American class-act on claiming back-to-back Australian SX1 championships.
Penrite Honda Racing’s Justin Brayton was no doubt the class of the 2017 Australian Supercross Championship once again this season, clinching the title with a conservative fifth-place finish at Jimboomba X Stadium’s rain-affected finals after opening the season with three-straight main event victories. MotoOnline.com.au was there to speak to the US import post-race about his night and what’s to come in terms of his career down under.
First off, congratulations.
Thank you, appreciate it.
You successfully defended your SX1 title here in Australia. It was quite a tough one tonight, but talk me through what it was like going into that main event…
Yeah, it was crazy. I mean, I’ve been racing a long time and that’s the craziest race I’ve ever been a part of as far as track conditions. It was super, super slick and, for me, I was really just managing the championship from the time I woke up this morning with it just pouring down rain pretty much all day. I had an 18-point lead and obviously didn’t want anything to jeopardise that, then with having a malfunction with my bike in the heat race, the stress was pretty high. So, to come away with it and be two-time Australian supercross champion is awesome, my time here in Australia has been just amazing, so a massive thank you to Honda, to Penrite and everyone who makes this possible.
Like you said, in that heat race when the bike didn’t go, did that rattle you a little bit?
For sure, it rattled me. That’s kinda worse case scenario if something happens where you can’t make the final and don’t even have a chance to win it. I mean, 18 points is a lot, but when you really think about it, if something major happens and you’re not even in the final, it can be pretty devastating. I’m happy to get it done and, like I said, a massive thanks to everybody who has been a part of it. My family, it’s a lot to come over here, so my wife definitely puts up with a lot and now that we have two kids, just a huge thank you to her. It’s awesome and I’m happy to get it done.
In the main you said you went into championship mode, but how did you manage that with the field all over the place?
Honestly, I didn’t really know where I was at. I wasn’t really pushing hard at all, wasn’t really jumping anything and I knew that I just really needed to finish, that wherever I finished I would still be in position to win the championship. I just needed to click off the laps, I crashed in the whoops and my bike was smoking, I knew it was losing fluid, but just a lot of things going on. Thankfully the day’s over and it is a little bit of a bummer to go out like this because I had such a good season going in winning the first three, then AUS-X didn’t go great, so I was hoping to go out on top. Unfortunately the conditions put me into survival mode for the championship, but it is what it is, I played it smart and hope to come back next year.
How does this championship compare to last year’s?
This one was just so much different. I had a lot of time to prepare, so I came in really, really confident and prepared. Last year I wasn’t, but it seemed everything was kind of clicking, so I would say that this year there was more pressure to get it done, just for the pure fact that I was more prepared and also because it’s always harder to defend a title than win the first one. Once you do it once, you’re obviously expected to do it again and again, but I like that type of pressure, it’s what I come here for and I want to win. This one feels a little bit better.
You mentioned that you’re hoping to come back next year and, I guess, add a third crown.
Yeah, we’ll see. I would like to, as we sit here right now, and I feel like I want to continue to race. Obviously I’m going back to the States, so we will see how that season goes and kind of reassess halfway or three-quarters of the way through AMA Supercross, but as of right now I’d love to come back.
Awesome, well thank you and hopefully we see you back here in Australia. Well done.
And also I wanted to say, thank you to everyone in Australia for welcoming me with open arms, because it’s been cool to get to know all the riders, teams and fans. We love it, my wife absolutely loves it, so we’re happy to be here and after racing it’s even somewhere that we will come in the future. A massive thanks to everyone for welcoming us here.