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2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations

Author: Aaryn Minerds

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2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations
There is always a lot to take in at the opening round of any national championship, and it was certainly no different at the opening round of this years Australian Supercross Championship at Jimboomba.

Below we will break down the evening as we viewed it through the view finder of a Canon 7D MkII , giving our thoughts on the track, the venue, the atmosphere and each and every rider who made the nights two main events.

The Venue:

The Jimboomba venue was probably in the best shape it has been in over the past few years that Scott Bannan promotions have been holding racing there.

With a VIP Bar and general admission bar situated down one end of the track, along with show rides and plenty of food vendors, the start line end once again had a party atmosphere going on all night long, while temporary grandstand seating along both sides of the track along with another host of food vendors ensured the majority of the event had a family friendly vibe going on.

The crowd itself looked to be a little down compared to past events, though still a great turn out for an Australian Supercross, with race fans certainly making enough noise to make for a great nights entertainment getting right into all the on track action.

There was a big screen that was airing all the action live as it happened including a timing screen at the bottom, keeping spectators at the venue updated.

The one downside to the Jimboomba is the limited phone and in turn internet service, making it near impossible to get constant information out from the venue.
2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations
Track - - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
The Track:

Incorporating a big downhill starting platform, two back-to-back technical rhythm sections that certainly took some time for riders to dial in the track had plenty to keep spectators interested and riders on their toes.

The downhill start section also doubled as a corner wall ride, which was a cool little addition and lead straight in to a short whoop section, though even with it being short it did catch a few riders out.

Another interesting point to the start was the length of the start straight that ran the full length of the track, making for a high speed first turn.

The soil was the traditional Jimboomba slick black clay which itself proved to be a challenge for the riders.

The Racing:
SX1:
2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations
SX1 Podium - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
Despite the low numbers in the SX1 class, with only 14 riders taking to the gate for the nights main event, the racing on track was tight, with plenty of great battles throughout the field.

Add to the fact that over half the SX1 field took some type of soil sample in the main, the final lap chart at the end of the 20 lap race was a mish mash of lines going up and down the page.

The highlight of the SX1 final has to go to Dean Ferris and Dan Reardon who banged bars as they battled for second position, with a fair mention for Luke Clout who rounded the end of lap one in second to last before finishing in 4th.

Up front Justin Brayton was in a league of his own.

The one low light in the SX1 main event was just that, as two light towers went down in the closing stages of the race, though there was still enough light from the remaining light towers for riders to finish the final lap.
2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations
SX2 Podium - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
SX2:

The SX2 race in some way‰Ûªs was a lot like the SX1 main event, with Hayden Mellross moving his way into the lead in the opening laps before blowing the field away to win by 10 seconds.

Behind Mellross a great battle developed all race long as Faith who at one stage lead and then looked comfortable in second position was slowly reeled in by Mitchell Evans, Jay Wilson and a fast finishing Wilson Todd, who all made their way by 2016 champ Jackson Richardson.

At the line the five riders were separated by less than five seconds.

Looking back through my images it is easy to tell the battle for second was a good one, as nearly every photo I have is of those five riders, shooting them as the came by before dropping the camera down on many occasions to try and catch a glimpse of what was unfolding.

SX1 Riders
2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations
its going to be a tough job trying to steal the #1 plate from Justin Brayton - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
1st Justin Brayton ‰ÛÒ Really nothing to fault with Justin Brayton‰Ûªs night. He fired his Honda CRF450R to pole position before going on to take a comfortable heat win and dominating main event win. It is going to take a bit to steal a win away from the American this series.

2nd Dean Ferris ‰ÛÒ The CDR Yamaha rider showed last year he can race Supercross, finishing second in the championship with a race win to his name.

He caught and passed last years team mate Dan Reardon for second, before the now Mega Fuels Monster Kawasaki rider put a strong move up the inside of Ferris after the whoops.

Ferris held Reardon‰Ûªs pace for the remainder of the race, pouncing on an opportunity to move his way back into second position for a great start to the series.

3rd Dan Reardon ‰ÛÒ A solid start to the series for the rider most were looking towards as the rider to take it to Brayton.

Reardon qualified second fastest, 3 tenths of a second behind Brayton, but will need to find a little more pace lap to lap to challenge the American for this years championship, certainly don‰Ûªt rule him out yet though.
2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations
Luke Clout came from second to last to 4th in the SX1 main event after qualifying third fastest - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
4th Luke Clout - The ride of the night could easily go to Crankt Honda‰Ûªs Luke Clout. To be honest after he went down in the first turn, I did not really pay much attention to how he was tracking however with a combination of some very fast lap times including the second fastest lap of the main and taking advantage of other riders mistakes he moved his way through the field.

Add in the fact Clout qualified 3rd fastest, he is a rider to keep a close eye on this season.

