It was the longest track in the history of supercross in Australia, and also the biggest crowd, with about 25,000 people showing up to watch. Many of the tickets were pre-sold after James Stewart was announced to be racing the event, but ticket sales continued after the announcement was made that he wouldn’t be racing. He was featured on the big-screen TVs apologizing to the crowd via video, and the crowd booed. However, they embraced visiting Americans Davi Millsaps and Josh Grant.
In timed practice, Grant and Millsaps were always among the fastest, mixed in with Reed (generally out front, and out front by a couple of seconds in the second practice session), 17-year-old man-boy Tye Simmonds, Suzuki’s Matt Moss and Yamaha’s Jay Marmont. However, Grant went down on the very last lap of the second practice session when he hit neutral after he landed on an on/off jump, going down big. The crash was oddly reminiscent of his get-off at the X Games earlier this year, but this time he didn’t land on his feet; he landed on his knees.
Beat up and sore, Grant still came out for the racing, which was an entirely different format from what we’re used to in the USA. Because the field tends not to be quite as deep in Oz, a 20-lap race would usually look really boring by about the halfway point. Instead, there are many formats they use, and in Brisbane, it was a three-race final in both the 450cc and 250cc classes. There were two heat races and an LCQ in each class, and then the top 10 450cc guys from the Heats each got to put in one fast lap in front of the crowd for gate pick in the final.
The finals were comprised of three seven-lap races with five minutes in between, and the winners were decided by totaling their points – 20 points for first back to one point for 20th.
Suzuki’s Matt Moss had dominated the 250cc class early in the series, winning all five of the first five races and clinching the title after the fifth round. The sixth round, in New Zealand, wasn’t a points-paying race for the 250cc guys, but Moss moved up to a 450cc machine there and continued on the big bike in Brisbane. In the first points-paying race since Moss moved up, it was American Kyle Cunningham who took his first win of the series and clinched second overall in the championship.
Cunningham dominated the first final, moving through the pack quickly to take the lead and pull away. But in the second final, Cunningham went down in the first turn. Still, he was up quickly and began slicing through the pack. He got up to second with a couple of laps to go, but by that time, leader Brendan Harrison, of the Titan Garages/North Star Yamaha team, was too far gone. Harrison took the win over Cunningham, on his Serco Yamaha YZ250F.
Near the end of the second final, it began to sprinkle, and by the time the bikes hit the track for the third and final final, it was a full-on, heavy rain. The rain, on the already slick and hard-packed surface, made for a very slippery affair, and riders were going down all over the place. Cunningham, on the opening lap, nearly went down big in the track’s main rhythm section by the start line, but he somehow saved it. Even though he was second pretty much from the start, he couldn’t cut into the lead of Shift/Motul Suzuki’s Lawson Bopping in the conditions, and Bopping to a much-deserved win, but Cunningham took the overall with his 1-2-2- finishes.
Bopping was second overall with a 2-4-1 and Harrison was third with a 5-1-3.
The 450cc class was also exciting on the night. Despite being pretty banged up, JGR/Toyota/Muscle Milk Yamaha’s Josh Grant put on a clinic in the opening heat, starting poorly but quickly working his way through the pack before chasing down Moss, who was well out front in the lead. Grant took the win and made it look easy. In the second heat, Reed fought off the early advances of Honda Red Bull Racing’s Davi Millsaps to take the win.
Reed was also fastest in the one-lap timed shootout and got first gate pick, and by the time the first final was on the line, it was a deluge. Rain was falling very heavily. However, it lightened up pretty quickly, and by race two the rain had nearly stopped and the track began to dry back out. By the end of the third final, the track was pretty raceable again.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Reed fought his way around the outside in the first turn at the start of the first final and quickly snatched the lead from CDR/Rockstar Yamaha’s Jay Marmont, never coming under a very serious challenge from there on out. Eventually, Shift/Motul Suzuki’s Matt Moss, Woodstock Honda Thor Racing’s Dan Reardon, and Millsaps fought their way past Marmont in the treacherous conditions as well. Moss was second over Reardon, Millsaps and Marmont. Grant got a poor start in the miserable conditions and ended up dabbing his left foot – it’s his left knee that was hurt earlier – and decided it was too much to risk and pulled off. Instead, he’s concentrating on healing up in time for Anaheim I.
