Evergreen Jeremy McWilliams finished joint winner of the Island Classic at the famous Phillip Island circuit yesterday in front of a bumper audience in Australia, only being denied outright victory as the Glengormley man suffered electrical problems with his bikes in both Sunday outings.
With two wins in Saturday’s opening encounters, the 49-year-old former Grand Prix winner who put his Kenny Roberts’ Proton KR3 machine on a 500cc GP podium at Philip Island some 12 years earlier, had to share the Ken Wootton trophy with Shawn Giles after just one third place podium on Sunday.
Giles’ fourth and final victory aboard his Suzuki Katana yesterday left him and the Ulsterman tied on 155 points apiece.
Former British championship regular Brendan Roberts was third overall with TT Legend John McGuinness fifth. Cameron Donald, who took the race three victory had to settle for eighth overall after his machine expired on the final encounter. Australia took the team prize with McWilliams’ UK team second and New Zealand third.
Back at home, Ballymoney’s William Dunlop (below), who recently signed for Moneymore based Tyco Suzuki, says there will be ‘no excuses’ at this year’s Vauxhall International North West 200 as he chases his maiden Superbike race win on the 8.9 mile Portrush, Portstewart, Coleraine Triangle course.
“The North West will be my first International race of 2014 on the new bikes and I am training hard in the gym to be ready,” the 27 year old Ballymoney man insisted as he gears up for the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock races at the 2014 event.
“The TAS Suzuki’s have always been good around the North West with Bruce Anstey and Alastair Seeley and it is a big event for the Tyco team so I want to win a Superbike race this year.”
The Ballymoney man, who jumped ship from the Milwaukee Yamaha team during the winter to join the charismatic Guy Martin in the Tyco Suzuki team, already has three wins to his credit at Portrush.
Dunlop scored a 125cc-250cc double in 2009 before clinching his first International road race win on a Wilson Craig Honda in the Supersport race in 2012.
“William is new to us although we have plenty of experience of having competed against him.” Tyco Suzuki boss Philip Neill says.
“We know how he can go on a 600 but the Superbike class is the big one. I think that is where we will help William to excel and there may be a few surprised people watching the Number 6 at the North West this year.”
North West 200 Event Director, Mervyn Whyte agrees that William will be at the front of the Superbike pack come May.
“William is a big favourite with the North West 200 fans having put in some brilliant performances in recent years and I think he will be right at the front in both Superbike races in 2014 on the Tyco Suzukis challenging for his first International big bike win,” predicted Mervyn.