Taking a closer look at the top three in 2023 SX1 and SX2 standings.
First in the short, sharp confines of the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, and then in the all-important Triple Crown at McDonald Jones Stadium, there have been exciting moments with rising talent and proven champions extending across the opening two rounds of the 2023 Fox Australian Supercross Championship (AUSX). In this edition of Rated, MotoOnline takes a closer look at the form of SX1 and SX2 riders who are currently inside the top three of the standings.
Rider: Dean Wilson
Rundown: There’s no doubt we have seen a refreshed and revitalised Wilson in AUSX, and the Froth Honda Racing rider is on the cusp of clinching the SX1 title. A composed, calculated ride in Adelaide saw the number 15 make his way past multi-time Australian champion Matt Moss in the season-opening final, and from there race on to take a commanding victory and 25 points to open the season. Demonstrating both pace and precision in Newcastle’s first bout, Wilson caught leader Justin Brayton (Boost Mobile Honda Racing) and capitalised on heavy lapped traffic to make a move. Continuing his convincing form, Wilson went on to secure 50 points from the next two races, finishing ahead of key rivals or they suffered misfortune. With his hot pace and four-race winning streak, he is just one point away from taking the title. The question is, can he complete a clean-sweep in Melbourne? If his current form is an indicator, then it is likely.
Rider: Josh Hill
Rundown: Seasoned CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Yamaha racer Hill has been a model of consistency throughout the 2023 campaign to date, and other than Wilson – who has won every final – he is the only other SX1 contender to finish each main event inside the top five. A fourth-place finish inside the tight confines of the Adelaide Entertainment Centre was a solid opener for the number 75, and despite sub-par starts at round two, was able to race on to third in the opening Newcastle main event. A fifth place in race two marked his lowest finish in the season so far, but he rebounded to take second in the final race of the night to land P2 for the round, and elevate to second in the championship standings. Hill is now the only rider who has a mathematical chance of stopping Wilson from taking the title, and is 24 points from the red plate with one round to go.
Rider: Justin Brayton
Rundown: Entering the season with five consecutive SX1 titles to his credit, it was hard to look past Boost Mobile Honda Racing’s Justin Brayton as the favourite for this year’s crown. The 39-year-old kept himself right in the hunt with a P2 finish to open the season in Adelaide, and signalled his intentions in Newcastle with victory in heat number two. Brayton looked set for victory in the first final at round two and opened up a near five-second lead in the early stages. Once Wilson got to second however the gap began to decrease, and amidst heavy lapped traffic the number 15 was able to close the gap and make a move for the lead with three laps remaining, regulating Brayton who took the checkers in P2. Brayton finished second again in race two, before contact with Luke Clout (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy) brought him down off the start in final three, and he was ultimately ruled out with damage to his bike. As a result, Brayton is now third in the standings, but crucially out of reach to defend his title with one round remaining. Having not raced in America this year and with multiple WSX rounds cancelled, his preparation was far more limited than previous seasons, but he will look to finish the year with a victory after lining up at the Paris Supercross this weekend.
Rider: Max Anstie
Rundown: Much like Wilson, defending SX2 champion Anstie has been dominant across the opening two rounds, taking a wire-to-wire victory inside Adelaide Entertainment Centre’s opener to commence the campaign. At a vastly different stadium in Newcastle, Anstie showed he can charge through the field to claim a win, recovering from an average start to bag 25 points in the opening McDonald Jones Stadium encounter. Two more wins in finals two and three now see him undefeated in season 2023 – he hasn’t even dropped a heat race – and with a commanding 24-point lead entering Melbourne’s final round, he is set to take the title. If the Marvel Stadium track layout last year is anything to go by, it should be more US-style which would play even greater into the strengths of the Boost Mobile Honda Racing rider. He also holds a healthy SX2 lead in the World Supercross Championship (WSX), with the series finals to be contested the Saturday night following AUSX on Friday.
Rider: Nathan Crawford
Rundown: Crawford will be the first tell to you that a P9 finish in Adelaide was sub-par when considering his potential, where a poor launch, gate pick and further troubles saw him playing catch-up to the entirety of the final. However, he rebounded in convincing fashion at Newcastle to notch a 2-3-2 scorecard for second on the night. The KTM Racing Team rider led the opening six laps of final number one, and charged through the field to reach third in the second encounter, before banking another 22 points during race three at McDonald Jones Stadium. Looking at his performance at Newcastle alone, Crawford would be in the in the ‘A’ range and it was a great recovery from Adelaide as he now sits second in the SX2 standings entering Melbourne.
Rider: Robbie Wageman
Rundown: Over the years there has been an increasing number of capable international riders featuring in the AUSX ranks, and the addition of WBR Yamaha’s Robbie Wagemen in SX2 has been no exception. Wageman has multiple 250SX top 10 finishes to his credit in the US, and the American impressed in his Australian debut to take second position behind defending champion Anstie in South Australia. An up-and-down night in Newcastle saw him score 9-2-12 results and was left frustrated with some costly mistakes that hurt his points haul. Nonetheless, he enters Melbourne third in the championship standings and tied on points with Canadian Cole Thompson (Serco Yamaha), as well being within striking distance of Crawford in second position.