Reed got the holeshot in the second final, but he went wide and had to battle it out with Marmont on the drying track, which allowed Millsaps to get up into the mix. Millsaps passed Marmont for second and kept Reed honest for most of the race. Moss, unfortunately, went down near the end of the second race and reportedly fractured his back in the area of T-7 and T-8. It’s the second time Matt has broken his back, and his brother Jake broke his back last year as well. Fortunately for Matt, though, he has no feeling or movement deficits at this time, so early reports are that he’ll make a full recovery. Reed took the win over Millsaps, Marmont, Motorex KTM’s Simmonds, Pacific Ink/Coastal KTM/High Roller Energy’s Daniel McCoy, Axis Motorsports’ Michael Addison, and Reardon, who went down on the opening lap in a crash with Moss.
In the final final, Reardon took the holeshot after hanging tight around the inside of the sharp first turn, but Reed chased him down quickly and took the lead. Millsaps eventually caught and passed Reardon as well, and he actually began making up time on Reed as the track was drying, but he ran out of time and never got close enough to Reed for Reed to worry. Reed took the win over Millsaps, Reardon, Marmont, and JDR Motorsports/MX Rad’s PJ Larsen.
Overall, Reed took the victory with a 1-1-1 over Millsaps’ 4-2-2, Marmont’s 5-3-4, Reardon’s 3-7-3 and McCoy’s 7-5-7.
Top Ten Results – Monster Energy Super X Triple Challenge
1 Chad REED, Monster Energy Kawasaki, 20-20-20 TOTAL 60
2 Davi MILLSAPS, Red Bull Honda USA, 17-19-19 TOTAL 55
3 Jay MARMONT, CDR Rockstar Yamaha, 16-18-17 TOTAL 51
4 Dan REARDON, Woodstock Honda Thor Racing, 18-14-18 TOTAL 50
5 Daniel McCOY, Pacific Ink Coastal KTM High Roller Energy, 14-16-14 TOTAL 44
6 PJ LARSEN, JDR Motorsports / MX Rad, 13-13-16 TOTAL 42
7 Tye SIMMONDS, Motorex KTM, 11-17-11 TOTAL 39
8 Michael BYRNE, Rockstar Maxima Honda Racing, 10-12-15 TOTAL 37
9 Cameron TAYLOR, SP Motorsports Byrners Suzuki, 15-4-13 TOTAL 32
10 Michael ADDISON, 07 Axis Motorsports, 12-15-4 TOTAL 31
Top Ten Results – 250cc Triple Challenge final
1 Kyle CUNNINGHAM, Yamaha, 20-19-19-TOTAL 58
2 Lawson BOPPING, Shift Motul Suzuki, 19-17-20 TOTAL 56
3 Brendan HARRISON, Titan Garages / North Star Yamaha 16-20-18 TOTAL 54
4 Luke STYKE, Yamaha 17-15-17 TOTAL 49
5 Luke ARBON, Kawasaki Racing Team 14-18-16 TOTAL 48
6 Kade MOSIG, Motorex KTM, 7-16-15 TOTAL 38
7 Ryan MARMONT, JDR Motorsports / MX Rad, 18-13-5 TOTAL 37
8 Taylor POTTER, Vision Motorsport, 15-12-9 TOTAL 36
9 Danny ANDERSON, Pacific Ink Coastal KTM High Roller Energy Team, 13-11-11 TOTAL 35
10 Lewis WOODS, Red Devil Mobil Racing, 8-13-13 TOTAL 34
Monster Energy Super X OPEN championship standings
1 Chad REED, Monster Energy Kawasaki, 157
2 Dan REARDON, Woodstock Honda Thor Racing, 136
3 Jay MARMONT, CDR Rockstar Yamaha, 134
4 Tye SIMMONDS, Motorex KTM, 122
5 Daniel McCOY, Pacific Ink Coastal KTM High Roller Energy Team,110
6 Cody MACKIE, Cool Air Conditioning Kawasaki, 88
7 Craig ANDERSON, Cool Air Conditioning Kawasaki, 82
8 Cameron TAYLOR, SP Motorsports Byrners Suzuki, 81
9 Michael BYRNE, Rockstar Maxima Honda Racing, 80
10 Robbie MARSHALL, Titan Garages / Northstar Yamaha, 69
Monster Energy Super X 250cc championship standings
1 Matt MOSS, Rockstar Motul Suzuki, 125
2 Kyle CUNNINGHAM, Serco Yamaha, 122
3 Lawson BOPPING, Rockstar Motul Suzuki, 116
4 Ryan MARMONT, JDR Motorsports / MX Rad, 103
5 Brendan HARRISON, Titan Garages / North Star Yamaha, 99
6 Lewis WOODS, Red Devil Mobil Racing, 71
7 Kirk GIBBS, Serco Yamaha, 71
8 Danny ANDERSON, Pacific Ink Coastal KTM High Roller Energy Team, 68
9 Adam MONEA, SP Motorsport / Byrners Suzuki, 66
10 Luke ARBON, Kawasaki Racing Team, 5