Schmidt credited controversial main event victory following Crawford penalty.
Penrite Honda Racing’s Justin Brayton made it consecutive SX1 titles in the 2017 Australian Supercross Championship following a mud-soaked final round at Jimboomba X Stadium in Queensland.
And while the celebrations were clear for the American, it was a penalty for Nathan Crawford (Mega Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki) that saw another US import in Nick Schmidt (Wilson Coolair Motul Suzuki) take victory tonight.
Crawford crossed the line first in the 450 final, however an off-track excursion on the last lap was deemed to be an advantage and he was demoted two positions by race officials behind longtime leader Schmidt and DPH Motorsport Yamaha’s Kade Mosig prior to the delayed podium presentations in a controversial turn of events.
Earlier, drama struck at the beginning of the opening SX1 heat as number one plate-holder and points leader Brayton’s Penrite Honda wouldn’t fire, forcing him to revert to his back-up CRF450R. It was Todd Waters (Crankt Protein Honda Racing) who took control and went on to win by 23 seconds from Joel Wightman (Penrite CRF Honda Racing) and Crawford.
Mosig picked up the second SX1 heat race win, initially leading but enabling Dean Ferris (CDR Yamaha) to go past after an early error. Ferris then stalled and later crashed, which ultimately saw Mosig go on and win by 14.7s over Dan Reardon (Mega Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki), who bounced back from a first turn fall.
Third across the line was Schmidt, while Ferris – after claiming the quickest lap of the race in the latter stages – eventually crossed the finish in fourth position. That set up what would be the most challenging, but critical, main event of the year.
The 15-lap SX1 main event went down to the wire between Crawford and Schmidt, as Crawford crossed the line just 0.903s in front and it appeared the win was a fairytale send-off for Carroll Motorsports, however it’s understood a protest made by the factory Suzuki team resulted in the two-place penalty of local favourite Crawford.
That saw Mosig elevated to second, despite crossing the finish a full lap down in P3, and ahead of Crawford. Early leader Dan Reardon ((Mega Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki) dropped down the order after a number of mistakes before surging back to fourth.
However it was at the fifth-place finish of defending title-winner Brayton that saw him capture a second-consecutive premier class championship – albeit two laps down in truly challenging conditions and it was a fitting result after he dominated the opening three rounds of the season.
At the conclusion of the Jimboomba final, which was reduced by five laps because of the conditions, there were only nine riders who made it across the finish in the end. The final championship standings saw Brayton win ahead of Reardon and Ferris, who was sixth tonight.