5th Todd Waters ‰ÛÒ It was a solid but uneventful night for Crankt Honda‰Ûªs Todd Waters. He rounded lap one in 8th, moved up to 4th as a handful of riders fell in front of him before his team mate past him at the mid way point of the race.

6th Nathan Crawford ‰ÛÒ The day started well for the Mega Fuels Monster Kawasaki rider qualifying 4th.

Nothing really stood out in his main event, much like Waters he moved forward after riders went down in front of him and finished the race with a good result to start the series.

7th Dylan Long ‰ÛÒ Not his usual flashy self during practice or qualifying, with no huge whips captured by my lens, but looked to have a more focused and workman like demeanour on the bike.

The CDR pilot showed what we all know, that he has the speed to lead the SX1 field, he was pipped by half a tyre for the holeshot in the main, but lead the field for just under two laps before he tucked the front end in the second to last turn.

8th Cheyne Boyd ‰ÛÒ The Veteran of the field once again showed he still has it, but like the majority of the field he result could have been much better if it was not for a small tip over. Boyd had just moved into 5th when he went down in the corner after triple.

And if racing was not enough, the Park4MX owner flew back to Melbourne first thing Sunday morning to help prepare his track and open for business.

9th Joel Wightman ‰ÛÒ The CRF Honda Racing rider moved up to the SX1 class this year and has continued the from he showed in SX2 last year, going about his business putting in consistent laps to claim a top ten finish

10th Kade Mosig ‰ÛÒ His 10th place finish does not show his true form. Mosig grabbed the holeshot before Long leapt ahead down the first rytham lane.

Mosig was all over Long‰Ûªs back wheel vying for the lead early, which ultimately become his undoing with the DPH Motorsports rider having no where to go when Long crashed, going down along with Long.

Mosig remounted but another small tip over put an end to any chance of a better result.
2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations
Kade Mosig had plenty of speed but a couple of crashes cost him a much better result - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
11th Daniel Herrlein - A more than handy AMA Arenacross racer, Herrlein looked good on his KSF Suzuki, but a first turn crash in the main event left him close to a lap down from the start.

It was good to see him not throw in the towel and pound out the remaining 19 laps at pace despite a bent up bike.

12th Jesse Dobson ‰ÛÒ The Honda CRF450R racer was right in the mix early in the race before coming together with Boyd and hitting the deck.

His lap times were right on pace with the front-runners and he will be in the mix at every round this year.

13th Luke Wilson ‰ÛÒ Not the night he was looking for, his best lap time was a couple of seconds off the field, though he looked better each time he hit the track.

14th Nick Schmidt - The Wilson‰Ûªs Racing Cool Air Suzuki rider looked promising after qualifying 6th fastest and despite a couple of mistakes in his heat race was right on pace.

A crash in the early stages of the main event put him two laps down and all but out of the race, though he was able to finish the race.

DNF Matt Howarth ‰ÛÒ It was good to see the long time privateer back in action aboard a Honda CRF450R.

DNS Sam Martin ‰ÛÒ Sam was back and looking fast but a huge crash in qualifying put a premature end to his return to SX racing in Australia.

Check out his Instagram page to see the carnage. The good news is he got up and though unable to race, stayed for the night and watched all the action.

Overall: If you take Brayton out of the equation there were 11 riders in the field who had a best lap time with in 5 tenths of a second of each other,. Add in Sam Martin and Herrlien with a straight bike and that makes 13 riders who are all carrying similar lap speed.

Forget about the low rider numbers the racing in this class will be great, I would expect to see a lot of great racing in the SX1 class and plenty of bar banging with nothing separating the riders speed wise.
2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations
Hayden Mellross ran away with the SX2 main event - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
SX2 Main Event Riders:

1st Hayden Mellross ‰ÛÒ What else can you say, the DPH Motorsports rider qualified fastest, won his heat and ran away with the main event win.

He lost the championship in heart breaking style last year and looks hell bent on making up for it in 2017.

2nd Gavin Faith ‰ÛÒ It looks as though the Honda CRF250R rider was going to run away with the win himself after moving into the lead, but Mellross put an end to those plans, and by race end Faith had a fast finishing trio of riders to contend with.

3rd Mitchell Evans ‰ÛÒ Fast all race long and only got faster as the main event went on. The Serco Yamaha rider was all over Faith at the line and is one of a handful of riders who showed the will be podium threats round in round out.

4th Jay Wilson ‰ÛÒ A little bit of a surprise though not completely unexpected. The former MX2 champion was in the mix all night and his pace like Evan‰Ûªs lifted the further the main event went on. A great start to the championship for the Raceline KTM racer.

5th Wilson Todd ‰ÛÒ A bad start ruined what could have been an even better result for the DPH Motorsports rider. He finished lap two in 9th and a long way back from the front-runners. By race end he had caught and passed early race leader and 2016 champion Jackson Richardson and was less than three seconds behind second placed Faith.

