Features 2 Dec 2015

Hit and Miss: 2015 AUS-X Open

Highs and lows from the Australian Open of Supercross.

MotoOnline.com.au pulls out the microscope and takes a closer look at some of the talking points that made the AUS-X Open at Sydney’s Allphones Arena one hell of a weekend to remember.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Hit

Ricky Carmichael:
No two ways about it, The GOAT, Ricky Carmichael, won himself a legion of Australian fans over the weekend. From taking plenty of time to sign autographs and pose for selfies, right through to his spectacular whips and his head-to-head races with his former rival Chad Reed, RC went above and beyond his obligations all weekend and a smile was never far off his face. RC brought his Australian flights forward (already coming out for RCU) in order to make it in time for the AUS-X Open and the impact that his presence had, both on the track and in the pits was massive.

Yamaha:
Yamaha will be pinching themselves to make sure they aren’t dreaming after a completely dominant showing by the brand in the SX1 class. In Saturday’s main event six of the top seven finishers were aboard YZ450Fs (the only dash of a different colour was Honda rider Gavin Faith’s impressive second place). Backing up that dominant showing, Yamaha riders claimed the top six positions in Sunday’s SX1 main. That’s 11 of the 12 top positions belonging to the blue brigade over the two nights of racing!

Jimmy Decotis:
Penrite Honda Racing’s US import Jimmy Decotis proved yet again why he’s the SX2 red plate holder with a brutal, overbearing performance all weekend. Regardless of whether he had to come through the pack or lead from the gate-drop, Jimmy D was simply on another level and left the rest of the Lites field fighting for the scraps. His lap times would’ve been good enough to run with the top five SX1 racers, which gives you some indication of how wide he was holding it.

The promoters:
We’re starting to run out of superlatives for how good a job the AME Management crew did. For a first-ever attempt at running a high-profile supercross, the polished performance and organisation of both nights was just stunning. Everything ran like clockwork, the extra additions such as the fly-by lane, the steel finish-line up-ramp, the FMX Best Trick contest and the head-to-head RC vs. Reed battle all took the event to a whole new level. The team spearheaded by Ryan Sanderson and Adam Bailey proved many critics wrong and not only did they turn around a dire situation (with the James Stewart debacle) around, but the event was actually much better for it. We’re already hanging out for the 2016 edition.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Miss

Injuries:
Supercross always thins the herd as a championship progresses but no-one anticipated the sheer number of casualties that Sydney would produce. Adam Monea (wrist), Gavin Faith (multiple injuries), Matt Moss (thigh), Luke Styke (Achilles tendon) were all high-profile SX1 non-finishers, while Luke Clout (concussion), Dylan Wills (shoulder), Wade Hunter (foot), Luke Wilson (wrist) and Jed Beaton (concussion) were ruled out of proceedings in the SX2 class. A number of these guys will be back for Melbourne next weekend, but Sunday’s gates for the heats, semis and LCQs were very lean. Interestingly, the FMX Best Trick contest, which is notorious for resulting in 000 calls, saw all riders walk away uninjured.

People who sold their tickets:
If you’re one of the poor buggers who sold your tickets when James Stewart pulled out, we really do feel for you because you missed out on witnessing Australian racing history. It’s not often the withdrawal of such a high-profile racer actually makes an event stronger, but that’s precisely what happened when Ricky Carmichael and Cooper Webb were flown in last-minute to bolster the star-power of the SX1 class. To see Dan Reardon, Chad Reed and Webb go hammer-and-tongs all weekend was something no-one will forget any time soon.

MA fining Robbie Marshall:
Midway through Saturday night’s SX1 main event, freestyle rider and talented racer Robbie Marshall had the crowd in fits when he threw a backflip over the 65ft finish-line jump, followed by a lazy-boy the next time round. While Marshall won over a shedload of fans with his antics, Motorcycling Australia were less than amused and handed the Queenslander a $600 fine for his efforts. We’ve heard that the promoters actually paid the fine out of their own wallets, seeing as the viral reaction and attention Marshall’s tricks received was well worth the price of the fine. As a bit of a one-finger salute to the officials, Robbie again spun a flip at the end of Sunday night’s main.

Matt Moss:
Team Motul Suzuki’s defending champion bowed out of contention of a third-straight supercross title on Saturday night when he washed the front-end twice in different corners in the main event. Although the second crash seemed innocuous, Mossy corked his thigh hard and was forced to retire from the race as a result. Moss’s shocker has now all but given Dan Reardon the 2015 championship as the CDR Yamaha rider finished a hard-fought third place. Dan is now 31 points clear of his teammate Kade Mosig, who still has a mathematical chance of taking the title next weekend. The odds though are heavily stacked in Reardon’s favour.

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