1) CAN BRAYTON CLINCH
The Two Time Australian Supercross Champ is looking to seal his third in three years, however he’ll have to watch his big red stable mate, Brett Metcalfe, who sits six points in arrears of the American. Together, the two have swept the Australian Supercross Championship so far, however with the addition of Anderson, Reed, Villopoto and more to the mix, the championship equation becomes far more complex. The game plan quickly turns from Brayton and Metcalfe squaring off, to a strategic game of chess where each rider demonstrates maturity, patience, and raw speed in a bid for the coveted #1 plate.
2) THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER
Hometown hero & Two Time AUS-X Open winner – Chad Reed, has experienced a complete overhaul in recent months, most notably piloting a factory Joe Gibbs Racing tuned RMZ 450. The general consensus is that Reed is the favorite coming in, having shown that he has his starts on lock at Monster Cup, combined with being on home soil. The Australian ace will face stiff competition, however the move to new machinery and a different environment could pay dividends as he look for victory in Sydney.
3) CAN JAY CLINCH
Having been the dominant force throughout the Australian Supercross SX2 campaign, New South Welshman Jay Wilson sits in the box seat for his first ever supercross championship. Sitting in close contention however is Hayden Mellross, Wilson Todd and American Jacob Hayes. With 25 points on the line, all three contenders are in position to nudge Wilson from the throne. The former MX2 Champion has experienced a number of turbulent years since that title, including stints in Europe, SX1 campaigns and borderline retirement, meaning that this championship would mean the world to him.
4) AMERICAN CONTINGENT
The American contingent on Australian soil is undeniably strong, with current World Supercross Champion – Jason Anderson, leading the charge. Accompanying ‘El Hombre’ is none other than four time World Supercross Champ, Ryan Villopoto, who has his eyes on Sydney’s ultimate prize. Throw in Brayton, Owen, Hayes and Alix, and you’ve got a strong case for the United States to be taking all trophies back to their homeland. Will the Aussie’s withstand the heat?
5) PROVING GROUNDS
With a number of riders coming out of contract at the end of the current season, the AUS-X Open will be a critical event for riders to prove their worth to prospective teams, as they look to solidify their future on the grid in 2019. Names such as Dylan Long, Luke Clout, Aaron Tanti and Dylan Wills along with a number of others will be out to put in a strong performance, in a bid to catch the eye of the top teams at the AUS-X Open.
6) ARENACROSS DOMINATION
The contingent of Amsoil Arenacross stars, both former and present, could play a major factor in determining the AUS-X Open victor, with riders such as Justin Brayton, Jace Owen and Jacob Hayes all having raced through the coveted Untied States series. The tight nature of the Arenacross circuits plays perfectly into their hands when it comes to the AUS-X Open track, with Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena providing the perfect platform for the same bar banging seen in Arenacross.
7) FORMAT CHANGE
The format change for the fourth installment of the AUS-X Open is set to shake things up in a major way, with the introduction of the Triple Crown placing even more emphasis on the start. Three shorter, back to back main events will see riders have much less time to carve their way through the field in the event of one bad start, which could in turn have a major impact on the overall result.
8) MELLROSS 3.0
Having come agonizingly close to the SX2 Championship the previous two years – in particular 2016 when he bike cut out in the dying stages of a sure championship, Hayden Mellross will be out for redemption come AUS-X Open time, with only 11 points separating he from Jay Wilson. If he were to win, he’d need a Wilson to finish seventh or worse in order to clinch the series, which with the unpredictable nature of the SX2 Class combined with the tight circuit, everything is still to play for.
9) VILLOPOTO RESURGANCE
If anyone thought that after his retirement in 2015, we’d see Ryan Villopoto back in love with motorcycles and racing, you’d also be considered a fortuneteller who already sees into the future. Seriously, the guy left the spotlight instantly, and worked within a friends asphalting company in his native Poulsbo, Washington. Two years later, he’s back living in Southern California, a very active ambassador for Yamaha, and willingly participating and training for races all over the globe. RV’s legend status has now completely surpassed his hall of fame career, as the now fan favorite sets his sights on not only competing, but winning Sydney’s AUS-X Open.
10) ANDERSON & WILSON’S RETURN
Having sat out most of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series in the Untied States this summer, Jason Anderson made a successful return at this months Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas, NV. The current World Supercross Champion will now return to Sydney and look to defend his AUS-X Open crown after last year’s dominating performance. Fitness, race craft and timing will be interesting topic for New Mexican native, as the Factory Husqvarna rider had been off the bike for a while. Rumor has it that he’s been out pounding laps at the Southern Californian facility over the past few weeks, so we may be in for a surprise with the rider dubbed ‘El Hombre’.
For Wilson, the scenario is much the same. The Scotsman was knocked out of the AMA Outdoor Championship before it began, and hasn’t raced since the final round of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship in May. The Monster Energy AUS-X Open Sydney will mark his first race back.