Celebrating a record 25 years of staging the Superbike World Championship, Victoria’s Phillip Island will be inundated by the world’s leading production bike riders this weekend as they roll into town for Monday and Tuesday’s final pre-season test (February 16-17) and next week’s opening Swannround of the 2015 series (Friday to Sunday,February 20-22).
To honour the milestone 25 years, gates at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit will be thrown wide open at 7:00pm Friday night for everyone to enjoy FREE festivities culminating in a fireworks display to light up Gardner Straight. Prior to that, fans will meet motorcycling legends from the past 25 years, including Peter Goddard and Robbie Phillis – the winners of the very first round in 1990; and also be treated to stunt bike displays and kids’ activities.
The 2015 world superbike field for the Phillip Island opener boasts a tantalising mix of proven race winners, experienced world superbike campaigners and exciting new talent including Australian wildcards, Melbourne’s Jed Metcher (Kawasaki) and Cessnock’s Matt Walters (Pedercini Kawasaki).
Racegoers at the Swann round will also be treated to the Baylisstic Scramble flat track event featuring Australia’s three-time world superbike champion Troy Bayliss and a host of Australian motorcycling talent including Chris Vermeulen and Jason Crump.
The three-day meet also features world supersport competition with Australians Glenn Scott, Sam Lambert and Aiden Wagner debuting in the class, and Australian national events in superbike, supersport, Moto3 and juniors.
Tickets are available now at www.worldsbk.com.au.
A Short History
2015: No 25 for Phillip Island and world superbikes
The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit marks a major achievement next Sunday, February 22 when the opening round of the 2015 Superbike World Championship, Swann round is held at the sweeping, seaside layout : it will be the 25th time it has hosted the world’s leading production-based series.
World superbikes at the island carries a storied history which dates back to 1990, when Aussie duo Peter Goddard and Rob Phillis claimed the chequered flag in the first two races. In fact, local riders won nine of the first 12 world superbike races at Phillip Island, but now the tables have turned with the international brigade out in ‘front’ with 24 victories compared to the Aussie tally of 23.
That makes 47 races over 24 years. Dodgy maths? Not quite, as the second race in 2001 was cancelled after torrential rain lashed the Phillip Island circuit, making it more suitable for personal watercraft rather than high-powered four-stroke motorcycles.
Twenty-three rides have won WSBK races at Phillip Island, including seven Australians: the aforementioned Goddard and Phillis as well as Kevin Magee, Anthony Gobert, Troy Corser, Troy Bayliss and Garry McCoy. Between the three of them, Corser, Bayliss and Gobert have a staggering 18 wins to their credit.
The international list of winners is also mightily impressive, with Doug Polen, Carl Fogarty, Raymond Roche, John Kocinski, Aaron Slight, Colin Edwards, Ben Spies, Carlos Checa, Max Biaggi and current world champion Sylvain Guintoli among the stars.
Ducati has been the dominant brand throughout the journey, with the Italian manufacturer winning 22 races, well in front of Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki and Aprilia on five apiece.
The highlights reel at Phillip Island since 1990 is massive, and includes the ubiquitous Phillip Island drafting battles to the finish line; the absolute domination of Bayliss and Corser at their peak; Gobert disrobing and throwing his leathers into the crowd after his clean sweep in 1996; and one particular ‘hot’ moment: Belgian Stephane Mertens crashing on Gardner Straight in 1992, with his Ducati then cannoning into the pit wall and catching on fire. It then continued its journey, still cooking, a few hundred meters down the track. Mertens was okay apart from a broken collarbone.
Phillip Island can also lay claim to help ‘ending’ Fogarty’s career after the four-time world champion crashed after an altercation with a backmarker in 2000, injuring his shoulder. That brought the curtain down on a great career.
Australia’s association with world superbike stretches way back to when the series began in 1988, with Sydney’s Oran Park hosting the round. It was dominated by a young tearaway called Mick Doohan. Oran Park backed up again the following year before Phillip Island took over hosting duties in 1990.
Tickets For World Superbikes On Sale Now
For Tickets and on circuit camping for Feb 20-22’s opening round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, Phillip Island Swann round go to www.worldsbk.com.au or call circuit hotline on 1300 728 007.
Children 15 and under free. Adults $110* for a three-day pass purchased in advance, $75* for a Sunday only pass. Buy in advance and save!
Friday night’s 25 year celebration party and fireworks is free for everyone, ticket holder or not – gates open 7pm, Friday night February 20 for entry.
*plus processing fee – offer valid to Wednesday February 18 at 2pm AEST. At gate, a three day general admission is $150 so buy in advance, and save $40
** children are classified as 15 and under, and must be accompanied by a full paying adult.