Victorian race fans were treated to a fast and furious night of racing Saturday night when the best Supercross racers from Australia and overseas converged on the country town of Bacchus Marsh to contest Round 2 of the 2017 Australian Supercross Championship.
Organisers of the event had spent the leading week converting the local Motorcross track into a fast flowing, challenging world class Supercross circuit.
The 770 meter track had the fast circulating in the minute long journey, with top speeds in excess of 70 km/h. GPS mapping showing that nearly 50% of this time was in the air there was no time for rest and riders needed to be on point every lap if to score optimum points.
The pits were full of impressive transporters of leading factory and privateer teams transforming the paddock into a supercross heaven.
Junior classes were represented with quality fields, joining the Clubman/ intermediate division for early morning Track walk before a cautious practice and qualifying session around the demanding track.
11AM saw the first gate drop in anger, with the ever-keen Junior Lites firing away. Bailey Mankiewicz (47) , Joshua Zorbas (7) and Tyler Darby (241) battled out over three races to finish in that order for the round.
Clubman / Intermediate class was dominated by Corey Watts (17) with Nicolas Brennan (309) and Jake Cahir (left to shuffle for the minors
Junior 85cc class filled the afternoons entertainment with a small but gutsy grid of future supercross stars attacking the track with Blake Fox (25), Brodie Connelly (N88) and Jake Kowal (43) going toe to toe from the get go, making parents in the vocal Victorian crowd gasp in amazement with their level of commitment to such a challenging circuit layout. The three finished in that order at every meeting.
Pro class SX1 and SX2 riders took their first look at the track at high noon in preparation for qualifying. As the public gates opened the eager fans were treated to a hectic session of qualifying runs by the big guns setting an electrifying atmosphere within the natural amphitheatre.
SX2 rider Hayden Melross (45) showed speed early with fastest qualifier and a comfortable heat win. Despite laying down the fastest lap in the final , a mid race retirement saw chances of a round 2 whitewash disappeared.
American import Gavin Faith (8) qualified 2nd behind Melross and looked promising in his heat race until crashing out while in the lead forcing him to line up in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), with many other top riders to transfer through to the 15 lap final.
As the gates dropped a full grid went hard and fast for over 15 minutes with battles in every corner, it was hard to pick where to watch but it was Faith that rode a calculated race to take the win in front of defending Australian champion Jackson Richardson, followed by a tenacious Wilson Todd in third place, having also transferring through the LCQ
SX1 had the fences lined at every contest. After a disappointing Victorian round last year, defending Australian Supercross champion Justin Brayton promised to give the fans what they came for and he certainly delivered with fastest qualifier. A poor start in his heat race had him weave his way to an entertaining 2nd place behind current Australian Motorcross champion Dean Ferris (111).
The Brayton/Ferris battle was expected as they lined up for the 20 lap final. The fans cheered as the gates dropped and the SX1 final was underway. After 20 minutes of chaotic racing it was Brayton that would take victory leading every lap ahead of Dean Ferris with Todd Waters the last to taste the champagne as the night sky filled with fireworks.
Organisers of the event would like to thank the teams and competitors for being a part of great event along with all Volunteers and Officials. They would also like to thank the community, Council and businesses and residents of Bacchus Marsh and surrounding areas for their assistance and cooperation.
Editorial courtesy of Monster Events
Photo courtesy of withvisualsphotography
2017 Australian Supercross Championship calendar
Round 3 Virginia, SA 28 October
Round 4 Qudos Bank Arena, NSW 11 November
Round 5 Qudos Bank Arena, NSW 12 November
Round 6 Jimboomba, QLD 18 November