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Old 01-23-2016, 11:20 AM   #1
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Australia lead Phillip Islands International Classic race

The final two International Challenge races will commence tomorrow

The UK Team. Photo: @glenrichards75

AUSTRALIA currently leads the way in the Mitchelton Wines International Challenge at the 2016 Australian International Island Classic at Phillip Island after today's two opening races.

Dual victories saw Australia's Beau Beaton back in action at the Island Classic after sitting out last year's race to put Australia in the lead on 358-points at the halfway mark in the International Challenge. Defending Champion, the United Kingdom, are currently on 346-points, newcomer Ireland sit in third whilst America and New Zealand are fourth and fifth respectively.

The two five-lap races were much of the same as Beaton remained ahead of UK star Jeremy McWilliams on the Yamaha Harris and Melbourne's Jed Metcher in third on the Honda Harris.

Race one saw Beaton and UK's Jeremy McWilliams battle it out for the entire distance, whilst Melbourne's Jed Metcher on the Honda Harris carved through the field at a rapid rate of knots from a low grid position to finish third ahead of Shawn Giles and Steve Martin — equating to four Australians in the top five.

UK rider Glen Richards on the Suzuki Harris was next home ahead of team-mates John McGuinness and Manxman Conor Cummins. Irish expatriate Paul Byrne on the Suzuki McIntosh finished ninth ahead of Ryan Farquhar.

After setting the fastest lap of the race in lap one, Metcher was on pole for race two and took the early lead before Beaton and then McWilliams pushed him back to third. Martin slipped through on Richards in the last few laps to finish fourth followed by Cummins, Byrne, Farquhar, Australia's Cameron Donald and McGuinness.

In the fight for International Challenge individual honours, won by Farquhar in 2015, Beaton currently has the maximum of 80-points after day one from McWilliams (78), Metcher (76), Martin (73) and Richards (71).

The final two International Challenge races will be held on Sunday.

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