Features 25 Oct 2022

Debrief: 2022 AUSX Rd1 Melbourne

Main event winners Brayton and Anstie recall first round at Marvel Stadium.

Taking the SX1 main event victory at Marvel Stadium was a convincing way for Honda Genuine Polyflor Honda Racing’s Justin Brayton to commence his charge for a fifth Australian Supercross Championship (AUSX), while teammate Max Anstie stood on the top step in SX2 as the 2022 series got underway in Melbourne. Both riders were available to the media after the races for this Debrief feature.

Image: Supplied.


It seemed like tonight was the culmination of you being here for a few years. If you look at Aaron [Tanti] for example, I think that’s a testament to the level that you have brought to Australia. To have you consistently here for the years that you have been here, I think that is kind of what it takes in a domestic series like Australia, a smaller series. Are you feeling that? Last year [2019] it was Luke Clout, this year it is AT, it is like these guys are slowly kind of creeping up… You are almost like a victim of your own success. 

Yeah, I think that it’s awesome. One thing, I really have a lot of respect for all of the riders and teams is that most of the time a guy from another country comes and wins, and they are like ‘get out of here, why are you here’. But everyone has actually embraced it and I feel like that is the right thing, especially for Clouty a few years ago, he’s on the rise, he should be thankful that I’m here because at the time I was getting podiums in America. I mean, I won Daytona while I was coming over here, top-fiving AMA Supercross points. I feel like a lot of people have been really respectful in that way of ‘hey, kind of thank you for coming over here and you’ve brought us all to somewhat of a new level’. I don’t think any of these guys regret it, I was talking about that after the race, that it’s not easy over here and there are a lot of good riders. I’m sure Luke will be good, obviously, Aaron’s a whole new level and Deano [Dean Wilson] is a world-class rider. Brett Metcalfe, same thing, so I don’t think any of these guys regret it and I’m really thankful that they have welcomed me and have continued to welcome me.

You won on the MotoConcepts bike tonight with Yarrive [Konsky’s] graphics, basically… Is that the ideal scenario in these next three rounds, to maintain that same machinery as the US bike? 

The majority of it, yes. There will definitely be more of a hybrid – I will run more of Yarrive’s stuff here in the coming weeks, but we have a lot of similar things. Obviously, Honda is a huge part of it, Showa suspension, some different bits and pieces that he is still going to let me run. That’s what is cool about working globally with Honda and having relationships all around the world. Yarrive has been super accommodating and obviously winning four championships together helps. I’m really mindful of his partners and the people that pay him to run stuff on his motorcycle, so yeah, we’ve worked through all of that and you’ll see a little bit of a different bike next week in Adelaide, but 80 percent of it is going to be the same.


Image: Supplied.

Congratulations Max, you had to work for it, it wasn’t just given to you. How did the night go for you in your opinion?

It was good, it was my first time here in Melbourne, my first time here in this stadium and it was different from what I expected. I watched the AUS-X Open in 2019 and did my research on YouTube before coming here, and I was very surprised how good the track was, and tacky. Okay, it was getting harder and slicker, but it wasn’t as dry and as hard as what it was then. So searching a little bit with the bike set up, the last couple of weeks I really emphasised on the hard-pack riding because we spent so much time in Florida MTF [Millsaps Training Facility] on softer, US-style East coast tracks. In the end, it was good, it was really nice to get some laps in today, I feel a little bit jet-lagged, and I wanted to have a nap right before the main event – I looked at my watch and it was 3:30 in the morning back home. Definitely weird with all of the travelling and time changes, but I think today was really good and nice to blow the cobwebs out for tomorrow [WSX] and see what happens.

Do you feel riding in AUSX was a big benefit before competing in WSX the next night? 

Yeah, 100 percent. It’s one of those where… I’ve done a lot of travelling obviously with GPs and I have been pretty much everywhere, but not Australia. To get the arms feeling a bit better and the breathing, and also just work on stuff with the bike – I changed quite a lot today, started off with my Cardiff set-up and went more toward my US-style track set-up. A few little things are different, the fuel that we run today is different to what is used in WSX, so they are switching that for tomorrow. There were a few little teething issues with that, but overall it was solid, nice to be here and nice to be in this stadium.

In practice and qualifying you were trying to do the quad and triple after the finish line there. Were they things where you were like I need to find a spot here to break away from these guys, or were you just playing with the track and getting your bearings? 

A little bit of both, you know there was a similar kind of quad at Cardiff and I managed to do that. I tried it today and I was sure, really sure, and when I came in the team said ‘you do know this gas makes the bike two horsepower less than the WSX gas’. I was like great, it would be nice to know that before I went for it [laughs] because I watched Justin do it in his practice, and he kind of overjumped it and I was like oh right I got that, it will be fine. As I was going up the face I was like, she feels a little slow and a landed a little short. It’s one of those things where we only have eight minutes to get that track dialled in, it was more of a US-style schedule for us, so it was quick, quick to get the track down and all of that sort of stuff. I was playing around and seeing what works and what doesn’t.