McGuinness helps UK to Phillip Island Classic hat-trick

John McGuinness in action at the 2017 Phillip Island Classic.
John McGuinness in action at the 2017 Phillip Island Classic.
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John McGuinness helped the United Kingdom team make it a hat-trick of International Challenge wins in the Phillip Island Classic out in Australia.

Jeremy McWilliams led from the front as the Brits held off a fast-finishing Australia to retain the prestigious classic title at the 24th running of the event.

The UK finished on 651 points after four races with Australia on 640, Ireland 539, America 357 and New Zealand 323.

As McWilliams, now 52, took top individual honours for the fourth time, McGuinness came home eighth in the race for the Ken Wootton Trophy with results of 10th and 11th before finishing ninth in both the third and fourth races.

“It’s been quite a solid weekend,” said the Morecambe Missile.

“I’ve been at the back of the fast guys and my pace has been strong.

“I have been scoring good points for the UK team and doing my job.

“A major part of the International Challenge is getting the bike home, and that’s what I have been focussing on doing.

“What can I say about McWilliams?

“The 52-year-old codger just keeps on getting the job done and he really is in another league around Phillip Island.

“And (Peter) Hickman is fast everywhere - road or closed circuit - so I knew that he would also grab the bull by the horns when he came here.”

McWilliams won both races on day one, the first ahead of Shawn Giles and Hickman, while in race two Hickman and Jed Metcher completed the top three.

The UK then extended its lead to 26pts in race three, with McWilliams unstoppable en route to another win and a new lap record of 1:36.388. Hickman and Giles completed the top three.

With the event going down to the wire, the last few laps were the best of the weekend, Alex Phillis denying McWilliams a clean sweep in a thrilling finale.