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UK's Jeremy McWilliams Claims Island Classic Pole

McWilliams leads Giles from Beaton

The UK’s Jeremy McWilliams has served a timely reminder that he'll be the man to beat in the 2015 Tahbilk International Challenge after he easily claimed pole position at Philip Island’s Island Classic historic bike meet on Friday 23rd January.

After warming to the task in this morning's opening qualifying session, McWilliams let rip in the second timed outing on his Harris Yamaha to set a best lap of 1min37.644secs, over one second ahead of Aussie Cameron Donald (Suzuki XR69, 1:37.717), with Brendan Roberts (Suzuki Katana, 1:38.722) to complete the front row for tomorrow's opening six-lap race.

McWilliams is the UK's star rider in the International Challenge, with squads from Australia, New Zealand and America also competing.

Australia has been undefeated in the teams' event since 2005, and once again the depth of the local squad could be the difference this year, with Aussies Steve Martin (1:37.759), Jed Metcher (1:38.823) and Shawn Giles (1:39.157) completing the top six in qualifying on their Katanas, ahead of UK teamster – but born and bred Aussie – Glen Richards (Harris Suzuki, 1:39.308) in seventh.

Crowd favourite, UK's Isle of Man legend John McGuinness, will hopefully start from 11th on the grid – but is in doubt, after blowing an engine late in qualifying; while Australia has already been dealt a body blow with 'Mr Superbike' Rob Phillis withdrawing after a piston cracked on his Suzuki XR69.

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