Features 30 Apr 2015

Q&A: The AUS-X Open

What we know about Sydney's 2015 supercross spectacular.

When news broke a couple of weeks ago of the AUS-X Open being held in Sydney at the end of November, the industry sat up and took notice. More exciting details have been announced in the days since, including the revelation that two of the world’s biggest names in racing are locked in to attend. While it’s still early days, excitement and anticipation is quickly escalating and people are hungry for more information. Read on as MotoOnline.com.au sheds some insight on some big questions surrounding the event.

Image: Simon Cudby.

Image: Simon Cudby.

Q: What’s this AUS-X Open event that’s dominating my social media feeds?

A: The AUS-X Open is a large moto event being planned to be held inside the Allphones Arena in Sydney on 28 November. As well as supercross racing, there’ll be an FMX Best Trick contest. According to the promoters, the AUS-X Open is inspired by the old US Open of Supercross, Bercy Supercross and the Monster Cup. With the Best Trick contest disappearing from the X Games two years ago, they also saw a huge opportunity to jump into the gap and reintroduce the comp that’s been largely responsible for rapid progression of FMX over the years.

Q: Is it true that both Chad Reed and James Stewart are racing?

A: Yes! The promoters, AME Management, announced last week that two of the biggest names in supercross and long-time rivals, Chad Reed and James Stewart, have signed up to race the historic event. It’ll be the first time ever that Stewart has made a trip down under, although he had signed up to race the 2009 Brisbane Super X but pulled out at the 11th hour with illness. Considering they’re both inching toward the latter stages of their incredible careers, this could be a once in a lifetime match-up in Australia.

Q: How did the promoters manage to lock in two of the biggest names in supercross?

A: AME Management’s Adam Bailey has had a good relationship with Chad Reed for years and the two parties actually worked closely to find a date that suited Reedy to come out to race. As for Stewart, Bailey met his manager at a barbecue in the US last year and sounded him out about potentially coming out for the event. The wheels were put in motion and soon Stewart was also locked in. At the same time AME Management has brought on Eric Peronnard as an international advisor; Peronnard created the US Open of Supercross and ran it for 12 years before selling it to Feld. It goes without saying that having his experience and contacts book at their disposal has been huge help!

Q: Can our domestic Australian racers challenge Reed and Stewart?

A: Potentially. Absolutely anything is possible when you put Australia’s best racers against the two global powerhouses on a tight arenacross-style circuit. The stop-start nature of the indoor supercross tracks in Australia is going to be foreign to Reedy (who last raced in Allphones Arena back in 2002) and Stewart, while playing into the hands of our homegrown racers. There’s a limited amount of real estate on indoor arena tracks and if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you can quickly find yourself having to muscle your way from the back of the pack.

Source: Suzuki Racing.

Source: Suzuki Racing.

Q: We’re still a long way out from November. Can we expect any more big announcements?

A: Definitely. Adam Bailey has told us they’re working on some exciting, innovative track features and “a bunch of cool stuff that’s likely to get off the ground”. The FMX Best Trick line-up is still to be announced and is likely to feature the world’s biggest names in freestyle. As for further supercross names, there will most likely be some more announcements. The news of both Stewart and Reed racing has attracted huge international interest from overseas riders, but there’s a lot of logistical work to be done to lock in further riders.

Q: How much are tickets and when do they go on sale?

A: Tickets start at $40 and go up to $149 for VIP seating. They officially go on sale on Monday. Word is we’ll see some national news exposure and a rad video promo trailer launched on the same day to coincide with the tickets going on sale.

Q: When was the last time supercross was held in the Homebush-based arena?

A: 2005 at the SX Masters. Yep, it’s been 10 long years since the inside of Allphones Arena has echoed with the sounds of dirt bikes. At the same time, a high-level FMX Best Trick contest has never been held in the southern hemisphere. Sydney is in for a real treat.

Q: Is the AUS-X a standalone event or part of a championship?

A: The Sydney event is scheduled to be round five of the six-round Australian Supercross Championship. This year MA has awarded four different promoters with rounds who will promote and run their own standalone events. AME will run the Sydney round and Yarrive Konsky’s Full Throttle Sports will promote round one at Bathurst and round six at Knights Stadium (Melbourne). Scott Bannan will organise rounds two (Jimboomba) and four (TBA) in Queensland, while Mark Gilbert will promote round three at Wayville, South Australia.