Australia lead Phillip Island's International Classic race

The final two International Challenge races will commence tomorrow

AUSTRALIA currently lead the way in the Mitchelton Wines International Challenge at the 2016 Australian International Island Classic at Phillip Island after today's two opening races. 

Dual victories saw Beau Beaton back in action at the Island Classic after sitting out last year's race to put Australia in the lead on 358 points at the halfway mark in the International Challenge. The United Kingdom - defending champions - are currently on 346 points. Newcomers Ireland are third while America and New Zealand are fourth and fifth respectively. 

The two five-lap races were much the same as Beaton remained ahead of UK star Jeremy McWilliams on the Yamaha Harris and Melbourne's Jed Metcher, in third place, on the Honda Harris. 

Race one saw Beaton and the UK's McWilliams battle it out for the entire distance, while Melbourne's Jed Metcher on the Honda Harris carved through the field at a rapid rate of knots from a low grid position to finish third, ahead of Shawn Giles and Steve Martin — equating to four Australians in the top five.

UK rider Glen Richards on the Suzuki Harris was next home, ahead of team-mates John McGuinness and Manxman Conor Cummins. Irish expatriate Paul Byrne on the Suzuki McIntosh finished ninth ahead of Ryan Farquhar. 

After setting the fastest lap of the race in lap one, Metcher was on pole for race two and took the early lead before Beaton and then McWilliams pushed him back to third. Martin slipped through on Richards in the last few laps to finish fourth followed by Cummins, Byrne, Farquhar, Australia's Cameron Donald and McGuinness.

In the fight for International Challenge individual honours, won by Farquhar in 2015, Beaton currently has the maximum of 80 points after day one,  with McWilliams on 78, Metcher on 76, Martin on 73 and Richards on 71.

The final two International Challenge races will be held on Sunday. 

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