Beau Beaton and the Irving Vincent Team win prestigious Phil Irving Trophy at the 25th Anniversary International Island Classic.
The Irving Vincent team has started 2018 in winning style with Beau Beaton taking out the Phil Irving Trophy for the highest individual point scorer at the 25th AMCN International Island Classic at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend of 26-28.
With bikes running in three classes, including a two-rider team in the Period 5 International Challenge races, Ken and Barry Horner had been working for months on preparing equipment for the 25th International Island Classic which is one of the biggest and most prestigious classic bike meetings in the world.
Beau Beaton would once again team up with IOM TT hero Cam Donald in the International Challenge races while Beaton would also race the lap record holding Period 4 Unlimited Post Classic 1972 Irving Vincent as well as the Period 5 sidecar with the highly experienced Noel Beare taking on passenger duties.
The meeting got underway for the team at the Thursday practice day, Ken and Barry Horner working hard with the
riders and Race Precision suspension guru Steve “Muddy” Mudford to fine tune the setup of all the bikes, including the K-Tech suspension componentry, to meet the unique demands of the dauntingly fast circuit in the short fifteen-minute sessions.
With 56 races to be held over the weekend Friday’s action got straight into qualifying for all classes.
First up was the Unlimited Post Classic class and Beau took to the track on the very same bike Craig McMartin set the current lap record on ten years ago. After not
seeing action since that meeting Ken and Barry Horner gave the bike a freshen up and Beau was riding it for the first time this weekend. Despite his limited experience on this particular incarnation of the Irving Vincent, Beau still managed to qualify on pole position by .784 of a second in front of Ducati Imola mounted Dave Johnson and experienced Period 4 pilot Dean Oughtred on his well-developed Honda CR.
Just 30 minutes later and Beau saddled up again on the Period 5 sidecar with Noel Beare, the duo having their second
meeting together. The sidecar field
was bolstered this meeting with the
inclusion of modern F2 machines along with the Period 5 Forgotten Era and Period 4 Post Classic outfits. Beau managed to qualify in fourth overall and second in the Period 5 class with 1:49.036, comfortably under the existing lap record of 1:49.910.
Next up Beau and Cam were out for the first of two eight-minute sessions for the international challenge class. Beau managed to complete five laps with a best time of 1:40.7, unfortunately Cam’s bike had a few issues and he was not able to record a lap in the short session.
The final eight-minute session was far more successful with both Beau and Cam recording laps on the thundering Irving Vincent P5 machines, Beau managed to find nearly two seconds from the time set in the earlier session to qualify tenth overall with Cam also recording a 1:42 lap to secure a top twenty position in a thirty six bike field that contained three multiple world champions, a host of national champions along with past and present stars of Road Racing, AMA and BSB superbike championships.
Period 4 Unlimited Post Classic
Starting from pole position Beau launched the 1972 1300cc Irving Vincent off the line thundering into turn one with a handy lead over the combined Unlimited Post Classic and 500cc Forgotten Era field. A blistering first lap set up a lead of nearly three seconds with his first flying lap of the race, lap two, extending that to nearly five and a half seconds and within one second of Craig McMartin’s lap record. With such a handy lead Beau backed off slightly on the third and fourth laps to secure his first victory of the weekend.
Race two saw Beau get a good start but was challenged by Dave Johnson on the Ducati Imola, only .6 behind at the completion of the first lap. Another solid second lap had the lead out to over 2.7 seconds, 4.7 by the completion of lap three and 6.6 by lap four when the Ducati cried enough. This left Beau with a twenty-seven second lead over Simon Cook to take his second win in the class.
Races three and four on Sunday followed in a similar pattern. With Johnson out
and 1300cc of fury propelling Beau into turn one in the lead and stretching that advantage on the first flying lap Beau was able to coast to victory in the final two races. On the second lap of race three Beau went within .3 of a second of claiming the lap record off his good friend and mentor McMartin despite the fifty-degree plus track temperature. Holding a handy lead entering the straight on the final lap of races three and four Beau was able to entertain the crowd with monster stand up wheelies to celebrate victory in the race and a triumphant return to the Period 4 Unlimited Post Classic class for the Irving Vincent.
Period 5 Forgotten Era Sidecar
The P5 and P4 sidecar field were joined by eleven modern F2 machines this weekend with one piloted by the current and seven times world champion Tim Reeves. Qualifying second in the P5 class behind current lap record holders Mark Knight and David Rumble on their 1980 Suzuki Kellett 1130 Beau got a great launch from row two in race one on Friday afternoon. Beau and passenger Noel Beare got a good launch off the line and were leading the second pack at the completion of the first lap with Period 5 class leaders Knight and Rumble able to get away with the rapid F2 modern machines. On lap three Beau had a moment when he ran off track on the exit
of turn six, losing a position to Mick Alton on track and ten seconds in time but remaining in second place in class comfortably ahead of former Australian Champion Adam Treasure on his Suzuki Bosman 1100. The P5 lap record was lowered by Mark Knight and David Rumble by an impressive 1.8 seconds to 1:48.177.
