Features 3 Dec 2019

Debrief: Justin Brayton

AUS Supercross champion recalls victory at AUS-X Open Melbourne.

It was an incredible weekend at the 2019 Monster Energy AUS-X Open Melbourne for Justin Brayton, the Penrite Honda Racing rider securing his first-ever win at the event while on his way to an astonishing fourth-straight Australian Supercross Championship!

Image: Foremost Media.

Congratulations on an awesome result – when it counted, you got it done…

Yeah, this one feels by far the best, just because of how close it was this last round. Clouty has been riding really good, but I’ve just been so focused these past two weeks. I’m kind of speechless to be honest with how I felt the past couple of weeks and with how focused I’ve been. I’m honestly so sick of talking about it with people, interviews, family and friends – I kept saying yesterday I’m sick of talking about it – I just wanted to do it, talk is cheap. I was focused and knew I could do it, but you just never know with the three-race format. I knew if I could get three clean starts I could win – that’s pretty much what I did. I’m so stoked to get this fourth one – one is not easy, let alone four. It’s not easy, but I’m stoked.

The track tonight – Marvel Stadium is obviously much bigger than what we’ve seen in Sydney – but it was pretty slippery out there. What did you reckon?

Super slick! Very slick and hard-packed. Overall, the stadium and atmosphere – to be honest, walking out in opening ceremonies it seriously felt like I was at Anaheim 1 or something – it had that feel to it. With Chad having his announcement during opening ceremonies, I mean I was tearing up for him. It was just a really cool vibe, and to hear the crowd and see what Australia means to him and to see what he means to Australia, that was super cool. To execute all day and win the heat – I was a little bummed in Superpole actually, I botched up a couple of corners, but I knew if I could clean those up, I was if not the fastest guy, for sure one or two. I just executed the three starts, and that was the main thing. Once I won the first one, I knew I still had the joker lane – I took the joker lane in the second time around, I kind of knew where Anderson was points wise, so I could let him go by and go into the final moto with three, which was a lot less than anyone else. I just really managed it from there – I managed the whole last main and cruised around. I didn’t know what Hill had up his sleeve, or what Yamaha was thinking, because you just never know. I just kept my distance and I had Metty behind me as a buffer – it honestly worked perfectly. The last few laps Hill was coming back to me, so I was like ‘go, go, go’. I’m just stoked to get this done. Clouty was a great competitor this year and the Yamaha boys didn’t make it easy on me at all. They came to battle every weekend and I respect those guys a lot – I respect Craig Dack a lot. To be able to battle with those guys was pretty cool.

Speaking of Chad – that first final, he seems to turn it on sometimes doesn’t he?

Chad Reed man! He’s not a supercross champion for nothing. He’s gnarly, he’s one of the best ever and that’s why he’s in the record books for what he’s done. He has that mindset that can’t be taught and there are very few people that have it, and he’s one of them. He’s got a couple of broken ribs, he hasn’t ridden much at all and he goes and leads the first few laps against me and Anderson. It’s pretty crazy. He’s a talented dude and I have huge respect for him as well.

Image: Foremost Media.

Clout was I think 10th in that first final, did your strategy change at all?

No, it didn’t change at all. I kept on the attack because I didn’t want to be cautious on the second one and get a fourth or fifth, and then I crash in the last one or someone takes me down. I was just full attack mode. One of my big goals coming here this year was to win the AUS-X Open – it was actually number one on my list this year coming to Australia. I felt like if I could win that, I was on form to win the championship as well. To be able to both on the same night, and come in with the white number plates – I hate the way those things looks [laughs]. I’m going to enjoy this one.

The injury, from what we know it’s a rib injury, is that improving?

Yeah, I had some broken ribs that happened a few days after the second round. It was tough – there was a point where I was just going to fly home and get healthy. But I stuck it out. It’s kind of weird, this whole trip for my daughter, she’s five, I took her to Brisbane and kind of dominated that night and it seemed easy to her, which it’s not. I taught her it’s not the fastest guy, it’s the guy who tries the hardest, works the hardest – so right when I was lying there in the hospital, I was like now’s your chance to do what you’ve been preaching to your daughter. I did all the therapy I could and showed up at Wollongong not knowing what was going to happen or if I could even ride. I got out of there with a third, and the same thing at Auckland – I was a little better there. These past two weeks have been great with my focus, and I actually think it was a blessing in disguise coming in one-point down – I really enjoyed that situation.

Final one, are you coming back to try for number five?

Australia is my second home! I hope I can – we’ll see and I hope to get something worked out. I hope to come back and battle for number five, absolutely.