One thing you can be sure of in Toowoomba, is that the weather can be very unpredictable; and this was the case this weekend at Round 2 of the Australian Supercross Championships. As the sun began to set, it was glaringly obvious that riders and spectators were going to be faced with cold and blustery conditions for the night. Temperatures plummeted below 10°, with the gusty winds cancelling the post-event fireworks display. Despite the conditions, organisers were happy with the turnout, and riders gave it their all to make the night an exciting round of Supercross action.
The evening got underway with a pit party where fans got the chance to wander through the pits as the teams were kept busy with final preparations. Young fans were darting in all directions chasing selfies and autographs from their favourite riders. It was fantastic to see 2016 Dakar winner Toby Price mingling with the crowds in Toowoomba after an amazing year on the bike. Fans were able to grab free posters and signatures from teams, as well as shake hands with their heroes.
FMX legend Robbie Marshall and stunt partner Brad Burch didn’t appear to be fazed by the windy conditions, firing up the crowd in front of the main grandstand with a fearless display of FMX. The pair were forced to alter their pre-planned routine slightly for safety, but the crowds were impressed nonetheless.
SX2 (Prolites) were the first to line up in the gates with Gavin Faith on the Penrite Honda from the US, victorious with one second win over Hayden Mellross. In the second heat Jackson Richardson from Cairns, that set a blistering pace on the Serco Yamaha easily winning the heat and then going on to win the final ahead of Hayden Mellross and last chance qualifier, Geran Stapleton.
In the main game SX1, it was going to be a shootout between Australia and the USA. The big question was would it live up to all the pregame hype. Justin Brayton from the US laid down a 52.298 lap during practice to put the Aussie riders on notice. In Heat 1 it was the Honda rider, Brayton who finished ahead of fellow US rider Will Hahn on the Monster Energy Kawasaki, with Lawson Bopping in distant third place. It was the Australian riders Todd Waters (1st) and Dean Ferris (2nd) who both set faster times that the US riders, setting up what would be an epic final.
The night concluded with a gruelling twenty lap final. The crowd roared as the gates dropped and the fireworks began on and off the track. Early on it was a close race between Brayton, Hahn and Waters. Unfortunately, Waters suffered a DNF on lap 7, despite having set the fastest lap in the final. Brayton on the Penrite Honda powered on to claim victory, just ahead of Hahn and the fast finishing Dean Ferris on the CDR Yamaha.
In a bit of a twist, the top five SX1 riders were all on different bikes – Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, KTM and Husqvarna. Surely a promising sign the sport is in a good state right now.
After a fantastic night at the Toowoomba Showgrounds, the series now heads to Adelaide for Round 3 on the 29 October 2016.
Article and Images by Alan McIntosh and Nicole Jenkins