2019 Australian Supercross Championship
Round Three – Wollongong, NSW
Report and Images by AM
CDR Monster Energy Yamaha’s, Luke Clout has broken through for his maiden SX1 round victory at the third round of the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship held at Win Stadium in Wollongong on Saturday the 9th of November.
For the first time this season, Penrite Honda Factory Racing’s Justin Brayton was knocked off the top spot in qualifying as Clout made is intentions clear from the get-go, topping the time-sheets.
The track that was built from scratch in less than 24 hours after the original soil bought into the venue needed to be replaced. Despite the limited time to build the track, the Pro Traxx Australia team still produced a high quality full size Supercross track that produced a fastest lap time of 40.66 seconds for Clout, with his American team-mate Josh Hill posting the second-fastest lap time a fraction of a second behind at 40.702, while Brayton had to settle for the third fastest lap time.
SX1 HEAT 1
It was Oil Piping Services; Honda mounted privateer Jesse Madden who led the field out of the first turn in the opening SX1 heat, with Hill on his rear wheel.
By the conclusion of the first lap had Hill moved to the lead and was never headed as he quickly proved his worth to the CDR Yamaha outfit.
Team-mate Dan Reardon worked his way into second position and while he was able to close the gap to Hill he had to be content with second position.
Madden impressed holding on for a third-place finish. SB Motorsports Suzuki’s Jayden Rykers continued his good Supercross form crossing the line in 4th position, heading directly to the nights triple-header final event along with Rockstar Honda’s Jackson Richardson, Husqvarna backed Todd Waters and KSF Racing’s Gradie Featherstone.
SX1 HEAT 2
SB Motorsports Suzuki’s Cody Dyce shot out of the gate aboard his RM-Z450 in the second heat to secure the holeshot and lead the field. In an impressive ride for the former MXD champion, he held off three-time reigning SX1 champion Brayton for the opening three laps, before the American made his moved and raced to victory.
Clout again showed great pace, moving his way into second position and closing in on Brayton in the final laps, with Penrite Honda Factory Racing’s Brett Metcalfe rounding out the top three.
Raceline KTM’s new American import Henry Miller made a late-race pass on Dyce to finish 4th.
Empire Kawasaki’s Dylan Long finished sixth and Honda privateer Joel Wightman in 7th with the two riders taking the final two spots out of the heats directly into the finals.
Clout once again showed he was going to be the riders to beat, almost dropping under the 40-second lap mark with a lap time of 40.021 to top the timesheets in the Superpole event.
Brayton was able to improve his gate pick for the night’s main event, with the second-fastest time, followed by, Reardon, Hil and Madden while Metcalfe had his lap time annulled after cutting the track.
With 16 riders already qualified for the 20 gate three-race final, riders hit the line for the LCQ in a bid to claim one of the final four spots up for grabs.
South Aussie Yamaha privateer Elijah Wiese grabbed the holeshot, but it was Empire Kawasaki’s Lawson Bopping who quickly took control of the race out front and ran away for a comfortable race win.
Behind him, Yamalube Yamaha’s Richie Evans had his work cut out for him, crashing early in the race and leaving himself a huge task just to make the finals. With a lap to go, Evans moved into 5th position and entered a three-way battle along with Weise and Kawasaki privateer Jamie Harvey for the final two transfer positions.
Ahead of the fight for the final transfer spots, Honda privateer Justin Carafa powered to second position.
At the line, Evans was able to work his way passed both Weise and Harvey to finish third, while Harvey held firm to secure the 20th and final gate pick for the finals.
SX1 FINAL ONE
The opening SX1 final was a Justin Brayton show, with the American leading from the start and dominating towards a two-second race win.
Behind Brayton, Clout and Reardon went toe-to-toe for the opening half of the race, before Clout put an inside pass on his team-mate with the two riders bouncing off each other. The move would prove to be crucial for the night’s overall results, with Clout holding on to finish second ahead of Reardon, with Metcalfe in 4th. Josh Hill finished 5th with Miller 6th.
SX1 FINAL TWO
When the gates dropped on the second final, it looked as though Reardon had control of the first turn; however, it was Clout who exited turn two on the grass hill in first position, quickly opening up an unassailable race lead.
Reardon settled into second position, followed by Dyce who continued his break out night, though he was quickly passed by Hill, who also then made his way by Reardon for second spot.
Behind the leading riders, Metcalfe sat in 5th position, while Brayton was buried deep in the field with plenty of work ahead of him.
Things looked like they were all but done heading into the closes stages of the race, until Metcalfe stalled coming out of the final turn allowing Brayton to move into 5th behind Dyce, with the final result then taking a further turn after Hill made a mistake, slipping from second position.
At the line, it was Reardon who finished second to Clout, with Dyce celebrating an excellent third-place finish. Brayton salvaged a 4th place finish ahead of Hill who recovered for 5th, leaving Metcalfe to finish in 6th, just ahead of the Kawasaki pairing of Bopping and Long.
SX1 FINAL THREE
With everything on the line, it was once again Clout who took control of the race early, with his two CDR team-mates in Reardon and Hill running directly behind him, leaving Brayton with a freight train of Yamaha’s in front of him.
With the track breaking down and a single fast line created through the whoop section the race up front became a bit of a procession as the top four played followed the leader for the entire eight laps, leaving giving Clout his second straight win for the night ahead of Reardon, Hill, Brayton and Metcalfe.
Todd Waters had his best result for the night finishing in 6th position, just ahead of Long and Miller.
With his 2-1-1 race results, it was Clout who celebrated his maiden SX1 round win in front of a large contingent of family and friends who were on hand to witness the moment as the New South Welshman closed the gap to Brayton in the championship standings to just three points with two rounds of the championship remaining.
Reardon made it a 1-2 result for the CDR Yamaha team, leaving Brayton to round out the podium for the evening.
Hill gave CDR Yamaha three of the top four positions for the round, finishing just off the podium in 4th, with Metcalfe in 5th.
Long’s consistent night of 7-8-7 results was enough to secure 6th position overall for the round, while just behind him in seventh, Dyce carded an 8-3-14 scorecard highlighting the close competition through the midfield.
Bopping finished 8th, ahead of Waters who elevated himself to 9th off the back of his 6th place finish in the final race, while Miller rounded out the top ten in his first Australian outing.
Just six-points separate the top three riders in the championship, with Brayton leading Clout by three points, with Reardon a further three points back in third. With some world-class riders slotted into race the final two rounds of the series, the championship is still wide open, with Metcalfe still an outside chance 18-points down on Brayton.