The second sidecar race was the only outing for the three wheeled machines on Saturdays program and whilst the 888 machine did not improve on outright lap time they were a lot closer to Knight and Rumble who took another victory. The Beaton Beare duo completed the first lap in fourth position just over two seconds behind their
P5 rivals who lead the race outright. By the completion of lap two Beau had moved forward into third outright and second in the P5 class getting the better of former Australian Sidecar Champion Mick Alton on his F2 machine. Alton responded on lap three relegating Beau one position on the road, remaining second in class. At the flag it was another second place in class, a fine result for a rider in only his third sidecar meeting and a duo only having their second meeting together.
The tables turned in race three with the Knight Rumble machine not able to take to the grid, Beau Beaton and Noel Beare cruised to a class victory with an eleven second win over the Treasure and Gorrie combination. Challenging the rapid F2 machines early on including that of World Champion Reeves, Beau settled the pace to ensure victory in class and a solid haul of points in the battle for sidecar supremacy.
Race four was Beau’s best of the weekend on the outfit. Gaining confidence and with the team working hard on the bike to improve feel and performance Beau and Noel Beare completed the first lap in Third outright, only 1.5 off Reeves and leading the P5 class over Knight and Rumble by over 3.5 seconds. Lap two, despite track temperatures over sixty-three degrees, was Beau’s best of the weekend shaving over .3 of a second off the new lap record set in race 1. By the completion of lap three, while still third outright on the road, the Beaton Beare 888 machine enjoyed a fifteen plus second lead eventually going on to record their second victory for the day to secure the honours in the P5 Sidecar Class for the weekend. International Challenge Races
Irving Vincent riders Beau Beaton and Cam Donald were two of the high-profile stars of Team Australia who were desperate to retake the International Challenge Trophy after three years of having to play second fiddle to the star- studded UK Team. Four International Challenge races are held over six laps with points awarded for each of the four teams representing Australia, UK, USA and New Zealand. Both Beaton and Donald have starred in this class previously and were keen to show the pace of the only twin cylinder motorcycles in a field that is dominated by F1 four-cylinder machines.
The first International Challenge race, held on Saturday got underway in front of a huge crowd just after mid-day. Beaton got a good start from his fourth-row grid position and completed the first lap in eighth, right on the tail of former AMA star and dual World Endurance Champion Jason Pridmore of Team USA, while holding off former BSB Supersport Champion Glen
Richards. Whilst Beau was in the thick of the action battling the international stars Jake Zemke and Dan Linfoot, as well as team mates Shawn Giles and Steve Martin, Cam Donald was forced to retire with a mystery engine gremlin that would not allow the 1300cc push rod V-Twin engine to rev cleanly. Beau eventually finished in twelfth place on the tail of a group of five that had battled the entire race distance.
Race two was another spectacle that kept the large crowd on their toes, close battles throughout the entire field a feature of this race. Beau was dicing with former dual World SBK Champions Troy Corser and Colin Edwards while Cam was holding off Road Racing star Lee Johnston. Beau eventually crossing the line in seventh place and Cam Donald in fifteenth, Cam also recording his best lap of the weekend to date.
Beau Beaton was a star of race three for Team Australia, finishing in sixth place overall and scoring solid points that would eventually contribute to the team’s victory. Beau battled all the way to the line in a fierce encounter with Linfoot, Peter Hickman, Troy Corser, Michael Rutter and Colin Edwards. Unfortunately, Cam Donald would once again be forced to retire after completing only one lap.
The fourth and final race started well for Beau who was well placed after one lap in seventh right behind Corser. Unfortunately, Cam was forced to retire on lap two, the same time as Beau’s machine also suffered a gremlin that would cause it to intermittently run on only one cylinder resulting in Beau loosing up to seven places by lap four. Beau pushed on realising the importance of points for his team after the strong performances in the previous races with the issue persisting until lap five when it mysteriously disappeared and allowed Beau to gain two places with his fastest lap of the race on the final circuit.
Beau Beaton finished in seventh place overall for the Ken Wootton Trophy awarded to the highest individual point scorer in the International Challenge races.
Phil Irving Trophy
The Phil Irving Trophy is one of the most prestigious in classic bike racing and is named in honour of the renowned Australian Engineer. It is awarded to the highest individual point scorer
throughout the weekend but does not include points scored in the International Challenge. The honour board of previous winners is a who’s who of racing and includes Wayne Gardner, Ginger Malloy and Cam Donald.
In 2018, the 90th anniversary of the creation Vincent HRD company, the winner of the Phil Irving Trophy, mounted on Irving Vincent motorcycles that can trace a direct lineage back to Phil Irving’s original design, is Beau Beaton. Beau scored 190 points over his four Period 4 Unlimited races and four sidecar races.
