Features 20 Oct 2016

Rewind: Inaugural AUS-X Open

Taking a look back at the Sydney supercross spectacular.

The inaugural 2015 AUS-X Open event was something else. It was one of those events that had riders, fans, industry and media buzzing throughout the event and for quite some time following the event. The good news is we’re seeing it return for 2016 inside the Qudos Bank Arena (formerly know as Allphones Arena) on 12-13 November. Let’s rewind and take a look back at what made the event so special and so successful in its first year running.

The vibe and atmosphere around the pits was second to none, the amount of fans, teams and brand activations present was thoroughly impressive. At any point in time you could hear live music playing at the Monster Energy activation, watch riders throwing down backflips at the freestyle motocross show or happen to bump into Ricky Carmichael as he made his way around the arena. What more could you ask for?

The two-day event attracted a tonne of spectators and inside Allphones Arena on Saturday night, barely a spare seat could be seen, it was a full house. The tight circuit featured a metal take off ramp for the rather large finish line jump, this allowed riders to throw down some impressive whips for the fans. That wasn’t all when it came to the track either as it actually went underneath the stands through a tunnel and back out into a fast whoop section. Not to mention to addition of the fly-by lane allowing riders to miss the finish line jump just once during their race to gain positions.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Being such a tight arena, the 2015 AUS-X Open circuit was very well thought out and provided some absolutely awesome racing. The addition of the metal ramp, fly-by lane and the tunnel section really spiced things up and gave fans a whole lot more to be excited about. When it came to the actual racing, just like the pit party, it certainly didn’t disappoint. When it comes down to it, many would say the racing exceeded their expectations on both nights – the amount of bar-to-bar action was incredible.

Speaking of bar-to-bar action, there was a whole lot of it during the exhibition races between two legends of the sport, Chad Reed and The GOAT Ricky Carmichael. These two races, one on each night, were won by Reedy, but they were both super close with the now retired Carmichael showing he still has a tonne of raw speed in his back pocket. Seeing two true icons of the sport out in Sydney battling it out in front of a packed house, you couldn’t beat it – what an experience.

The addition of Carmichael to the event didn’t just mean he was out there for an exhibition race and that was that. He was amongst the fans, signing autographs and truly giving his time to every single person that approached him. RC spent all night down on the track floor in his gear cheering on riders and offering his advice when it came to necessary track changes and touch ups. Oh, and he also qualified fourth faster in SX1 on Sunday, just for a bit of fun!

In the SX2 category American import Jimmy Decotis reigned supreme on both nights. He did receive pressure from Australia’s Luke Clout on the Saturday night, but he eventually fell and found himself out of the running during Sunday’s event. Decotis was on fire inside Allphones Arena and it was very impressive to see him nail the most technical section on the circuit perfectly every single lap aboard the smaller 250cc machine.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

The racing in the SX1 category was some of the best we’ve seen in years, it’s a tough call to make, but it may have even been the best in years. Saturday night saw our very own Chad Reed claim victory to the crowd’s delight, he was looking super fast and comfortable aboard his new Yamaha YZ450F. During the weekend Reed was the fastest rider on track both Saturday and Sunday, with his fastest lap of the weekend coming on the final night – it was remarkable to see just how good the guy is.

Sunday nights racing was pushed to the next level in SX1. If you were lucky enough to witness that main event, then you really did see some of the best racing in recent Australian supercross history. It was an exhilarating four-way battle between Dan Reardon, Chad Reed, Cooper Webb and Lawson Bopping. When Reardon went down following the finish line jump, claiming Reed in the process, the crowd went insane. Eventually it was Webb who barely claimed victory over Reed at the finish line to wrap up what was an incredible weekend of racing.

Aside from the incredible racing, we also saw some huge tricks thrown down in the freestyle motocross best trick portion of the event. Australia’s Jackson Strong unleashed two front flips (one with a slight variation) during the two-day event and walked home with a huge $40,000 in his pocket. Earning that kind of money for two nights work isn’t too bad at all and you can bet your bottom dollar each and every rider will be stepping it up this year to try and do the same.

As a whole the 2015 AUS-X Open event just worked. But in order for it to work there’s a whole lot of tiny details that must be perfected, the lighting, the commentary, the schedule, there’s just so much that goes into creating an awesome event like this. Here at MotoOnline.com.au we are super excited to head to the 2016 edition and we’ll be sure to keep a huge amount of content flowing through the website and our social media channels during the weekend!