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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Justin Brayton and Dan Reardon
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Justin Brayton and Dan Reardon

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Justin Brayton
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Justin Brayton

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Gavin Faith
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Gavin Faith

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Jackson Richardson
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Jackson Richardson

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Dan Reardon
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Dan Reardon

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Wil Hahn and Kyle Peters
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Wil Hahn and Kyle Peters

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Geran Stapleton
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Geran Stapleton

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Hayden Mellross
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Hayden Mellross

The crowd was electrified as the flames rose from the start line and the gates dropped in the main event.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones

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.”

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Gavin Faith
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Gavin Faith
SX2 Final
  1. Gavin Faith
  2. Hayden Mellross +2.118
  3. Wade Hunter +12.960
  4. Jackson Richardson +18.705
  5. Geran Stapleton +22.366
  6. Josh Cachia +26.521
  7. Jimmy Decotis +34.954
  8. Lewis Woods +39.442
  9. Jordan Hill +43.002
  10. Joel Wightman +53.981
  11. Aaron Tanti +53.786
  12. Wade Kirkland +53.049
  13. 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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones

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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Dean Ferris
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Dean Ferris

Brayton went on to take the chequered flag just three-seconds ahead of Ferris.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Justin Brayton
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Justin Brayton

Reardon returned from midyear ACL surgery to attempt to defend championship, rounding out the podium after being hounded by Todd Waters in fourth. 

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Dan Reardon
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Dan Reardon

Hahn and Mosig put their green machines behind Waters, having their own in house team battle throughout the race.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Wil Hahn
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Wil Hahn

Former Champion and Australian legend Jay Marmont came out of retirement after a year off the professional scene to finish in 8th.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones - Jay Marmont
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones – Jay Marmont
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.

Australian Supercross 2016 - Round One- Image by Marc Jones
Australian Supercross 2016 – Round One- Image by Marc Jones

“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.

SX1 Final
  1. Justin Brayton
  2. Dean Ferris +3.612
  3. Daniel Reardon +11.866
  4. Todd Waters +12.218
  5. Wil Hahn +16.278
  6. Kade Mosig +19.885
  7. Luke Wilson +1 lap
  8. Jay Marmont +1 lap
  9. Jay Wilson +1 lap
  10. Adam Enticknap +2 laps
  11. Joel Newton +3 laps
  12. Barry Surawski +4 laps
  13. 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.