Colin Edwards joins forces with HyperCycle Classic Superbike Team USA for the 2018 Australia Motor Cycle News International Island Classic
Two-time World Champion Colin Edwards, the Texas Tornado, has agreed to ride for the HyperCycle Classic Superbike Team USA in the 25th Annual AMCN International Island Classic (Phillip Island Classic) at the Phillip Island Circuit on January 26-28, 2018.
Edwards will be competing as part of Team USA in the premier Unlimited Classic category on a HyperCycle-built Yamaha FJ-powered, XR69-replica chassis. HyperCycle owner Carry Andrew has upgraded it with custom triple clamps, wheels and brakes. The Texas Tornado is world-famous for his candid quips and his thoughts regarding his first Unlimited Classic competition did not disappoint: “My thoughts about racing a classic bike are a big fat question mark,” Edwards said. “Last few years I’ve only ridden the best Yamaha MotoGP bike testing for Michelin. Does this bike have traction control? Haha!”
The rules of the Unlimited Classic category were initially limited to 1982-and-earlier air-cooled 1000cc Superbikes but allowed engine displacement to be bored and stroked to whatever would fit in the original engine cases and cylinders. Similar rules flexibility allowed hand-built chrome-moly frames and more modern suspension, wheels and brakes. Two years ago, however, the UK team successfully lobbied for a rule change that allowed modern replicas of hand-built Harris XR69 works racer chassis with air-cooled ’84 Yamaha FJ1100-based that stretched the spirit of the rules. The UK team, headed by former MotoGP racer Jeremy McWilliams, dominated the 2016 Phillip Island Classic with their Harris hybrids and reset the bar of what it takes to win.
HyperCycle’s Andrew competed in the 2016 Phillip Island Classic and it really opened his eyes to a level of Classic Motorsports competition that simply doesn’t exist in the United States, where the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association rules limit modifications to remain much closer to early-‘80s technology. “I knew I could build a competitive machine for the premier Unlimited Classic category,” said Andrew, “and I was able to observe the machines that were the class of the class. I’ve set out to build the ultimate bike for what I consider to be the ultimate American rider.”
Teams from five countries – Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States – will be competing in the Phillip Island Classic for top honors, which have been recently dominated by Australia and the UK. The Phillip Island Classic is the largest historic motorcycle event in the Southern hemisphere and receives media coverage from all around the world. As the growing number of Classic Motorsports fans see it, the Phillip Island Classic and the Spa Francorchamps BIKERS’ CLASSIC event, which happens during the first weekend in July, are the premier two-wheeled Classic Motorsports events in the world.
While the eyes of Classic Motorsports enthusiasts around the world will be focused on the Phillip Island Classic this January, the motivation for both Edwards and HyperCycle’s Andrew is far more personal. “It reminded me of the simpler times of my early days of racing,” Andrew said. “Both Colin and I share a strong national pride and we want to do our part in elevating the level and representation for the United States.” His pitch that got Edwards interested in the event was similarly patriotic-themed. Edwards explained, “Yeah, I saw Carry at Barber (Motorsports Park during the AHRMA event) and we were just chatting. Then he mentioned the Classic and if I remember correctly, our US team needs some help. So we kept in touch, (he) sent pics of the bike, etc. The race date looked clean on my schedule, so here we are.”
HyperCycle’s Andrew cut his teeth competing on large-displacement air-cooled inline fours and has had two-time World Champion Doug Polen, not to mention the teenage, future World Champion Nicky Hayden, compete on his machines, and will be able to tap into his extensive knowledge of assembling all the components of both rider and bike to form a winning team.