McWilliams and Team UK can be wizards at 2015 Australian Motorcycle News Island Classic

By Paul Lindsay

Jeremy McWilliams firmly believes his UK team has the talent and experience to win this weekend's international challenge against Australia, New Zealand and the USA - the 2015 Australian Motorcycle News Island Classic at Phillip Island.

The former MotoGP ace has already won the individual prize at the event on three occasions, but his main goal this time is to assist with a coveted overall victory, campaigning a 1984 1297cc Harris Yamaha F1 machine.

"The Aussies never give us an inch and we don't expect it to be any different this year," said Ulsterman McWilliams, who will return to race at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in May.

"In saying that I think this year is our best chance to take the team win if all the bikes stick it out. They do take a hammering over the weekend and Roger Winfield (who supplies machinery to most of the top riders) deserves it."

The UK squad of 13 will be trimmed to just 10 riders when the international races get under way on Saturday, with expat Aussie Glen Richards drafted into the GB squad.

"There will be a bit of moaning that Glen's with us but he is an adopted Brit," said Glengormley ace McWilliams of the 2008 British Supersport champion.

"No doubt he'll be quick but these '90s era bikes do take a bit of getting used to."

Ryan Farquhar and Conor Cummins will also bolster the GB team's goal of winning the overall title, and McWilliams believes TT legend John McGuinness will be better equipped after making his debut in 2014.

"John admitted he was riding his plums off last year," laughed the diminutive former 250 Grand Prix race winner. "He didn't think the pace would just be as fast as it is, but now he knows what to expect he is up for it and looking forward to swapping paintwork."

The Australia team will feature the talents of Steve Martin, lap record holder Shawn Giles, Rob Phillis, Cameron Donald, Brendan Roberts and Jed Metcher.

McWilliams, who tied with Giles in the 2014 individual standings, concluded: "I always loved the Island circuit - it was my favourite track during my GP career and still is - but the Island Classic event is really competitive. It's like racing at the top of a national championship."

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