Australian Supercross Championships Round One – Jimboomba
Americans take first blood as Australian SX season 2016 gets underway in Queensland
Words and images by Marc Jones
Anticipation had been growing from the social media storm that the news of the American import riders had brung to Australian Supercross 2016. Some of the world’s best supercross riders taking on Australia’s best was enough bring in the fans to the Jimboomba track, the international rivalry brewing anticipation amongst the crowd.
Off-season team changes including the rebirth of Yarrive Konsky’s Penrite Honda squad now returning to the paddock and fielding a formidable international line-up spearheaded by former AMA Supercross factory rider Justin Brayton, last year’s Pro Lites Champion Jimmy Decotis, former Pro Lites Champion Gavin Faith, and crowd favourite Adam Enticknap.
Former Under 19’s Supercross champion and local rider Josh Cachia rounded out the star-sudded team. Faith and Cachia running under the Penrite Honda banner while Brayton, Enticknapp and Decotis are running Honda Genuine Racing signage.
Former AMA Lites Supercross champion Wil Hahn joined Kade Mosig at NPE Kawasaki, and was of course immediately considered a major threat.
Other noticeable returns included Hayden Mellross and Jackson Richardson returning from rides in USA.
Along with Mellross and Jackson, Last year’s Australian Pro Open Champion Dan Reardon and newly crowned motocross champion Dean Ferris were perhaps the best Australian hopes to try and keep the Americans honest.
With minimal time between the motocross and supercross seasons some teams were caught perhaps a little underprepared in practice, top contenders scattered down the charts, but this seemed to be enough for most to dial in the bikes for the night ahead. Gavin Faith bounced back from a poor practice session to take out qualifying in Pro Lites. Teammate Jimmy Decotis would follow close behind leaving Wade Hunter to be the fastest local.
A stacked Pro Open class lived up to the hype, with only 1 second separating the top 10 riders. Returning once again to Australia, Kyle Peters put down the fastest lap followed by Justin Brayton. Dan Reardon was the best of the locals, leaving fans wanting more after an exhilarating qualifying session.
Heat racing was definitely heated; Faith and Cachia battled it down to the wire in the opening race. ‘White Lightning’ privateer Geran Stapleton turned heads returning from injury with minimal support for the series, and choosing to run white/black plastics on an otherwise unrecognisable Honda.
Heat two featured great racing between Mellross and Richardson, with Decotis struggling after a poor start and working his way around the traffic. Mellross held on to to take the win and showed that his riding time in the USA with motocross icon Tim Ferry has payed off.
The crowd was electrified as the flames rose from the start line and the gates dropped in the main event.
Like any race a clean start is key and Faith found his way to the front early to pick up where he left off in 2014. Slick conditions meant race incidents were a plenty, causing a series of yellow safety flags throughout the final.
Mellross continued on from his impressive heat race win and kept Faith honest, looking to make passes, as the race would draw to a close. Many valiant efforts by the young Australian were not enough to make the pass, leaving Faith to light the candles and take home the red plate.
Behind Mellross was teammates Wade Hunter and Jackson Richardson, claiming vital points in the short series. Privateer Geran Stapleton turned heads, showing he’s a genuine threat for the series, and showed teams and sponsors what they may have missed out on. Cachia finished just outside of the top five, finding his feet once again after a hiatus from Supercross.
The talking point out of the race was Jimmy Decotis, who once again struggled to get the start he needed to set the pace in the final. Last year Decotis battled through traffic each round to almost most seal an undefeated year, but just didn’t seem to have the same sprinting pace he displayed in 2015.
The top 12 all finished on the same lap as race winner Faith, with the American victor also carding the fastest lap of the race, a 50.745, Mellross’ best was half-a-second slower with a 51.239 registered as the Yamaha rider’s fastest lap in the main.
Gavin Faith on the win….
“It feels great to take the win. I pretty much had a perfect day being the fastest in qualifying, and then winning my heat race and transferring it to the main. It’s awesome to be back on the 250, I feel really comfortable on the bike, and the whole Penrite Honda team has been putting in the work. I can’t thank them enough. It’s been awesome and a great way to start the championship.”
- Gavin Faith
- Hayden Mellross +2.118
- Wade Hunter +12.960
- Jackson Richardson +18.705
- Geran Stapleton +22.366
- Josh Cachia +26.521
- Jimmy Decotis +34.954
- Lewis Woods +39.442
- Jordan Hill +43.002
- Joel Wightman +53.981
- Aaron Tanti +53.786
- Wade Kirkland +53.049
- Connor Tierney +1 lap
SX1 Pro Open
The night’s final event put the best Pro Open riders to the test, and questions were answered as the USA vs Australia debate came to blows.
It was import Justin Brayton that showed class and resilience to take the lead early and lay down 20 solid laps to take the chequered flag. Ferris kept Brayton on his toes as the track became slick, leaving riders on the cautious side.
There was no backing down for the leaders though, with lap traffic becoming an issue mid race. At times it seemed Ferris was setting up a pass, but the experience of Brayton kept him on two wheels, showing why he’s been a firm choice as a factory rider in the USA for the last few years.
Brayton went on to take the chequered flag just three-seconds ahead of Ferris.
Reardon returned from midyear ACL surgery to attempt to defend championship, rounding out the podium after being hounded by Todd Waters in fourth.
Hahn and Mosig put their green machines behind Waters, having their own in house team battle throughout the race.
Former Champion and Australian legend Jay Marmont came out of retirement after a year off the professional scene to finish in 8th.
Justin Brayton on the win….
“I felt good tonight, especially with the timeframe we’ve had to deal with. I’ve only ridden the Honda for a week, but I’m just thankful for American, Genuine Honda and Australian Honda for making this all happen, and in all just a short time. This win definitely makes it worth it.
“There was definitely a lot of pressure on me tonight. Ferris rode really good too. I felt like there was a cap on the track on how hard you could ride, and I definitely went over that cap a few times tonight. I made a few mistakes, but as we all did. We all dealt with the same conditions. It was really fun though and great to come away with the win. I’m excited to get back to work and hopefully keep winning races.”
Only six riders finished the race on the same lap as the American victor. Brayton also registered the fastest lap in the main, his 48.987 underlined his superiority over the field. Ferris’ fastest lap was 50.583 while third placed Reardon actually carded a lap fractionally quicker that Ferris, a 50.560.
- Justin Brayton
- Dean Ferris +3.612
- Daniel Reardon +11.866
- Todd Waters +12.218
- Wil Hahn +16.278
- Kade Mosig +19.885
- Luke Wilson +1 lap
- Jay Marmont +1 lap
- Jay Wilson +1 lap
- Adam Enticknap +2 laps
- Joel Newton +3 laps
- Barry Surawski +4 laps
- Boyd Hocking + 5 laps
The series remains in Queensland and moves to Toowoomba on October 14. Given the short break just experienced between the motocross series finale and the supercross season opener, this few weeks will be crucial for teams to test their equipment and dial in the bikes for the rest of the series.