Features 5 Nov 2015

Top 10: AUS SX halfway storylines

Talking points of the Australian Supercross season so far.

With the Australian Supercross Championship hitting the halfway mark, MotoOnline.com.au takes a look at some of the biggest talking points and storylines to emerge from what has already been a fascinating title fight.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

1. Reardon vs Moss:
It goes without saying that the biggest storyline has been the fierce rivalry between the defending champion Matt Moss and his nemesis, CDR Yamaha’s Dan Reardon. The beef between the two hits raw nerves at both a personal and professional level and sparks have flown at both the Jimboomba and Wayville rounds as a result. With Reardon in the driver’s seat of the championship and the Suzuki factory team shutting shop at the end of the season, Mossy is as motivated as we’ve ever seen him. For race fans all the ingredients for a fascinating climax are in the bowl and have started to be churned.

2. The AUS-X Open:
Without taking anything away from the other promoters who’ve done a bang-up job of hosting their rounds of the series s far, the Aus-X Open at Sydney’s Allphones Arena is by far the most anticipated installment of the championship. It seems hardly a week goes by without some big announcement coming out of the AME Management camp and there’re more to come very soon. Only one of the two nights will count towards championship points, but to have James Stewart, Chad Reed, all of Australia’s top racers, plus the world’s best freestyle motocross riders under one roof is going to make for an incredible weekend.

3. Jimmy ‘Dedomination’:
The 11th-hour call-up of US racer Jimmy Decotis by Penrite Honda Racing has proved to be a masterstroke, with the Massachusetts native ripping the SX2 class to pieces. With three convincing wins from three mixed starts, Decotis has effectively painted a huge bulls-eye on the back of his jersey and given the rest of the field someone to chase down. Luke Clout and Jackson Richardson have both shown that they can run the pace of the Yank, but it’s one thing to hold the same pace and it’s another to be faster and pass him.

4. The return of Brett Metcalfe:
The Wayville round of the series on Saturday night signalled a special one-off homecoming for South Australian Brett Metcalfe. It was the first time in years that Metty had had the opportunity to race supercross in front of his home fans and he sent the South Aussies into fits as he made a frantic late charge through the pack to pass Matt Moss and finish second to series leader Dan Reardon. On top of that, it was the first podium result for Husqvarna’s 2016 range, giving both Metty and the manufacturer something to smile about.

5. Inconsistent results and livestreaming:
The concept of having different promoters work on their own specific events that all accumulate championship points is fantastic in theory, but in practice it has revealed a number of discrepancies and shortcomings, particularly around collecting results and opportunities for NRGTV livestreaming. So far we’ve seen three different timing systems used over three rounds, meaning any series points accumulation has been a nightmare to figure out. On top of that, the livestreaming showed practice and qualifying at Bathurst, the entire show at Jimboomba, but wasn’t available for Wayville. As for the remaining rounds of the season, it’s effectively a matter of waiting and seeing…

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

6. Jimboomba x 2:
After initially being scheduled for Coolum, Queensland promoter Scott Bannan has opted to scrap the Sunny Coast round and focus on having two rounds at Jimboomba, just south of Brisbane. After putting on an incredible event for round two on a demanding track that tested the riders to the limit, Bannan will completely redesign the track and again host a polished night performance for ‘J2’. The move isn’t silly, as southeast Queensland is full to the brim with moto fans who will relish the opportunity to witness a second round of the Moss vs Reardon scrap, and the return will almost have an Anaheim 2 feel to it.

7. Gibbs out:
After realising his dream of becoming the best motocross racer in Australia, KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Kirk Gibbs’ blazing 2016 had a wet blanket thrown over it a week ago when he crashed while practicing and suffered a couple of breaks to his hip. Over the first two rounds at Bathurst and Jimboomba, Gibbs posted consistent 4-5 results in the SX1 main, proving he’s got the stadium skills to back up his outdoor pace. The likeable South Australian was gutted to miss his home round at Adelaide as he sits out the rest of the championship to rehabilitate and return to defend his MX Nationals crown next year.

8. Bathurst blowout:
The first round of the championship at Bathurst was a much anticipated affair; not only was it the first litmus test of the new promoter format, but it was held alongside the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercars race. While a solid crowd turned out on a showery night, there were a substantial number of disgruntled fans who claimed they couldn’t see the action because of the flat location of the track. Compounding the unhappiness was the night schedule blowing out and a number of families having to leave before the main events began at around 10:30pm. The racing however was first-rate.

9. Taylor Potter’s shockers:
Many people – us included – expected Honda rider Taylor Potter to be a shining light this year. After several years of racing supercross in the States and snagging a breakthrough race win at Brisbane in 2015, eyes were on Potter to see if he could go all the way. So far the Victorian has failed to fire much of a shot, but not through a matter of trying. A 13th in the SX2 main at Bathurst was followed by a seventh at the US replica track of Jimboomba. Saturday night saw his promising night end in a DNF when he was landed on by another rider in the second turn, snapping his bars. It’s a record he’s not happy with and will be hoping to turn around during the German Supercross Championship that he’s just jetted out for. He’ll return for the final round in Melbourne.

10. Rise of the SX2 privateers:
2015 has seen a number of privateer riders come through with the goods and none moreso than Queenslander Wade Hunter, who picked up a ride with DPH Peter Stevens Yamaha after his seventh place finish at Bathurst. Hunter rewarded the team instantly with a podium result at Jimboomba and finished eighth at Wayville. Other SX2 privateers who have stood out so far include Dylan Wills (fourth at Wayville), Joel Wightman (sixth at Wayville) and Lewis Woods (sixth at Bathurst), among others.