Features 30 Nov 2023

Top 10: Performances of the AUSX season

Breaking down a mix of standout rider moments from 2023.

The 2023 Fox Australian Supercross Championship (AUSX) was a hard-fought campaign, with an assortment of standout results delivered across the three rounds. With the series now complete, MotoOnline looks back at the Top 10 performances from throughout the season.

Image: Foremost Media.

1. Wilson reigns supreme in SX1: 
It’s fair to say that Dean Wilson entered the 2023 AUSX championship as a key contender, and he quickly underlined his intentions with a calculated race to victory in Adelaide. A commanding sweep in Newcastle’s Triple Crown proved decisive and despite a mediocre start in Melbourne, he was able to recover to second and secure the crown. As a whole, it was a refreshing campaign for the Froth Honda Racing rider, and great to see the popular number 15 revitalised with form, back on the top step.

2. Sweep sees Anstie defend SX2 title:
AUSX was nothing short of dominant from Max Anstie, taking five from five main event wins in a variety of settings to successfully defend his title.¬†There was no stopping the Boost Mobile Honda Racing rider’s speed and racecraft, with the only gate drop where he didn’t emerge victorious being his heat race in Melbourne, where he was a close second behind Canadian Cole Thompson (Serco Yamaha) on that occasion. Momentum is clearly on Anstie’s side, and it will be interesting to see how he carries that into 250SX next year.

3. Long-awaited return of Clout to top step:
A wire-to-wire victory at Marvel Stadium saw outbound CDR Yamaha Monster Energy racer Luke Clout make an emotional and well-deserved return to the top step. Clout secured the early lead and didn’t look back, controlling the race out front with relative ease in what marked a commendable achievement after battling injury after injury since breaking his leg at the Mackay ProMX round last year. The 25 points secured from Melbourne also ensured he finished second-place in the SX1 standings for 2023, as Clout now looks ahead to new surroundings for 2024.

4. Crawford rebounds to secure SX2 runner-up:
Ninth inside the short, sharp confines of the Adelaide Entertainment Centre was admittedly an underwhelming start to Crawford’s SX2 campaign this year. However, the KTM Racing Team contender rebounded in fine form, with second overall in Newcastle’s Triple Crown thanks to a 2-3-2 scorecard, and concluded the AUSX season with a P4 in Melbourne. It was a promising tilt for the number 199 and anticipation surrounds whether he will make the step to a 450 next year.

5. Gritty Brayton pushes on:
Five-time Australian SX1 champion Justin Brayton (Boost Mobile Honda Racing) endured challenges in his bid for a sixth-straight title, but to his credit pushed through injury and misfortune to complete the season with his head held high. Brayton cracked his shoulder blade in that start incident during Newcastle race three, and despite his best efforts was unable to finish that race due to damage his machine sustained. The injury forced him out of Paris Supercross the following weekend, and despite being mathematically ruled out of AUSX title contention, he pushed through the pain at Marvel Stadium to conclude the series with a P3 finish. With the fire ignited after suffering defeat, we’ll wait to see if Brayton will return in 2024.

Image: Foremost Media.

6. Dominant Ross takes SX3 crown in style:
Polyflor Honda Racing’s Parker Ross made it a perfect three SX3 final wins this year, wrapping up the season on the top step at Marvel Stadium. Ross was second in the early stages behind Yamaha racer Seth Burchell, but made his way to the front on lap three and rode on to claim a 1.204s win, and with the SX3 crown. The dominance of Ross was an important factor in Honda Racing sweeping the SX1, SX2 and SX3 championship titles, and the American will certainly be one to watch in the future.

7. Consistent Hill lands SX1 top three:
Not finishing a single main event outside the top-five, CDR Yamaha Monster Energy’s Josh Hill concluded the season third in the SX1 rankings. Hill opened series with P4 in Adelaide, then went 3-5-2 at McDonald Jones Stadium before closing the campaign with fourth in Melbourne. While there might not be one standout performance to pinpoint throughout the three rounds, thanks to his consistency Hill entered the final round as the only rider with a mathematical chance of stopping Wilson. He showcased once more he is a solid and highly-capable addition to the AUSX field.

8. Privateer Wightman impresses with P5 in standings:
Privateer Yamaha racer Joel Wightwan delivered a solid last two rounds in SX1, scoring a best result of fourth place in Newcastle’s final three. Additionally, he notched three sixth-place finishes across the McDonald Stadium and Melbourne finals, landing a commendable fifth place in the standings. Wightman now has his sights set on the US, announcing he has an entry in Anaheim 1’s season-opener of the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross Championship.

9. Thompson sends Serco off with SX2 series podium:
The coveted Serco Yamaha team will be greatly missed in its closure, but Canadian Cole Thompson was able to send the outfit off with a podium in SX2. Winning his heat race earlier in the event, Thompson quickly found himself P3 in the main event, the position which he would ultimately take checkers, just 2.491s shy of Crawford in second. The result secured him the bronze position for the series, and added another podium trophy to the decorated cabinet of Serco Yamaha in its farewell. On the note of Yamaha riders scoring podiums in SX2, a special mention to Kaleb Barham (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) who notched a breakthrough SX2 result of P3 overall in Newcastle.

10. Ford delivers to wrap up CR22 85 Cup at Marvel:
The CR22 85 Cup was a great and welcome addition to the 2023 Australian AUSX Championship, and produced a title fight that went right down to the wire. Ultimately, it was KTM-mounted Cooper Ford – winner of both the Newcastle and Melbourne rounds – who took the series win, ahead of Adelaide victor Jack Nunn (GasGas) and Lachlan Allen in second and third positions respectively. Tate Reed (KTM) also made his anticipated debut in Newcastle, and improved to P9 in the main event at Marvel Stadium.