Joey Savatgy won two of three features in the World Supercross Championship (WSX) Australian GP at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne to capture the overall race victory, while Ken Roczen narrowly edged him for the inaugural championship.
“It was an amazing race,” Roczen told Fox Sports’ Kristen Beat after the final feature was in the books. “I really tried hard, Joey was going really good, the track was deteriorating. A lot of stuff going on. I really had a good start and went first into the turn, but Joey popped out with the holeshot. We collided and I almost went down.”
For the champion Roczen, each feature told a different tale. He earned the holeshot in the eight-lap Race 1 and led flag to flag. Race 2 got off to an equally strong start, but Roczen caught a rock and suffered a flat tire that kept him from earning any points. That set up Race 3 to be the decider.
Roczen burst out of the gate fast and led the field into Turn 1, but it was Savatgy who earned the holeshot and clean track. Savatgy led all 12 laps of the Superfinal with Roczen slotting into second.
Roczen needed to hold that position. If he fell to third, Savatgy would have had enough points to take the title. He beat Savatgy and Vince Friese by a slim margin of two points to become the first champion of the new international supercross league in what WSX described as a pilot season.
“I’ve had such an amazing experience. It’s been a tough ride the last few years, and that’s why I did this. I don’t regret it,” Roczen said, referencing his decision to forego a contract extension with Honda HRC in order to free himself to run in the international series. “I’ve had so much fun here.”
“I love coming to Australia, and I can’t wait to come back again. Finally getting a title again, especially the first one for my team, is nothing short of amazing.”
Savatgy settled for the overall win in Australia over Roczen and Justin Brayton rounding out the podium.
Next year’s schedule has not yet been announced.
— WSXChampionship (@WSXChampionship) October 22, 2022
Shane McElrath and Max Anstie entered Race 3 of the SX2 division of the Australian GP with one point separating them for the overall win. Fittingly, the two riders both jumped out of the gate fast and as the first lap was in the books, McElrath and Anstie ran 1-2 in that division’s Superfinal.
Championship points featured a little wider gap. McElrath entered this feature with a seven-point advantage over Anstie and did not need the win to clinch the title. He did not want to be a winless champion, however, and rode on the limit until the checkered flag waved at the end of the 10-lap race.
“A win is a win; it’s never easy,” McElrath said in a release. “These guys made it tough. We had minimal prep time but the Rick Ware Racing team literally never stopped working.
“To come out on top, and to get better every single time on the track, that’s really what we worked for. Praise God we’re here. Number one baby. I am proud of this team and what they’ve done in a few short weeks.”
Anstie took the early lead in Race 1 and held it until the end with McElrath earning second-place points.
Australian native Aaron Tanti won Race 2 over the roar of cheers from the home crowd. Running second, McElrath kept the pressure on Tanti throughout the race as the most meaningful pass of the night was delivered by Anstie over Mitchell Oldenburg in the final laps to keep the points’ battle tight for both the overall race win and championship.
The world championship is the first major title for McElrath.
MotoConcepts won the Team Championship with Honda taking Manufacturer’s Championship after points were tallied from the two rounds.
“Fans across the world were hungry to see supercross racing, and you need the courage of your convictions to take these things on,” said SX Global President Tony Cochrane. “These athletes are so talented, and the world wants to see that. We’re prepared to put that to the test. You’re going to see, in my humble belief, this championship grow enormously in the next two to four years.”