News 2 Jul 2024

Lawrence brothers to headline Melbourne AUSX Open Supercross

Marvel Stadium to host event's anticipated 2024 return this November.

Image: Octopi Media.

A high-profile homecoming of the Lawrences will headline this November’s return of the AUSX Open Supercross within Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, as Jett and Hunter Lawrence make their first appearance on home soil since achieving unparalleled success as brothers in the US.

The AUSX Open featured as the sport’s premier dirt bike race in Australia between 2015-2019, before the pandemic and a decision of race organisers to bid for the FIM World Supercross Championship (WSX) rights saw the event abandoned.

Promoter of the resurgent Fox Australian Supercross Championship (AUSX), AME Group, has officially reintroduced the AUSX Open Supercross for 2024, the international-scale supercross this morning confirmed for Saturday, November 30, in Melbourne’s Docklands and with the Lawrences committing to racing in Australia once again.

AME Group managing director Kelly Bailey has led the spectacular turnaround of the AUSX series alongside general manager of marketing, Mick Sinclair, and the AUSX Open doubling as the final round of the domestic championship following a five-year hiatus is another coup for the series.

AUSX Open was initially launched by Adam Bailey and co-founder Ryan Sanderson – who were then also business partners in AME – almost a full decade ago, staging four events in Sydney and a single edition in Melbourne before forming SX Global and starting the polarising WSX series in 2022 with limited success.

It was at that point when Kelly Bailey took the helm of AME Group and the domestic AUSX series, today also named event director of AUSX Open. Renowned international supercross consultant Eric Peronnard has also struck an agreement to become AUSX Open motorsport and strategic adviser, which marks a return of sorts after being involved in its 2015 debut.

“To be able to bring the biggest and brightest riders in the supercross world right now in Jett and Hunter is incredibly significant for our sport, and importantly an incredible opportunity for the fans,” said Bailey.

“This will undoubtedly be the largest night in Australian Supercross history and should not be missed. We know the reach and following Jett and Hunter have and are confident it will translate into fans travelling both interstate and internationally to watch them ride here in Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

“The inaugural event in 2015 was an overwhelming success, selling out in just 10 days, which led to four years of sell-out crowds in Sydney, expanding to Auckland for the S-X Open and a 35K strong crowd in Melbourne – we’re pumped to bring the AUSX Open back in such resounding fashion.”

While Adam Bailey doesn’t appear to have any formal ties to AME Group outside of his family connection, he recently opened a sport and entertainment consulting business and is understood to have been instrumental in brokering a lucrative deal to finally bring the Lawrence brothers home. AME is also the Australian-based company behind the Lawrences’ ‘Jettson’ and ‘Hunta’ apparel brands.

Bailey’s experience in operating the AUSX Open alongside Sanderson and former event chairman Tony Cochrane – who was also involved in the SX Global start-up before swiftly exiting – when it previously existed will be important for AME to tap into in this latest endeavour, and could be a step that will be critical in distancing himself from a difficult few years in trying to get WSX off the ground.

But it’s the resounding promise of the Australian championship that has proven AME Group 2.0 – with or without Adam Bailey’s direct input on a day-to-day basis – is capable of hosting world-class events, already establishing AUSX rounds for 2024 in Queensland (Redcliffe), New South Wales (Wollongong), and South Australia (Adelaide). All three locations have merit, before the series will arrive in Melbourne for the decider and with closer ties than ever before to the AUSX Open international.

The addition of the Lawrences is an effective ticket to guarantee the AUSX Open is a success on return in year one, with 20-year-old Jett Lawrence the current Monster Energy AMA Supercross champion, the defending 450MX title-holder, and the rider who became the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX) winner in the 450SMX category last season.

“It was a special moment for me when I made my supercross pro debut at the AUSX Open in 2019 and I am well overdue to race at home in front of the Aussie fans who have supported us so much in our journey. We made a few calls and are ecstatic to see it come to life,” Jett Lawrence commented.

After clinching the 250SX East and 250MX crowns in 2023, Hunter Lawrence has also quickly adapted to the 450 class in America this year. The elder Lawrence, 24, currently holds the Pro Motocross red plate in 450MX as a rookie, and picked up two podiums during his maiden 450SX campaign earlier this year.

“We’ve been lucky to have had so much support from Australia throughout our racing careers and have wanted to go back and race at home for a while,” Hunter Lawrence said. “This year, finally, we have been able to make it happen and we’re especially excited to do it by bringing back an iconic event like the AUSX Open. I can’t wait to see all the fans going wild in Marvel Stadium – it’s going to be huge.”

Their decision to return to Australia for the AUSX Open Supercross will mark Jett’s first time lining up at home since he made his professional debut at the same race in 2019, while Hunter is set to make his first start in Australia since their family took the ultimate gamble in moving to Europe as amateurs ahead of the 2016 season. They later relocated to the US full-time for 2019.

A mixture of top-line American-based riders have contested the AUSX Open in the past, with winners including Cooper Webb (2015), legendary Australian Chad Reed (2016), Jason Anderson (2017-2018), and Justin Brayton (2019) – himself a five-time Australian SX1 champion. In addition, RJ Hampshire, Dean Wilson, Cameron McAdoo, Joey Savatgy, and Ryan Villopoto post-retirement have also been starters.

Near 35,000 fans attended the most recent AUSX Open five years ago, but with Marvel Stadium boasting a capacity in excess of over 50,000, luring the Lawrences is a vital component that will significantly assist the event’s viability. While the total crowd figures were up when WSX visited in 2022 and 2023, attendance on any single night of the two-day events was believed to be considerably less.

The reintroduction of the AUSX Open Supercross in 2024 is scheduled one week following WSX’s ambitious new plan to take the world championship to Western Australia’s capital city of Perth, which has been announced as a double-header weekend on November 23-24 at HBF Park. While both events are being held on an international scale just seven days apart, there is no outstanding connection between the pair.