Dean Ferris dominates Avalon ASX | Faith SX2 race winner
Words & Images: Marc Jones
The Australian Supercross headed south to the Victorian motorsport mecca of Avalon after a nine-year hiatus from the venue. Hitting the pointy end of the series, riders were keen to gain maximum points heading into the double header indoor round at Aus-X Open.
Gavin Faith knew he had to redeem points after a DNF earlier in the season and started off the day perfectly qualifying first ahead of teammate Luke Clout. Former Under 19’s champion Kale Makeham found the form of old to take the third spot and look at setting up his night as best as possible.
Unfortunately for Makeham his advantage for qualifying was squandered early, going down after colliding with series contender Jackson Richardson, sending them both to the LCQ.
Out front, Kyle Webster charged out to over a ten bike length lead after four corners and never looked back after that.
Wade Hunter laid on a chase but couldn’t reel in Webster, as Faith battled with Hunter to secure the second spot. It was Hunter that would get to the line first, as he looked to continue his fine form this series.
Heat 2 was another case of catch-me-if-you-can, Dylan Wills this time taking the holeshot and charging to an early lead. Aaron Tanti was his closest competitor early, looking impressive in the second spot ahead of KTM privateer Lewis Woods.
Hayden Mellross showed why he was the red plate holder, coming back from a terrible start to pick off riders, falling just 1 second short of catching Wills who would take the chequered flag.
The LCQ featured title hope Jackson Richardson, Kale Makeham and Nathan Crawford against a handful for hungry privateers for the final four spots in the final. Makeham and Richardson took the early lead and raced away from Mitch Norris in third.
Behind them James Brown found himself battling with Nathan Crawford for the final transfer spot. Brown looked poised and calm, riding a wide bike and keeping Crawford at bay.
In a long rhythm section, Crawford looked to make the pass and found his bike landing on Browns back, sending Crawford to the ground and Brown running away to secure a final transfer spot.
An impressive ride for the Victorian privateer, who’s now qualified for every final this year.
Everyone loves an action packed race, but no one likes to see riders down. As the gates dropped in the MX2 final, three notable riders wouldn’t make it over the line on lap one.
Luke Clout, Josh Cachia, and Wade Hunter went down hard; Hunter left grasping his leg after being landed on by Connor Tierney and having to be carried off the track.
No luck then later in the race for Tierney, going over the bars and stretchered off the track in a neck brace and in a bad way. Incidents aside, Gavin Faith took the lead early and showed why he is a two-time champion. Dylan Wills had another impressive start to back up his heat race win and sat behind Jackson Richardson in third for most of the race.
Hayden Mellross again found himself battling through the back but looked comfortable and made the most of the 15 laps, riding a smart race and not pushing the limits on the rough and slippery track. Richardson kept Faith honest the entire race, keeping him in his sights throughout. However, the American Faith would hold on to light the candles in his ‘home race’ on Australian soil.
Gavin Faith – MX2 – P1
“I learnt a little bit in the heat race, I was too patient and ended up third in that. I knew the first few laps in the main event were going to be crucial to get out front early so I made and aggressive past and focused on my drive through the whoops and got into the lead. I just tried putting down some solid and consistent laps. The track was really tricky tonight, but we got it done. I got to give it up to my team for putting in the effort through the week to make some improvements and get me on the top step.”
Richardson was just two seconds behind, and Mellross a further four. The win for Faith leaves him with a glimmer of hope for the title, the result more significant for Richardson, pinching two points back of series leader Mellross.
Jackson Richardson – MX2 – P2
“I had a bit of an up and down day and went down in my heat and had to come through the LCQ so I didn’t have the best gate pick. The gate I actually had was pretty good and I got great jump out and I ended up out front and led a few laps before Gav (Faith) got past me. I started to pump up a little bit but near the end of the race caught a second wind put on a charge. Just happy to come away with second after day I had.”
After taking the opening three race wins, Justin Brayton looked at making it four from four and started the day out in winning fashion, securing a heat win. The American took the holeshot and seemed to be unstoppable as defending champion Dan Reardon and teammate Dean Ferris gave it their all to keep him in check.
Brayton put a five-second gap on Reardon, leaving him to battle with Ferris. The two rode a smart race knowing they’d both make the main, but Ferris didn’t let Reardon have it his way, pushing him the whole race to not make a mistake.
Another American would take the win in heat two, this time Wil Hahn proved too good for the field. He didn’t have it his own way with Jay Marmont finding the form of his prime to keep Hahn honest.
Jesse Dobson put in an excellent performance to finish behind Marmont, after recovering from an epic crash in practice where he would launch off a berm onto the flat ground after attempting to quad into the corner. Kade Mosig pressured Dobson for the third position but ran out of time to make the pass.
The night’s events built immense anticipation in the crowd, and you could sense that no one was going to leave anything on the table in the main event. As the gates dropped, Dan Reardon took the holeshot, ahead of Justin Brayton.
