International element of 2020 series to be impacted by COVID-19.
Australian Supercross Championship organisers are aiming to host a three-round series in the final months of 2020, currently working to overcome the impact of coronavirus that could affect any international element of the season.
It was announced today by Motorcycling Australia (MA) that the Australian Motocross Championship will span up to six rounds over a two-month period from the start of September, which will leave room for a downscaled supercross to commence in late November.
MA is taking over the operations of the motocross series after former promoter Williams Event Management (WEM) opted out last month, which leaves supercross commercial rights-holder AUS SX Holdings as the largest private promoter in the sport at a national level. As well, WEM is expected to continue its motorsport management involvement in AUS Supercross, which was five rounds in 2019.
“In addition to motocross, we’re in discussion with the supercross promoters,” explained MA CEO Peter Doyle. “Some of the major events will be affected obviously by the closure of international borders, so large events like the AUS-X Open, for sure, they’re in jeopardy – there’s no secret there.
“However, we are still looking at a smaller three-round supercross championship. The complexity now is to fit those in with the motocross, which is why we’re saying that series will be five to six rounds. Should supercross not be able to run, we would possibly extend the motocross season out.”
It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that the AUS-X Open will be able to take place at Marvel Stadium this year due to overseas travel restrictions, leaving a more traditional domestic championship without the high-profile international event to cap-off the season. The S-X Open Auckland was already understood to be being benched for at least 2020, instead to potentially return on alternate years.
“AUS-X Open is the most challenging one because it relies on international riders, but the most likely scenario will be that there will be an Australian Supercross Championship with or without AUS-X,” AUS SX Holdings director Adam Bailey told MotoOnline. “The championship itself, we’re working on quite regularly to try and get the championship up. All of it will be decided in July.”
Penrite Honda Racing’s current SX1 champion Justin Brayton and SX2 title-winner Chris Blose – as well as US team regular Mitchell Oldenburg – have all expressed interest in travelling from America for this year’s AUS Supercross championship despite the pandemic, according to team owner Yarrive Konsky, but would almost certainly face quarantine even in the latter months of the year.
“There’s a lot to consider, but Justin, Chris and Mitchell would love to come back to Australia this year,” said Konsky. “It’s obviously a job, so therefor they could potentially be exempted [to travel into the country], but would have to go through the same quarantine regulations as anybody else. Therefore, it could make it hard and we have to be mindful of how late the championship could run and how that will impact their preparations for 2021.”
If the Australian series does extend into mid-December rather than finishing at the end of November as per last season, it will – if the out of contract Brayton continues to race AMA Supercross – almost certainly impact the availability of the reigning champions, who would instead be in the final stages of preparing for Anaheim’s annual Monster Energy Supercross opener at the beginning of January next year.