CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team racer, Aaron Tanti, took up the fight to the big name US imports to charge to a second place finish at the opening round of the Australian Supercross Championship(ASX), held at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, on Friday Night.Tanti, fresh from his championship win in the 2022 ProMX Championship, showed he has the skills indoors as well as out, after finishing second at the opening round of the Supercross Championship, sandwiched between US based riders, Justin Brayton and Dean Wilson.
In front of 18,000 spectators, Tanti steered his YZ450F to the front of the pack in the opening laps and set down a furious pace that saw a four rider pack break away in the 20-lap SX1 main event. Tanti, Matt Moss, Brayton and Wilson edged away from the rest of the field but continued to fight for position at every opportunity.
Tanti led at the halfway point, but pressure was coming as the four-time champ Brayton, managed to find away through Moss and Wilson and set his sights on the lead. But Tanti wasn’t about to give it up without a fight. In an intense battled that mirrored their heat race early in the night, Tanti and Brayton locked into combat.
Brayton would pull a move, Tanti would counter. Tanti would clear-out, Brayton would wind him back in. Then Tanti went on a wild ride through the whoops that saw him lose control, have both feet off the footpegs as he torpedoed down the infield. Somehow, he manged to wrestle back control of his bike as it speared off track, maintain his lead and not take out any innocent bystanders in the process.
But the moment wasn’t lost on Brayton and within a few laps, he moved by the determined Australia as he was regathering his composure and checked out for a victory. Tanti steadied the ship and despite a late race charge from Wilson, Tanti crossed the finish line in second place and won the crowd over with his desire and desperation.
“That’s all I had,” Tanti said after the gruelling affair. “I wanted to charge as hard as I could for as long as I could and I did that, but Justin was just that bit better than me tonight, so congratulations to him.
“I’m pretty happy with how the night went and it gives me some confidence knowing that I can put up a good fight against some of the most experienced and professional supercross riders in the world. I did run out of gas towards the end, but I think if I can just keep a little more composure in the early stages and manage my breathing a little better, I can stay in it for longer.
“Thanks to the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy team for getting us up to speed and the crowd for having my back all weekend. I could hear them all round the track and its awesome to have so much support here In Melbourne,” Tanti ends.
The night wasn’t as good for teammate, Luke Clout. Clout had just returned from injury but was battered and bruised from a crash just a couple of weeks ago. Still, he was able to generate plenty of speed over the weekend and was well placed in the 20-lap final until he lost the front end early in the race.
While a low-speed crash, he fell awkwardly and took some time before remounting. He rejoined the race before going down again, this time injuring his thumb. He was able to pick himself up and complete the main event at a slow pace, but early diagnosis shows some internal issues with his thumb that will require further investigation this week. It is unlikely Clout will line up for this weekend’s round in Adelaide.
“I felt pretty good on the track all night and I got myself into a good position in the main and tried to settle in behind Aaron. But in the right hand turn after the triple, I lost the from and fell, then I got going again only to fall once more after hitting another rider.
“The RACESAFE Team feel there is a break in there and a quick X-Ray shows damage so I will see my surgeon on Monday for a full assessment and what treatment needs to be done.
“It’s not the way I wanted to start the championship and I was so keen to get back racing. I apologise to the team and our sponsors for letting them down, but I will be back more determined than ever once this is sorted,” Clout offers.
The CDR Yamaha International team also returned to Marvel Stadium on Saturday Night for the second and final round of the World Supercross Championship and it was again and mixed night for the team. With Tanti and US based Kyle Chisholm doing the SX2 (250cc) duties, it was left to Josh Hill to be the lone ranger in SX1 on the YZ450F.
Tanti continued his good form and in the three-moto final format, Tanti finished with 9-1-3 results to claim third on the night and fourth in the overall SX2 championship.
It proved to be a far more challenging night for Chisholm who was tangled in the opening lap carnage in all three motos and finished outside the top 15.
In SX1, Hill battled hard in each and every race to come home seventh for the night even with a low points score in race two due to a crash. His night was highlighted by a stirring ride in the final race where he come from just inside the 10 ten to snare third.
Round two of the Australian Supercross Championship now moves across to the Wayville Showgrounds in Adelaide this weekend where the action is expected to really pick up now that the championship is underway and every rider has a race under their belts after a two year layoff due to covid.
Australian Supercross Championship Results
Round 1 - Marvel Stadium
1st Justin Brayton
2nd Aaron Tanti (Yamaha YZ450F)
3rd Dean Wilson
4th Hayden Mellross
5th Matt Moss
6th Dylan Wills
7th Kyle Webster
8th Jackson Richardson
9th Dylan Wood
10th Joel Cigliano.