Local icon taking positives from an encouraging performance in Sydney.
Australian megastar Chad Reed has confessed he had no idea competitors could only take the Shannons Shortcut once across Saturday night’s 2018 Monster Energy AUS-X Open Triple Crown in Sydney.
Reed, like many, used the lane to bypass the whoops in final two of the SX1 main events, but then repeated the shortcut to take charge in final three directly afterwards.
Riders were only permitted to use the specialty ‘joker lane’ once in the finals, which ultimately led to a five position penalty for the experienced dual AMA and world champion at Qudos Bank Arena and demoted him from P1 in the final encounter down the order to sixth.
Home hero Reed was sitting third at the end of lap one behind Husqvarna-mounted duo Jason Anderson and Dean Wilson, only to make a move via the shortcut and then keep Anderson – who was in line for the overall after topping the first two finals – at bay. He wasn’t aware until race-end that he would be pinged by officials.
“Honestly, in the last race I kind of have to laugh, because what else do I do?” Reed told MotoOnline.com.au post-race. “I never even knew that you weren’t allowed to take the joker lane more than once and, truthfully, because of my crash in the first one nobody was around me and I didn’t have to take it.
“Otherwise I would have taken it three times [laughs]! So, you know, I mean it was only two or three weeks ago I did Monster Cup. At that race the whole time you’re thinking ‘don’t forget the joker lane, don’t forget the joker lane’ because typically their joker lane is longer.
“Here, you self-penalise yourself if you don’t take it, but in the Vegas they obviously penalise you if you don’t take it – I think the same penalty, around five places or something like that. That thought process and whatever, me not hearing or knowing, I wasn’t aware of the rule. A little bit of a rookie move there.
“Obviously I got to the front because I took the joker lane, which was something I shouldn’t have done, but you know what was funny is that I knew I passed Jason in the joker lane and I was just expecting that he would re-pass me back there.
“So here I am, with a completely different thought process thinking that Jason was just riding around until he took the joker lane on the final lap or something like that. When he didn’t come by, I didn’t know what happened because we don’t have pit-boards here, so maybe he was doing calculations. He knew the rules, he had the heads up [laughs].”
Despite the penalty that also cost him the opportunity of taking a potential fourth overall, Reed said it was a positive outing aboard the factory JGRMX-prepared Autotrader Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 after recording a mixed bag of 7-4-6 results.
Earlier, Reed defeated triple national champion Justin Brayton in his heat race and led Australia to victory in the ‘Showdown Relay’ against the Americans. A costly crash while running third in the opening final also denied him of a podium performance, however he’s taking positives following crucial race mileage.
Yet to cement a contract for next year’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, the gritty 36-year-old was content in showing glimpses of race-winning form during what doubled as the opening round of the S-X Open FIM Oceania Championship. He will also contest the New Zealand event in a fortnight’s time.
“We got good mileage here this weekend and every gate-drop is always a good thing even if the end result isn’t what you expect or what you want,” he added. “The reality is that you have to remind yourself it is only November and you’re here to put on a show.
“I feel that my show was a little less than what I wanted it to be, but honestly, the electricity, the excitement and the feeling of coming here and performing in front of the home crowd… in some ways it’s a lot of pressure. I take it personal and, for me, I want to give back [to the fans].
“You hear the cheers and I seriously feel the love, so in return you want to give them something to cheer about and to be super-stoked on with the performance of myself. I don’t think I fell short on that, but obviously I want my results to be better.”