Joey Savatgy wins WSX Australian GP; Ken Roczen takes home the inaugural title

World Supercross Championship

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.

MORE: Eli Tomac wins WSX British GP with a perfect score

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.”

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.