Reflecting on the 2018 edition of the New Zealand event.
As the 2019 Monster Energy S-X Open Auckland looms this weekend, we take a look back at the inaugural edition of the New Zealand event from last year.
Following in the success of the Monster Energy AUS-X Open, the Auckland stop at Mt Smart Stadium was a popular hit from when it was announced in early August, with a host of high-profile internationals confirmed to make their way to the North Island. It also formed one of half of the inaugural Monster Energy S-X Open Supercross FIM Oceania Championship.
With live TV coverage locked in and thousands of spectators pouring through the gates, fickle New Zealand weather saw over 20mm dumped on the venue ahead of the night show.
The promoters and track crew scrambled to ensure the show went ahead, and water pumps were brought in to remove a huge pond from the start straight, and the bobcats worked overtime as the day’s racing format had to be changed multiple times to match the situation. Still, the show went on.
Australian legend Chad Reed put on a clinic as he swept the triple crown format in challenging conditions, securing victory, and the S-X Open Oceania crown, in front of a 20,000-strong crowd.
Reed’s trio of wins handed him the Oceania championship round two win from an ecstatic Hayden Mellross – riding an FC 350 on debut in the premier class – and a disappointed Dean Wilson, who experienced a clutch issue throughout the night show.
“My clutch was getting hot going into that final race, but if there’s someone who’s harder on clutches than me it’s Dean,” said Reed post-race. “I saw him on the starting line having issues with it before that final race, but you never really know what’s going to happen out there on the track.
“I told myself to take it easy, but Brayton was putting it on me, and we put in the best laps of the night in that final race. As an Australasian guy I’m really proud to win the first FIM Oceania Supercross Championship.”
Wilson finished two points shy of the title, with three-time Australian champion Justin Brayton a distant third after finishing fifth on the night. Another American in Christian Craig (Geico Honda) was fourth after winning Superpole earlier in the evening.
This weekend’s second instalment will also serve as round four of the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship, boosting the depth of field along with a strengthened SX2 category.
Chad Reed (Penrite Honda Mountain Motorsport Racing) and Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) will spearhead the international line-up alongside Joey Savatgy (JGRMX Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing). Ricky Carmichael and New Zealand legend Ben Townley will also be in attendance.