Features 25 Aug 2022

Top 10: Races of the ProMX season

A look back at some of the memorable moments of season 2022.

With the 2022 Penrite ProMX Championship now officially wrapped up, MotoOnline takes a look back at the Top 10 races from a memorable eight-round series.

Image: Foremost Media.

1. Defining moment for Tanti:
While the final race at Coolum is where CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team’s Aaron Tanti won his first-ever national motocross championship, the second MX1 moto at Gillman was the moment where he really proved his mettle. Having finished second overall to his team-mate Luke Clout at Wonthaggi and to Honda Racing’s Dean Ferris at Wodonga, Tanti captured his first round win at Gillman, courtesy of a gritty performance in the second moto. After assertively dispatching of Ferris, Tanti held off waves of attacks from local hero Brett Metcalfe (GO24 Racing KTM) and Kirk Gibbs (KTM Racing Team) around a chopped-up circuit to take a narrow victory. With that defining race, Tanti took over the championship lead and from then on was never headed as he continued to consistently rack up points on his way to the 2022 MX1 title.

2. Todd wins first MX1 race at Coolum:
The warning signs where there the weekend prior when Terrafirma Equipment Sales Honda’s Wilson Todd won the Top 10 Shootout at Queensland Moto Park, but few people picked that the 2022 MX2 champion would only wait until the next round at Coolum to find himself in the MX1 winner’s circle. Having wrapped up the MX2 championship at QMP, Todd focused on the premier class at Coolum and shocked everyone when he not only topped qualifying again, but would holeshot and lead the entire opening MX1 moto. Todd temporarily came under pressure from Husqvarna Racing Team’s Todd Waters, but the Honda rider was able to respond and pull out a 10.7-second victory. Rookie MX1 appearances are rarely as good as what Todd showed late this season.

3. Defending champ crashes out:
Last year’s MX1 champion Luke Clout (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team) came into 2022 as the red-hot favourite to defend his title and a flawless performance at the opening round at Wonthaggi saw those odds shorten even further. However, it all unravelled at the opening race at Mackay when the Sydney-based racer crashed heavily into an upramp while leading the pack. While Honda Racing rookie Kyle Webster would go on to win his first career MX1 race, all eyes were on Clout and his condition, and the reports came through confirming the worst – Clout was out with a broken tibia and fibula, with his 2022 motocross title defence over.

4. Todd crushes the MX2 field:
Much has been said and written about the way Honda’s Wilson Todd dominated the MX2 championship this year, but the second moto at Gillman was his probably his most emphatic display. After getting pinched off the start and rounding the first turn outside of the top 10, Todd put the hammer down, scything through the field and into the lead early, then ruthlessly clicking off consistent laps to finish more than 21 seconds ahead of second-placed Rhys Budd (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) by the time the checkers fell.

5. Back in contention:
Honda Racing’s Dean Ferris caught many off-guard when he announced his return to professional racing this year, but his first weekend back was a disappointing affair as he circulated to 13th overall at Wonthaggi. It was a starkly different Dean Ferris who turned up at the next round at Mackay, though. He led the early laps of the opening race, then claimed a stunning wire-to-wire victory in the second moto to cap off a dream weekend for Honda, as the team swept every MX1 and MX2 race. Ferris’ holeshots were a standout this year and he’d go on to take a double-moto victory the next round at Wodonga, but the way he was able to turn his form around so quickly between rounds one and two was remarkable.

Image: Foremost Media.

6. Home win of Metcalfe:
Despite having to pull together a privateer team to compete this year, GO24 Racing KTM’s Brett Metcalfe put in one of his strongest, most consistent campaigns since returning from racing in the US. The KTM rider has a huge following in South Australia and he gave the vocal crowd their money’s worth by taking advantage of some early errors by Dean Ferris to inherit the lead of the opening MX1 race. Metcalfe withstood some pressure from Tanti to take a memorable 10-second win and would come agonisingly close to claiming the overall at the South Australia circuit, finishing second on countback after Tanti edged him for the win in moto two. Still, seeing Metcalfe return to the winner’s circle (he last won at Wonthaggi in 2021) and the motivation he had to win all season was inspiring. He finished the championship in fourth, just nine points off a series podium.

7. Malkiewicz snaps Todd’s streak:
After comfortably besting the MX2 field at the opening two rounds, Wilson Todd was on a roll and his confidence was high. He carried that same momentum and pace into the third round at Wodonga, but it all came undone early in the opening race when he crashed while leading and was left remounting outside the top 10. Serco Yamaha’s new recruit Bailey Malkiewicz was the man to take advantage, putting in a smooth, fast race and capitalising on his rivals’ mistakes to take the moto – and round – victory. Notably, Malkiewicz would become the only rider to take a moto win from Todd until the seventh round at QMP, when Todd was content to just bank a handful of points required to take the championship with a round to spare.

8. Head-to-head:
The final race of the 2022 championship at Coolum was a classic as one of the class rookies, Kyle Webster, went toe-to-toe with the experienced 2019 champion Todd Waters (Husqvarna Racing Team). It was Webster’s second round back after injury and he was eager to finish the championship on a high, while a winless Waters was very keen to taste the champagne at least once this year. Waters moved forwards early on to take over the lead from Webster and began pulling a gap, but as the laps wore on and the sandy Coolum Circuit became brutally round, Webster seemed to find another gear. Within a matter of laps the Victoria-based racer had hauled his way back onto Waters’ rear wheel, then made an audacious pass to take the lead in the closing stages. Waters desperately tried to respond, but it was in vain as Webster took the race win to cement his status as one of the favourites for 2023.

9. Crawford signals return:
It was a disastrous start to 2022 for KTM Racing Team’s new MX2 rider, Nathan Crawford. Just days out from the opening round, the pre-season favourite had a practice crash and broke his femur, writing his campaign off before it even got off the ground. That made his opening moto win at Queensland Moto Park even more vindicating, as he proved that in a perfect scenario, he could’ve pushed Todd for the championship. He stalked Budd and Kaleb Barham (Husqvarna) for most of the race before pouncing on their unforced errors to take a moto win at just his third race back from injury. Crawford had returned the round prior at Coffs Harbour and strode to an impressive runner-up result in the final race, keeping Todd honest throughout. He’d then complete his short 2022 campaign with a comfortable overall victory (with a 2-1 result) at Coolum.

10. Wonthaggi redemption:
Wonthaggi has a reputation as one of those circuits that will bite you when you least expect it, so to put in a mistake-free race is an impressive feat, but putting together two perfect motos is near impossible. Clout did just that to mark the opening round the championship, as he charged to a ruthlessly efficient, clinical double-moto victory. In both races he worked his way forwards, taking advantage of other riders’ mistakes to move into the lead and click off almost robotic laps around the rutted, sandy circuit. It was a picture-perfect start to the championship for the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team too, as eventual 2022 champion Aaron Tanti would finish the day second overall.