News 21 Apr 2022

Contract complications to arise from AUS Supercross extension

Continuation of series into next year creates unforeseen challenges.

Image: Supplied.

Having the 2022 Fox Australian Supercross Championship extend into January next year is expected to result in contract complications that riders and teams will have to work through prior to the series commencement.

With rounds four and five of the new season taking place in mid-January 2023, the championship is slated to fall into the new calendar year, giving stakeholders an added challenge to confront.

The gates drop on ProMX from March through August, however, a later AUS Supercross schedule will likely see it run from November – the opening round date still TBC – into the new year. National contracts are traditionally structured within the calendar year, which will now require extensions at least this year for riders to remain in their current positions through all five rounds of SX.

“Now running across into a different year, manufacturers will have to reassess how they go about contracting teams and riders,” Yamaha Motor Australia’s Scott Bishop explained when contacted by MotoOnline. “All manufacturers will have to look at contract length and terms now that the season stretches over different budgets, on different years. We will need time to work it out to be as efficient and effective as possible.

“At some point we will all have to be on a similar path, given the crossover nature of different teams and riders, so it will take some thought on the best way to do this and how we can all make it work. It will be difficult if we are all on a different schedule [in terms of contract timelines].”

One of the main concerns is that the pre-season between January’s AUS SX finals and the 2023 ProMX series expected to again start in March will be minimal, meaning any movements between the team and rider market will effectively face a race against time to be at 100 percent for the outdoors.

Alternatively, there is the potential for contracts to uniquely span 12 months from September after ProMX concludes, which would instead require a short turnaround for AUS Supercross preparations and then riders would also stay put for the outdoors in the new year. In turn, that would require a complete transition that teams across the board would have to adopt.

It poses little problem for the likes of leading ProMX-only riders Todd Waters (Husqvarna Racing Team), Kirk Gibbs (KTM Racing Team) and Dean Ferris (Honda Racing), however, it does complicate matters for those factory-level teams that will be required to fill those respective seats through supercross at that time of the year.

This latest summer series structure will also affect the strategy of Honda Racing more widely, the Konsky Motorsport-operated team previously calling in current AMA Supercross regulars from the US with significant success including the 2019 championships with Justin Brayton (SX1) and Chris Blose (SX2). That will no longer be an option considering the overlap between Australia and the American series in January.