Features 5 Oct 2023

Three Things: 2023 AUSX form guide

Who's who leading into Adelaide's opening round of the new season.

The first gate-drop of the 2023 Fox Australian Supercross Championship (AUSX) is almost here, with anticipation and excitement continuing to build ahead of action commencing at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre this Saturday. In this Three Things feature, MotoOnline takes an up-close look at the form of select SX1 and SX2 contenders that could be referenced as an indicator as the series unfolds.

Image: Foremost Media.


A key thing here is that once again the current Australian SX1 and SX2 champions are both international riders. Justin Brayton returns with Honda Racing in search of a record sixth-consecutive SX1 title, however, the question is whether will he suffer from any racing rust. The experienced American’s only competitive outing so far this year was the opening round of the World Supercross Championship (WSX) in Birmingham, back in July, where he was seventh overall. With only three rounds in this year’s AUSX championship, there is little time to get up to speed, so it is going to be crucial that Brayton or anyone serious about a title challenge, is achieving strong results from the onset. Defending SX2 champion Max Anstie (Honda Racing) delivered an impressive 250SX East campaign earlier this year with Yarrive Konsky’s outfit, finishing third in the championship standings with a Showdown win at East Rutherford to his credit. Like Brayton, he raced the opening round of the WSX championship, but in the SX2 class, where he was second overall. After a challenging SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX) post-season opener, he decided to switch his focus back to SX and to best prepare for what’s to come. Canadian Cole Thompson returns with Serco Yamaha, notably second in the AUSX SX2 class last year with a round win at Wagga Wagga to close the season. So far in 2023, he finished 10th in 250SX West with Team Solitaire, and if his AUSX season from last year is a indication, you can expect him to be a consistent podium challenger, plus we will also see Robbie Wageman on-track at WBR Yamaha this year. While he has been based in Australia for recent seasons, Japanese talent Haruki Yokoyama will line-up onboard a KX250 again with Empire Kawasaki. Yokoyama has shown he can be quick out of the gate, which could be particularly favourable at the tight Adelaide Entertainment Centre for round one. A welcome edition for the complete season this year is Dean Wilson, competing with Honda Racing he could prove to be a real dark horse with his vast experience, while proven podium threat Josh Hill returns once more with the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team.

Image: Foremost Media.


While internationals currently hold both the SX1 and SX2 crowns, there are a number of hungry Australian riders eager to take control. Yamaha-equipped last year with the BBR 102 Motorsports team, former champion Matt Moss came within a single point of dethroning Brayton and showed he is still more than capable of landing on the top step. Moss has switched to the Empire Kawasaki team this year and, by all accounts, he has displayed solid form onboard the KX450 in the build-up to Adelaide’s gate-drop. Aaron Tanti (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy) was a revelation in last year’s AUSX and also a key figure in the SX1 title-fight, but misfortune at Newcastle ultimately proved costly. After losing his national MX1 title earlier in the year, the YZ450F rider will be determined to land back on the top step and underline his capabilities once more of being able to compete with the best. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for teammate Luke Clout in the build-up to Australian Supercross, with the number four sustaining another injury in the form of a broken arm that required surgery and ruled him out of the final two ProMX rounds. That said, it didn’t take Clout long to feel comfortable once he got back on the bike and he is another who has shown the capability to be able to take it to Brayton in the 450 division. One thing that both Clout and Tanti will have to manage – like Moss will between brands – is juggling between AUSX and WSX commitments at Melbourne’s final round, since the pair ride YZ250Fs in WSX and 450s in AUSX. Honda Racing’s Kyle Webster showed flashes of speed last year in SX1 and will be looking to translate that to consistent podium results, while SX2 teammate Wilson Todd will be targeting to have a consistent and strong showing across the three rounds after misfortune impacted his latest supercross campaigns in both Australia and the US. The top national rider in last year’s SX2 title race, KTM Racing Team’s Nathan Crawford has signalled his clear intentions of going two spots better than where he finished in 2022, which was P3. Likewise, GasGas Racing Team’s Noah Ferguson will be one to watch, finishing a solid P5 overall in his very first AUSX campaign last year, and riding onboard the MC 250F he was rapid in this year’s ProMX Championship. Rhys Budd scored a final victory last year in Newcastle, and competing with the Serco Yamaha team in 2023 it will be interesting to see how he builds across the three rounds. Also set to take to the gate on YZ250Fs, Jayce Cosford and Kaleb Barham (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) could throw a spanner in the works, plus in the premier class, the ever-popular Brett Metcalfe will line-up with his GO24 KTM outfit.


While the fields are already stacked with a number of international and national proven racers, a variety of rookies are either stepping up a class or debuting in the Australian Supercross Championship (AUSX) for the very first time. American Wagemen is set for his first AUSX gate-drop as he represents WBR Yamaha in SX2, while in SX1 Bailey Malkiewicz will make his premier class debut in the discipline. With top 10 250SX finishes to his credit, it won’t be a surprise to see Wageman feature up front, while for Malkiewicz, the more he can absorb and take in across the three rounds, the better. Highly-rated Western Australian Kayden Minear (KTM Racing Team) will debut in SX2 and, likewise, GasGas-mounted Byron Dennis. Minear showed flashes of brilliance in his first MX2 campaign earlier this year, while Dennis steps up after claiming the 2023 MX3 title in ProMX. WBR Yamaha’s Ryder Kingsford is another to watch, and of course, there’s a number of capable riders taking to the gate that aren’t mentioned within the three sections here. Let’s go racing!