Supercross

Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba

Author: Aaryn Minerds

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Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba
The second round of the 2016 Australian Supercross Championship was held on Friday the 14th of October at the Toowoomba Showgrounds with HGA Honda Racing's Justin Brayton walking away with the win in the SX1 class and Serco Yamaha's Jackson Richardson taking a wire to wire win in the SX2 class.

By now most people would have seen the results from the nights racing and there is a little info floating around about how the night went down and how some of the front runners and main championship contenders faired for the night.

Normally by this time after a race I would have had a quick overview race report posted along with the results, but the quick trip from South Australia to Queensland and back in less than 24 hours has thrown my a little out of whack, so instead of a quick slapped together overview, I thought we would take a little more time and go into a little more detailed report on the night in general including a overview of each individual race

Read below for our take on the night, but keep in mind that most of the night was view through the view finder of a Canon 7D MarkII so we might have missed the finer details of one or two incidents.
Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba
While the turnout was not huge the Toowoomba venue was a good place for Aussie SX and the on track action along with the show was first rate
THE VENUE and Track:

It was not the first Supercross race we have covered at the Toowoomba Showgrounds, with the venue being used by quite a few SX promoters over the past few years. The venue itself is very good, with plenty of fixed and temporary amenities bought in for the evening.

The top bar above the main grandstand was packed all night long and there were plenty of food vendors ensuring there were no big line ups for food for the crowd of about 3000 people that rocked up from the figures we heard which looked about right from the spread out spectators around the venue.

Crowd numbers were probably a little lower than expected or at least lower than the promoters had been hoping for.

It was always going to be a bit of a gamble running an event on a Friday evening but with the venue unavailable on a Saturday in the time frame for this years championship it was a gamble that the promoters took and to be honest I thought it could have worked very well. I remember as a kid going to watch Speedway on a Friday evening and it was always packed, but I guess in a day and age where a lot of people no longer finish work at 5pm things have changed somewhat.

With most tracks that are built inside the centre of a show-ground or even a speedway venue, the track itself was quite a distance away from spectators, especially when you compare it to somewhere like Jimboomba where the race fans are pretty much right on on the edge of the track. However I have spoken to a few people that were in the crowd watching and they have all said watching the racing and the view of the track was fine. The cold air and the wind was more of an issue for most.

The track itself was first rate and one of the toughest and most technical supercross tracks I have seen in Australia and while some riders adapted quickly there were others who took some time to get things figured out.

The technical layout lead to some very close racing all the way through the field in every race with a huge number of passes in every race. Riders were on edge all night knowing that one mistake could cost anywhere from a split second to a few second per lap if they got out of rhythm at the start of a long section of track.
Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba
The track caught a few riders out, with the Whoops, Dragon's back and the end of the long rhythm section catching a few riders out including Jesse Dobson
The Whoops where big, but nicely spaced out and were one spot on the track where some riders excelled and others struggled and they certainly jumped up and pulled a few riders down during the night.

The long Rhytham section after the Whoops had 90% of the field in fits trying to find a consistent fast clean line through from start to end. A slight over or under jump on any part of the section could easily throw a rider out of rhythm and cost valuable time.

The third section of the track that played a big part in the results for riders, especially in the SX2 class was the Dragon's Back to step off as the start of the final straight.

For the riders who could ride up the dragons back step onto the table top and over the final single before the finish line jump things were sweet, but for those who could not do it consistently or at all it was costing a good second or two per lap as they down-sided the final step of the dragons back and doubled out over the table top to single.

And of course the all important start played a big part at Toowoomba. With a pretty short sprint to the first 90 degree first turn it was important to both have an inside gate and also to get a good jump out of the gate, which of course meant a good qualifying performance and top finish in your heat race was all important.

I spoke to quite a number of riders during the night and at the end of the night and the feedback in general was the track was tough but very enjoyable and how Supercross should be.

The track did claim a few riders during the night including Bailey Coxon, Josh Cachia, Chris Alldredge, Jimmy Decotis, Todd Waters, Jesse Dobson, Joel Newton, Dan Reardon and Gavin Faith, but from memory all were able to get back up and either walk or ride back to the pits apart from Alldredge who looks to have sustained a shoulder or collarbone injury that will probably see his time racing in Australia over for now.
Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba
Hayden Mellross on his way to topping SX2 qualifying
Qualifying:

It was certainly a bit of an interesting start to the qualifying session with some of the fast group of SX2 riders not to pumped to be heading out onto a freshly watered track to kick off the session. After a bit of back and forth, riders hit the track for three laps to check it out before the session was set to kick off.

It was certainly more than a little slick out on track, with a few riders nearly crashing right in front of me as the hit the second turn and tried to get on the gas only to have the back end come around. Pretty much no riders were able to hit any of the sections they were jumping in practice.

