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Dec 16, 2013

Team USA Returning To Phillip Island To Compete In International Island Classic

Team USA's Ottis "Otter" Lance (57) and Deano Swims (56) at Phillip Island in 2013. Photo by Russell Colvin, courtesy of Team USA.


Team USA organizer and multi-time AHRMA National Champion, Dave Crussell, once again has assembled a team of current and past championship-winning racers from across America to compete in the 2014 AMCN International Island Classic to be held from January 24th through the 26th at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Australia. The upcoming event's guest of honor will be Isle of Man legend, John McGuinness.

The year 2014 marks the second year in which the Americans have fielded a team. By virtue of his stellar performance as top points scorer in the International Challenge in 2013, former AMA Pro racer and multi-time CMRA National Champion, Ottis "Otter" Lance, will be this year's Team Captain, and will be riding a Jack Daniels/ Motul sponsored Lone Star Motorsports 1982 Suzuki Katana 1260 Superbike on Michelins. Another top points scorer from 2013, and once again taking part in the event, is former AMA Pro and multi-time WERA National Champion, Deano Swims. Electing to leave his winning CB1100F at home, this time Swims will return to raceaboard a Sunset Racing 1982 Suzuki Katana 1200, sponsored by NZ racer, Roger Gunn. Lance has insisted that Swims be his co-captain. Swims said: "The previous meeting was a learning experience for Team USA and we learned a lot. This time we are better prepared to be more competitive with the other teams that already have a 20-year head start on us. Even though this event features historic machines, these guys are serious! The camaraderie at this meeting is so awesome that it reminds me of how much fun racing was back in the old days. Our goal as a team is to continue to improve our results, gain attention back in the States, and persuade some of the great AMA Champions of the past to come out of retirement for some old-school fun!"

In 2014, the team will be focusing on the International Challenge in the P5 Forgotten Era Superbike Category (1972-82). Dave Crussell will be aboard one of his 1978 CMR TZ750's. Crussell will also field four other riders on his machines. Brian Filo, current AHRMA racer and one of the top points scorers in 2014, will ride a full-on 1978 P&M Kawasaki Z1. Current and past AHRMA Superbike Champions, Shawn Reilly and Rob Mesa will be aboard a 1978 Spondon TZ750 and another 1978 CMR TZ750. James McKay, or as his closest mates call him "Jimi Mac," will be riding the last of the Crussell machines, a 1978 Kawasaki Z1R in this year's International Challenge event. Jimi Mac finished 3rd overall in the 2013 event and was the top American in the P6 class on his 1990 Suzuki GSXR-1100. He has also just returned from competing in the Manx GP and finished 2nd in his class at the Pikes Peak event. Joe Weir, 2012-13 AHRMA Vintage Superbike Heavy Weight Champion will ride his 1982 Suzuki Katana 1260, and AHRMA racer Joe Pethoud of Vicious Racing will ride a 1982 Honda CB985F. Weir and Pethoud both race out of the Tenmoto Racing stables located in Portland, Oregon. Mike Studzinski will be back again in 2014 riding a 1978 Yamaha TZ750 owned and tuned by former AMA Pro F1 racer, Kurt Lentz.

In other categories, the 2013 overall winners of the sidecar event, Wade Boyd and Christine Blunck of Subculture Racing, will return to defend the sidecar Championship, riding a Yamaha R1 powered machine. Boyd will also contest the P6 category aboard a 1990 Suzuki GSXR-750. Tom Marquardt on a Honda CB500. AHRMA 200GP Champion Jon Muns and AHRMA 350 and 500 Sports Champion Eirik Nielson will ride a 1967 Honda CB-200 and 1969 CB-367 respectively. Swiss Niederberger on a 1960 BSA Goldstar 500, Muns and Nielson both ride out of the Tenmoto Racing stables in Portland, Oregon

The International Island Classic is a fan favorite and is attended annually by tens of thousands of enthusiast from around the globe. With riders from Australia, UK, New Zealand, and now the USA competing, this event is the third largest sporting event on the Australian motorcycling calendar, eclipsed only by MOTOGP and WSBK. The Team USA bikes are in a container on their way to the Island and should arrive shortly.