Sunday, January 29

Team Ireland retain 3rd in Phillip Island Classic 2017!

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Phillip Island Team Ireland Result
Team Ireland retained 3rd place in the Phillip Island International Classic for the 2nd year running as the UK claimed 1st. Solid performances again from Paul Byrne and Derek Sheils meant the privately funded Irishmen took 3rd place with almost 200 points to spare.
Paul Byrne again excelled in the individual series to come home in 4th as newcomer to the event Derek Sheils finished a really credible 7th, ahead of some well established names such as James Hillier and Peter Hickman.

Race 3 showed improved returns for Paul and Derek finishing 6th and 7th respectively as 3 other team mates Dave Johnson, Hilton Hincks and Chris Campbell also crossed under the chequered flag. Bad luck rained down on the efforts of Ben Rea, Cormac Conroy and Alexander Pickett however as they were forced to retire.
Race 4 showed an improvement for Paul Byrne as 4th place beckoned with the Australian team fighting back in an effort to reclaim the title from the dominant Jeremy McWilliams led UK team. Derek Sheils bagged another 7th place on the Tom Dermody Suzuki XR69 ahead of Conor Cummins to secure more points for the team. Dave Johnson just missed out on an impressive top 10 finish in 11th as Hilton Hincks, Chris Campbell and Alexander Pickett ended up 16th, 19th and 20th.

 Irish non-riding captain Mike Meskell was delighted with how his team performed.
"We had some good bikes and some  not so good this weekend, but they held together and we have achieved our goal of getting closer to the top two teams," Meskell said. "We want to be regarded as a serious competitor to Australia and the UK, and we will come back bigger and stronger in 2018 with better bikes, including two XR69s."

Race one: 1 Jeremy McWilliams (UK), 2 Shawn Giles (AUS), 3 Peter Hickman (UK), 4 Conor Cummins (UK), 5 Jed Metcher (AUS), 6 Chas Hern (AUS).
Race two: 1 McWilliams, 2 Hickman, 3 Metcher, 4 Alex Phillis (AUS), 5 Paul Byrne (IRE), 6 Giles.
Race three: 1 McWilliams, 2 Hickman, 3 Giles, 4 Phillis, 5 Metcher, 6 Byrne
Race four: 1 Phillis, 2 McWilliams, 3 Steve Martin (AUS), 4 Metcher, 5 Byrne, 6 Giles.

Team result
1. United Kingdom 651pts  
2. Australia 640pts  
3. Ireland 539pts
4. America 357pts
5. New Zealand 323pts
Individual result
1. Jeremy McWilliams (UK) 159
2. Jed Metcher (AUS) 147
3. Shawn Giles (AUS) 147
4. Paul Byrne (IRE) 140
5. Conor Cummins (UK) 133
6. Steve Martin (AUS) 132
7. Derek Sheils (IRE) 132
8. John McGuinness (UK) 125
9. James Hillier (UK) 118
10. Peter Hickman (UK) 116

Words: Andy Quinn
Images:\MCN AU

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