After another session of riders slowly riding around the track as things dried out, the qualifying session kicked into gear. While some riders were able to quickly get back into rhythm and quickly started linking up all the sections they were doing earlier in the day, a lot of others continued to struggle and looking back over the night the session played a huge role in the final outcome of the night with riders like Serco Yamaha's Jackson Richardson and DPH Motosports Hayden Mellross who were the two rides to quickly get up to pace on the slick track going on to have great nights, while Josh Cachia who crashed a few times in the slick looked to loose that edge he had in practice and did not look the same rider for the rest of the evening.

In the end it was Mellross that topped the time sheets ahead of Serco Yamaha's Wade Hunter and HGA Honda's Jimmy Decotis.
Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba
Justin Brayton was quickest in SX1 qualifying
Some other riders who impressed during SX2 qualifying included, Husqvarna's Nathan Crawford in his first ride back from the injury that cost him a big chance of winning this years MX2 championship with the 6th fastest time.

CRF Honda's Racing's Joel Wightman posted the 7th fastest time and is quickly making the transformation from consistent rider to consistently fast rider! At the other end of the scale Geran Stapleton was left down in 15th position after suffering from bike problems during the session.

By the time the SX1 class hit the track it had come around nicely and riders were able to get straight up to pace. Even prior to practice it was clear that Brayton was again going to be the rider to beat.

While most took some time to figure out the track, Brayton hit nearly every section on his first lap of practice and by lap two had pretty much dialled in the lines he would use for the majority of the night before then riding around putting together a few different combinations in the long Rytham lane and from memory was the only rider who turned the two step on step of table tops into one big double, despite the short and steep transition between the base of the second table top and the following take off ramp.

At the end of the session Brayton who was fastest ahead of WIlson Coolair Motul Factory Suzuki Racing's Todd Waters, with NPE Monster Energy Kawasaki's Wil Hahn third fastest.

SX2 Heat Races and LCQ:
Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba
There were many great one on one battles during the night, but none better than the Jimmy Decotis and Hayden Mellross battle in SX2 heat 1
The opening heat of the night was an absolute cracker with round one winner Gavin Faith putting his Penrite Oils Honda out front with team-mate and 2015 SX2 champion along with Mellross quickly settling into second and third place.

Decotis and Mellross quickly had themselves embroiled in a great battle as they past each other four to five times in some close quarters racing.

However the Battle came to a sudden end as the race was in the final stages as Decotis crashed hard in the whoops putting himself not only out of the race, but out for the night and gave himself a long road ahead if he wants to win back to back Australian SX2 titles.

With Decotis out, Faith raced to the race win ahead of Mellross, with Raceline KTM's Dylan Wills in third.

The other big news from race one was Stapleton recording a DNF that would send him to the LCQ.

In heat two Serco Yamaha's Jackson Richardson gave us an insight into what the SX2 main event would look like, getting out front from the start and taking the win. Team-mate Wade Hunter looked as though he may challenge Richardson but a crash left him down the field as he scraped through with the final direct qualifying position into the main in 8th spot.

Two riders who more than impressed in heat two were, CRF Honda Racing's Kyle Webster who finished second, making it two top three heat race results in a row and Yamaha mounted privateer Tomas Ravenhorst who after looking good all day fired his YZ250F to third place in heat two.

Josh Cachia ran into more trouble crashing out of the heat meaning he would join Stapleton in the LCQ.

With four spots up for grabs via the LCQ, six riders lined knowing only two of them would miss out on the nights SX2 main event.

Stapleton put the bad luck of a crash and mechanical problems behind him, getting out front early and running away to a comfortable win.

For Cachia the night went from bad to worse as he crashed heavily at the end of the long rhythm section and was out of the running leaving four riders to battle for the final three spots.

Brody Cassidy cleared himself away from the pack to finish second, leaving Connor Tierney, Kaleb Barham and James Brown to fight it out. Nothing separated the three riders however a mistake by Barham put an end to his run leaving Tierney and Brown to cruise into the final.
Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba
Todd Waters and Dean Ferris had another great battle in their SX1 heat race
SX1 Heat 1 Races:

While the SX2 heats were full of action, the SX1 heats while still providing some great racing action, were a little more subdued. With 21 riders fighting for the 20 positions in the main event, the races were more about gates picks for the nights main event than for qualifying.

The opening heat was all about the American imports as Justin Brayton and Wil Hahn demolished the field, with Brayton winning by three-seconds from Hahn, with DPH Motosports Lawson Bopping some 43 seconds behind Brayton in third.

