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Metcher gets in more test laps ahead of Phillip Island Classic

The build-up for next year’s 23rd running of the International Island Classic has begun on the other side of the world in Australia, with the 2011 FIM European Superstock 600 champion Jed Metcher having his second crack aboard Rex Wolfenden’s T-Rex Racing Honda Harris F1 at Broadford State Motorcycle Complex on Monday.

Metcher, 25, will once again be a part of the green and gold team as they try to reclaim back the Mitchelton Wines International Challenge crown from the UK team, who this won with a total of 617-points to Australia’s 575.

The Victorian based rider said between Wolfenden and Darren Sciberras from Race Center, who guided Metcher to fourteenth place as a wildcard rider at the opening round of the FIM World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island in February, that they have made improvements in some areas due to the updated Race Center FD-02 suspension setup to suit the Period 5 rules.


Metcher first sampled Wolfenden’s Honda Harris F1 at the Southern Classic at the beginning of November at Broadford, where he simply cleaned up in the Forgotten Era, taking four win from four starts.

The likeable character broke the lap record around the 2.16km Broadford circuit three times. His first lap record came in race two when he posted a 58.519sec, .478sec faster than Michael Dibb’s lap record, who has piloting Wolfenden’s Harris F1 for a few years now. Metcher then improved his lap time again by .197sec, before posting a 58.110sec in the final race.

On Monday, Metcher went five tenths quicker on the same set of Pirelli tyres that they used at the Southern Classic, dropping his time to an unofficial 57.58sec – which is on par with the four time Victorian Supersport champion Ryan Taylor’s Supersport lap record (57.670).

“It was nice to better our lap times today,” said Metcher, who will next year race with Team Wilbers BMW Racing in the German IDM Superbike series. “We are still searching for a few things with the suspension.”

Another factor to consider is the fact that the engine which was being used was a test engine, as the number one engine is being rebuilt ready for the Island Classic.

“Overall we are quite happy with how the test went. We have got all the necessary data to iron out all the issues.”
Metcher finished sixth in this year’s International Challenge, two points ahead of former 500cc/BSB star Paul Young, who raced Wolfenden’s Honda Harris F1. Metcher scored a 4-2-DNF-1 result, racing a Suzuki Katana 1300.

The test saw Metcher, Sciberras and Wolfenden working mainly on the suspension which included the low speed compression as the dampening was not right and the rear shocks were too soft.

“We mostly made the bike harder in the rear and firmer in the front today,” explained Wolfenden, who is the Australian team captain. “We are getting a result. It’s not quite right yet, but’s its better.”

Wolfenden also gave his view on Metcher by saying, “He’s a top a rider, and he knows what he is doing. Darren is excellent to work with, exactly the same, he knows what he is doing. We’ll work our way through it and try and get Jed on the podium at the Island.”


Between now and the next test for Metcher, which will take place at Phillip Island at the beginning of January, they will do some fine tuning with the forks, run a bit heavier spring rate in the rear and throw some new tyres at the bike and really push at the 4.445km seaside circuit to see how the bike really handles before he goes into battle with some of the best riders from across the globe to try and win the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy.

Metcher is hoping for a 1min37 lap time at the test, while at the Island Classic if he can dip into the 1min36 bracket he’ll be well on his way.

“We won’t push the envelope to hard at the test because it is only a couple of weeks before the race,” explained Metcher. “Come the Thursday at the Island Classic we would want to be doing 36’s for sure.”

The 2016 International Island Classic will run from 22-24 January.

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