It was a very impressive ride.

6th Jackson Richardson ‰ÛÒ Certainly had the speed, but had to watch as five riders made their way by during the main. It might not have been the result he was after, but don‰Ûªt rule out the reining champ yet.

7th Dylan Wills ‰ÛÒ A solid night for the Husqvarna rider, I‰Ûªm sure he would have liked to be closer to the leading pack, but walked away with some solid points in what will be a very competitive field with plenty of opportunity to make up points.

8th Aaron Tanti ‰ÛÒ Much like Wills a solid result but probably expected to be closer to the front runners. Tanti had a few injury problems at the end of the MX season and will only get quicker as the SX series continues.
2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations
Callum Norton continues his versatility with a 10th place finish in the SX2 class - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
9th Geran Stapleton ‰ÛÒ The man with the nastiest mullet I have ever seen! I actually did not see much of Stapleton on track all day or night but looking back though the results it looks as though he done things the hard way.

After rounding the end of the second lap in 15th a 9th place finish is a good result.

10th Callum Norton ‰ÛÒ A top ten result in his first year of senior racing and first senior SX race is a great result for a rider who is as well known for his desert racing ability.

Looked in control and comfortable all night and picked up the LCQ win.

11th Kyle Webster ‰ÛÒ The CRF Honda racer looked good but the results were just not there on paper this weekend. A mid race crash set him back a few positions.

12th Cooper Pozniak ‰ÛÒ From memory Cooper missed out on making the main event in Jimboomba last year, though I would have to double check.

He looked good all night and after a bad start moved his way from near last to 12th.

13th Taylor Potter ‰ÛÒ Not the result he would have been chasing, a 10th place start, consistent lap times but finished a lap down in 13th.

14th Dylan Wood ‰ÛÒ Not a rider I know much about, qualified directly from his heat. Keep an eye on the #25

15th Connor Tierney ‰ÛÒ Took me a little while to work out who was on the #7 machine during practice and qualifying. Started from the back and moved up a few positions.

16th Nick Sutherland ‰ÛÒ After getting to the venue late due to a cancelled flight, Nick was on of the few riders I had the chance to catch up with before racing.

He was full of nerves, it was his first SX in a couple of years and he has had a few injuries along the way. Looked nervous on track early but looked more like himself as the night wore on.

Finishing the night healthy was the goal and he done that.

17th Jesse Madden ‰ÛÒ Nearly half a lap down from the start, Madden looked good and his lap times were on par with the riders around the top ten.

18th Lochie Latimer - Took the last spot on the 20 rider main, beating out ten other riders, a decent achievement in itself.

19th Jye Dickson ‰ÛÒ Like Latimer a great result to make the night‰Ûªs main event.
2017 Australian SX Round 1 Observations
Jayden Rykers walked away from this nasty crash - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
20th Jayden Rykers ‰ÛÒ Maybe the luckiest rider on the track, how he got up and finished the race after his crash mid way through the main event I will never know, but certainly glad he did.

Also one of the few times I had a crash shot in focus instead of having the camera by my side as I watch it unfold.

Apart from the main event crash he was impressive, qualifying 13th and finishing 4th in his heat.

Riders not in the main that were expected to be there.

Wade Hunter ‰ÛÒ Wade suffered a big crash in practice. I missed the crash that happened in the whoops. He was taken from the track, but later reported despite it being the scariest crash he has had and left him beaten up, he would be ok.

Cody Dyce ‰ÛÒ Not exactly sure what happened to Cody, but did see him limping in the pits after qualifying, but not again on track after that.

Egan Mastin ‰ÛÒ The 2017 MX2 champion and newly signed KTM Australia factory rider had a big off during qualifying. He was able to pick himself up and before the crash set a time that left him 9th fastest.

He lined up for his heat where he finished 12th, but did not return to for the LCQ.

The SX2 class was considered a stacked class before the season started, from what I saw on Saturday night, that is more than true.

Mellross was in a class of his own at round one, especially through the whoops. He won‰Ûªt have it all his own way, there is nothing between the top six riders and another handful of riders who finished further back at round one who have shown in years past they have the potential to match anyone‰Ûªs pace.

Junior Racing:

I stayed out on track for the final junior lites and 85cc races. While the numbers were on the low side, the riders out there put on a great show. There is still something special about seeing 85cc bikes hit the finish line double, or the triple and the crowd certainly appreciate it.

Tyler Darby done the double winning both the junior classes, beating Blake Fox and Brodie Connonlly in the 85cc class, while Jake Cuka and Ezrah Demellweek-Dodds rounded out the podium in the junior lites class (125 / 250F)

With the junior nationals taking place before the next round of SX, we would expect to see more juniors at the final rounds of the series.

We will have a small junior gallery from J1 up later this week

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