While it was good news for the leading two American's it was not such great news for Crankt Honda's fill in rider Chris Alldredge with the former Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider crashing heavily and looking to have sustained a shoulder or collarbone injury and very possibly ending his Australian season before it started.

Heat two was a battle of the Aussie front runners as CDR Yamaha's Dean Ferris and WIlson's Coolair Factory Suzuki's Todd Waters went head to head in a race long battle for the win. After swapping the lead on more than a handful of occasions, Waters edged out Ferris but just under two seconds, with both riders posting an overal race time quicker than Brayton's heat one time, setting up a great main event.

KTM Australia's Kyle Peters rounded out the top three 12 seconds behind the leading duo.
Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba
SX2 Podium - Jackson Richardson 1st, Hayden Mellross 2nd, Geran Stapleton 3rd.
SX2 Main Event:

The SX2 main event was owned by Serco Yamaha's Jackson Richardson, but despite leading from start of the second lap to finish, the race still had plenty of action along the way with Richardson himself taking full advantage of a little luck going his way.

It was Gavin Faith who was leading through the first turn as he snuck up the inside, while Richardson was stuck deep in the pack but on the inside. As the field turned in, the majority of riders were pushed wide, leaving Richardson with a huge hole to sneak through and he quickly put himself in second position behind Faith.

Faith looked as though he was going to lead the opening lap until the dreaded dragons back to step on caught him out, sending the American to the ground in a ball of dust while Richardson sailed into the lead closely followed by team-mate Wade Hunter and CRF Honda's Joel Wightman in third.

The rider most people had their eyes on in the opening two laps was DPH Motorsports Hayden Mellross. Despite rounding the first turn near last, Mellross crossed the line at the end of lap one in sixth position and by the end of lap two moved himself into third and just a couple of laps later into second position after moving by Hunter.

Stapleton was making similar moves as Mellross and by the mid point of the race had moved by both Wightman and Hunter to hold down third place.

Mellross put in a charge to try and chase down Richardson and while he was able to close in and also set the fastest lap of the race, he was unable to ever get close enough to put Richardson under any real pressure as the North Queenslander crossed the line to claim a popular win.

Mellross held on for a strong second place and moved himself into the points lead in the process.

Stapleton rounded out the podium to send a message to the factory riders that he is still a threat for this title despite his privateer status, while Hunter and Wightman finished in 4th and 5th respectively.

Mellross now leads the championship by a single point over Richardson, with Hunter a further five points back in third. Stapleton moved himself up to 4th position ahead of Wightman in 5th while Faith now sits in 6th one point ahead of Yamalube Yamaha's Jordan Hill and Davey Motosports KTM rider Lewis Woods.
Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba
SX1 Podium, Justin Brayton 1st, Wil Hahn 2nd, Dean Ferris 3rd.
SX1 Main Event:

While the SX2 main event only had one change for the lead, the SX1 final had a host of riders either leading or challenging for the lead at some point of time during the race.

It was KTM's Kyle Peters who claimed the Knobby hole-shot, however Todd Waters soon took over the lead position and started to check out on the field as he posted the fastest lap of the race on lap four, nearly a full second faster than any other rider on track!.

Soon after setting the fastest lap Waters was relegated back to fifth place after a crash at the end of the whoops section, then shortly after his night would be over as he crashed for a second time in the same spot.

Kyle Peters found himself back in the lead of the race, however it was once again short lived as the man on the move, Justin Brayton had made his way from outside the top ten and swiftly moved into the lead before the mid point of the race.

Brayton was not about to have things all his own way however as he was joined by both Wil Hahn and Dean Ferris in a battle for the lead. While a couple of small mistakes cost Ferris any chance of challenging for the race win, Hahn was able to close in on the back wheel of Brayton, however Brayton did not falter holding on to claim his second straight win and extend his points lead.
Breaking Down ASX Round 2 – Toowoomba
Justin Brayton and his winning team
Hahn crossed the line 2 seconds behind Brayton in second position, with Ferris a further four seconds further back in third.

Peters lost quite a bit of time on the leaders in the final stages of the race to finish 21 seconds behind Brayton in 4th, with Husqvarna mounted Jay Marmont taking a well earned 5th position ahead of NPE Monster Energy Kawasaki's Kade Mosig in 6th and HGA Honda Racing's Adam Enticknap in 7th.

Jay Wilson finished 8th on his Crankt Honda CRF450, while Luke Wilson made it two straight top ten results in a row with a 9th place finish. Lawson Bopping after a great start faded back through the field to round out the top ten.

It was a tough night for reigning champion Daniel Reardon with a crash leaving the CDR Yamaha rider to finish in 11th position.

For full results from the nights racing CLICK HERE

A report on the junior classes will be online shortly.

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