International talent set to go up against Australia’s best
On October 6 the Coolum Pines MX Complex will host the second round of the 2018 Australian Supercross Championship with a huge host of world class talent set to make it a cracker of an event.
No less than seven international invaders have jetted Down Under from the USA and UK, all intent on plundering Australia’s premier dirt bike series.
Leading the charge is reigning two-time Australian SX1 Supercross champion, Penrite Honda Racing’s Justin Brayton, the American kicking off his title defence with a mighty win at round one at Jimboomba a fortnight ago.
“I’m the guy running the big number one on my back, and that makes me a target, of course, getting the win at round one at Jimboomba was the perfect start to the championship, and the plan now is to shoot for another win at Coolum.”
Brayton headed a trio of Aussies in the SX1 (450cc) final at Jimboomba, with veteran Brett Metcalfe (Penrite Honda) second, young gun Luke Clout (KTM Motocross Racing) third and former Australian champion Dan Reardon (Yamaha) fourth.
Rounding out the SX1 top five at Jimboomba was another American hard charger, Jace Owen (Complete Parts Kawasaki Racing), who gave a big hint of things to come by running up front in his heat race and then leading the opening laps of the final.
“I was satisfied with fifth,I’ve only had a couple of weeks on the new 2019 model Kawasaki and it was my first race back after injury, so there were a lot of nerves to get out of the way at round one.”
With Dean Ferris out after suffering injuries at round one, team owner Craig Dack, assessed his options and all roads led to Crawford, who is now back on the bike and in full training after recovering from a shoulder issue earlier in the year.
Crawford is excited about the opportunity to race for the CDR Yamaha team and despite only returning to riding recently after his shoulder injury. Crawford is a previous SX1 main event winner after taking victory in the mud bath final round of 2017 and finished the championship inside the top five in his first year in the premier division.
“Within a week I went from not riding to suddenly racing supercross for the best team in Australia so it’s been a big week, for Craig and Gavin to allow me to do this is great and I can’t thank either of them enough for making this happen. I have been on the sidelines since April, but I have kept up my training and been riding every day since I received my clearance just over a week ago. My first race won’t set the world on fire and there certainly isn’t any pressure from Craig, but I want to do well both for myself and everyone at Yamaha who have provided me with this opportunity. My shoulder feels good and I have missed racing, so I can’t wait to get back to the track, get some laps under my belt and wear the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy colours.”
In the equally cut-throat SX2 championship for 250cc machines, Queenslander Jay Wilson (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) kicked off the series with an emphatic victory and a perfect start to the championship.
“First rounds are always hard to manage, but the team did a great job of getting the bike just how I needed it.”
Wilson was flanked by two American invaders on the Jimboomba podium, with Bradley Taft (Penrite Honda Racing) and Josh Osby (Raceline Pirelli KTM) giving Uncle Sam plenty to smile about, finishing second and third respectively.
“It was a crazy first week (in Australia), settling in, testing a new bike and finding some consistency in my day-to-day training, everything is new to me, so having three weeks to prepare for round two at Coolum means we should be able to improve on second.”
Behind Wilson, Taft and Osby, Australian Hayden Mellross (DPH Husqvarna) – who is based in the USA through the first half of each year to contest the prestigious AMA Supercross Series – finished fourth in the SX2 final (despite carrying two broken big toes!), ahead of another two American imports, Jacob Hayes (Serco Yamaha) and Dakota Alix (KTM Motocross Racing).
“I’m sure I’m capable of better results, it was good to get the first round done and experience how the local events are run, the competition I will be racing against and just get a good feel for how things are here (in Australia).”
Dogged by illness at round one, Gradie Featherstone (KSF Ecstar Suzuki) hails from the UK and is the reigning European 250cc Supercross champion. The 20-year-old is aiming to click top gear come round two at Coolum.
“Everything leading up to Jimboomba had gone well, but then on race day I got hit by a bug and could not keep anything down all day. It wasn’t the way we wanted to start the series, but no excuses, we will work hard and have a much better showing at round two at Coolum.”
Round two of the 2018 Australian Supercross Championship at Coolum Pines MX complex on October 6 will be staged as a daytime meeting, the new family-friendly daylight format being popularly received at the Jimboomba championship opener.
Gates will be open from 10am, with a Pit Party kicking off from 1.30pm where fans can meet the stars of supercross, and main event racing roaring into life from 2.30pm.
2018 Australian Supercross Championship Calendar
- Round 1 – Jimboomba, Qld – September 15
- Round 2 – Coolum, Qld – October 6
- Round 3 – Geelong, Vic – October 13
- Round 4 – Port Adelaide, SA – October 20
- Round 5 – Sydney, NSW (AUS-X Open) – November 10