“To win the Phil Irving trophy was a bit of a shock to be honest” said 2018 Phil Irving Trophy winner Beau Beaton. “To win it on an Irving Vincent made it even more special
and I know it meant a lot to Ken and Barry and it was a nice reward for what was a challenging weekend. I had a few runs on the sidecar last year and Barry was pretty keen to get me to race on it for this meeting, I had a meeting with Noel Beare last year and I was happy with how we were going and it was a great experience, a new challenge and something else to try and set up and to get the lap record in the last race was good, we were really pushing for it. I think there is more to be had out of that bike too with some engine tuning, but the chassis is working really well so I was happy with that. The period 4 bike has been dormant for 10 years now and it is the first time I have had the pleasure of riding it, in 2008 Craig McMartin set the lap record on it and it has been parked ever since. The last few years there has been enough work for Ken and Barry in preparing the Period 5 bikes and that has been their focus, I think they saw it as more of a challenge in the P5 class so that why the P4 bike has remained dormant. I pestered them a little bit to let me have a ride of it just to fill in some time over the weekend and then they wanted the sidecar as well, I thought I may have bit off more than I can chew. It is a very different motorcycle the P5, the horsepower is the same, if not even a little more, it has got a really strong engine but it’s in the chassis where the lap time goes away, and you don’t have the brakes or tyres on the P4 bike, but down the straight, and the noise of it, it was fantastic. It was also special to win the Phil Irving Trophy with a contribution from a Period 4 bike. Ken Wootton, along with Fergus Cameron, was responsible for this event getting off the ground twenty-five years ago, and Ken was a long time P4 rider, he was also instrumental in getting the Irving Vincent Team to this event in the first place. I was actually unaware of what the point system was for the Phil Irving Trophy and how it all worked, so it was even more special to pick that up, I was speechless to be honest and I was happy to hand the award over to Ken and Barry. I only have had a small input to what they create and what they do so really it should be their award, they do an incredible amount for the sport. This weekend was one of the first times I have used the new K-Tech suspension on these bikes and we made great headway really quickly, we had a few carburation issues early in the weekend which halted us really getting the front as good as it could be as we just didn’t have the speed there, but the K-Tech cartridges are very responsive to the changes you make to them. On the Period 5 bike in the International Challenge it was an odd weekend, we just seemed to have carburation and electrical issues all weekend which is highly unusual, but every competitor had their own challenges over the weekend, especially in the Australian Team, we were all having these little niggling issues. We won it as a team, but we were all a little disappointed with our individual results, we were there to take back the overall team trophy, it has been too long since we won it. It was, once again, a pleasure to ride the Irving Vincent for Ken and Barry and I can’t thank them enough for everything that they do”.
“A difficult weekend for me but I am probably more disappointed for Ken and Barry” said dual Isle of Man TT winner Cam Donald “They had a tough year last year and I have seen the amount of work they have done in the last twelve months in preparation for this event so I was probably more disappointed for them and the Australian Team that I wasn’t able to really contribute like I wanted too, I am lost for words really. Even though it was tough on the Period 5 bike in the International Challenge it was very satisfying to still score a result on a Vincent in the 500 Classic Class. The 1950 Vincent Grey Flash is a remarkable bike that has probably been overshadowed by the Manx Norton and G50 Matchless over the years but this new bike that Lewis Gallur has prepared is fantastic. It only arrived in the country recently I am grateful I was able to ride it”.
“We ended up with a good result after a bad start and difficult weekend” said a relieved Team Manager Ken Horner. “I am actually a bit annoyed that we had so many problems, the engines always run cleanly after the prep work Barry and I do on the dyno. We had to make many changes to the fueling to address the issues and this robbed us of power. Then the time we spent sorting the engine issues stopped us really developing the K-Tech suspension with Steve Mudford. Still, to win the Phil Irving Trophy is very special to us, and especially in the 90th Anniversary year, a feat that we will get to celebrate once again at the upcoming Broadford Bonanza at Easter. Even though we had a difficult weekend I cannot speak highly enough of both Cam and Beau, not only are they tremendous riders but they are great ambassadors for the sport, even under difficult circumstances.
In fact, it was a great effort over the weekend from the entire team, Barry and I would very much like to acknowledge the work done by Steve Mudford, Mike Exel, Noel Beare, Chris Dinuzzo, Greg and Julie Maher and Mark “Doc” Downie over the weekend. Also, I would like to give a special mention to Phil Canning who, in only his second road race meeting, rode his 1949 Vincent Lightening to victory in the Unlimited Classic class and Cam Donald who rode a 1950 Vincent Grey Flash to a perfect four from four in the 500 Classic class”.
Photo credits – Neville Byrne and Andrew Gosling.