However, in amongst the tight pack, Brayton would get knocked over, taking out teammate Adam Enticknapp and left to start the race from last.
Out front, Reardon put together a solid race on the technical track. Pressure would mount from his stable mate Dean Ferris mid-race, and eventually see him forfeit the lead. The Yamaha pair put on a show, giving the crowd something to keep their eyes on.
Wil Hahn was a lonely third after making the pass on out-of-retirement Jay Marmont. Justin Brayton slowly moved past riders in an attempt to salvage points in the series. The red plate holder managed to pass twelve riders and finish in fourth after passing Marmont in the closing laps.
It was Dean Ferris out front, making the race his own and lighting the candles to take his first ever race win, in the same week it was announced he would be on a motocross only contract for next year.
Dean Ferris – MX1 – P1
“I was stoked with tonight, we got my starts dialed. It was only my teammate that beat me to the first turn. We were in a prime position and I could see we were pulling away and Dan was riding strong. I knew it was going to be a long main and I knew I was really fit, and I just waited and jumped on the opportunity. The pass I put on Dan gave me a two second gap straight away. I knew I could keep pushing my lap times the whole race, I’ve been training hard. The last few rounds I’ve been a little bit unsettled, going the MX of Nations, feeling jetlagged, getting sick, and I kind of feel the last couple of weeks I’ve been back on my program. I knew I was going to be strong tonight and I knew I just had to get a good start. There wasn’t much difference in the lap times as you saw in qualifying and the heat races. Big shoutout to the team, I bent my race bike up backwards in practice and worked hard to get it ready for my heat race. I’m stoked, feels good to get a win in Supercross.”
It was a valiant effort by Reardon to match the pace of Ferris and finish second, leaving Hahn in third nearly twelve seconds off the pace.
Dan Reardon – MX1 – P2
“I feel good, we are just working through these 20’s (laps), and they’re getting stronger. The track, the nature it is, I was probably riding a little bit too conservative at a point and unfortunately we make little mistakes when we try to save energy. This track was tough tonight, if anyone’s going to beat me it might as well be my teammate, he rode awesome. Especially for a guy that mainly rides motocross, he proved tonight that he could do this. The track was tough and I’m still happy, I’m on the box with second place. I’m happy.”
Wil Hahn – MX1 – P3
“Tonight was a heavy game of chess, once they got that gap I think the harder you tried out here, it just worked against you. It was a pretty tricky track, I’m honestly happy to get out of here; the tracks in bad shape right now. I tried to make moves forward but those guys rode solid and you have to hope for a mistake, but they were just too solid.”
Jay Marmont finished fifth once again in his comeback year after battling it out front early in the race. He would finish over twenty seconds ahead of Dobson and Mosig, who is yet to fire in this year’s series.
The win for Ferris leaves him eleven points behind Brayton with the double-header in Sydney to go. With the inclusion of Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto and Copper Webb in the mix and only a ten-man final at Sydney, anything could happen in such a close series.
SX2 Race Results
Jackson RICHARDSON +02.609
Hayden MELLROSS +06.344
Dylan WILLS +17.064
Wilson TODD +19.457
Joel WIGHTMAN +28.333
Kyle WEBSTER +34.689
Aaron TANTI +38.164
Jesse MADDEN +41.666
Taylor POTTER +50.247
Lewis WOODS +53.034
Tomas RAVENHORST +55.557
Jordan HILL +01:02.295
James BROWN +1 lap
Kale MAKEHAM +1 lap
Mitchell NORRIS +2 laps
DNF. Connor TIERNEY
DNF. Joshua CACHIA
DNF. Wade HUNTER
DNF. Luke CLOUT
Hayden MELLROSS 89 Points
Jackson RICHARDSON 81 Points
Gavin FAITH 72 Points
Wade HUNTER 58 Points
Dylan WILLS 53 Points
Joel WIGHTMAN 53 Points
Wilson TODD 47 Points
Jordan HILL 42 Points
Aaron TANTI 39 Points
Kyle WEBSTER 37 Points
Tomas RAVENHORST 37 Points
Geran STAPLETON 36 Points
Lewis WOODS 34 Points
Joshua CACHIA 27 Points
Nathan CRAWFORD 23 Points
Jesse MADDEN 22 Points
Connor TIERNEY 19 Points
James BROWN 15 Points
Jimmy DECOTIS 14 Points
Taylor POTTER 11 Points
SX1 Race Results
Daniel REARDON +03.984
Wil HAHN +11.994
Justin BRAYTON +23.959
Jay MARMONT +27.751
Jesse DOBSON +50.945
Kade MOSIG +53.732
Cheyne BOYD +01:00.446
Lawson BOPPING +1 lap
Jay WILSON +1 lap
Adam ENTICKNAP +1 lap
Chris ALLDREDGE +2 laps
Chris CAMILLERI +2 laps
Joel NEWTON +2 laps
Boyd HOCKING +3 laps
James ALEN +4 laps
DNF. Kyle PETERS
DNS. Luke WILSON
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