Australian motocross and supercross legend Chad Reed is just one of the many superstars expected to light up the sky over Auckland this Saturday night.
A popular many-time former visitor to New Zealand, Reed arrives this week to race at the second and final round of the Monster Energy S-X Open at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday evening – the inaugural event also holding FIM Oceania Supercross Championship status – and he will be one of the favourites to win after his solid performance at round one in Sydney a fortnight ago.
With two United States supercross titles to his name, Reed has genuine star power and he has set his sights on winning the S-X Open Supercross International FIM Oceania Championship at Auckland’s grand finale.
American Jason Anderson, the 2018 United States supercross champion, took the win over hometown hero Reed in Sydney.
The American dominated the first two races and eventually won the third and final race after Aussie hero Reed was stripped of his win after receiving a late race penalty, elevating Scotland’s Dean Wilson to the runner-up position.
Anderson is not making the trip to New Zealand, perhaps leaving the way clear for Reed or Wilson to dominate on Saturday, although nothing can be taken for granted in this most unforgiving of sports.
Plenty of fireworks, both on and off the track, are expected at Mt Smart Stadium, with Reed set to put it all on the line against the current US supercross No.5 and just-crowned Australian supercross champion Justin Brayton, four-time former Australian open class motocross champion and three-time former Australian supercross champion Ryan Marmont, former New Zealand and Australian MX2 champion Jay Wilson, from Australia’s Gold Coast, and New Zealand’s former MX2 world champion Ben Townley, from Tauranga, and American former Australian supercross champion Josh Hansen among the virtual galaxy of international stars who will line up on Saturday night.
“When I heard (Justin) Brayton was heading to Auckland in November I rang the promoters and said, ‘I’m in’,” Reed said.
“Last time we went head-to-head in the Southern Hemisphere it was an all-time battle at the AUS-X Open, but I got the upper hand and I plan to take him down again in Auckland this year.”
Touted as one of the greatest Supercross showdowns New Zealand has seen, Reed, who was the 2016 AUS-X Open Sydney champion, says he is hungrier than ever at the chance to claim the glory after missing the second half of his 2017 season because of injury.
“I’ve never raced supercross in Auckland, so I’m really looking forward to heading there to compete for the first time, especially for the chance to win not only the S-X Open Auckland crown but becoming the first ever S-X Open International Supercross FIM Oceania Champion.
“I can’t wait to take on my old mate Ben (Townley) and the other Kiwis on their home turf. It’s going to be the ultimate rivalry of Australia versus New Zealand versus USA, a true supercross battle for the ages.”
“I spent many months in New Zealand back when I turned professional, I love the place and the people, so think it’s going to be an awesome event at Mt Smart Stadium,” Reed said.
© Words by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
Photo courtesy sxopen.com
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The schedule for Saturday:
12 noon – Pit Party starts (open to all ticket holders)
12 noon – VIP Track Walk (Grass only)
1pm – Autograph Signing (Pit Party) with all Supercross and FMX riders
3pm – Ultimate VIP & VIP Entry Opens and Ultimate VIP & VIP Only-Program Commences & includes:
SX2 Free Practice
SX1 Free Practice
KTM Junior Challenge Practice
FMX Free Practice
4:30pm – Ultimate VIP & Corporate Track Walk
4:45pm – Monster Energy Rig Riot Commences
5pm – Public Doors Open
6pm – 2018 Monster Energy S-X Open Auckland – Event starts and includes:
SX1 Heat Races
SX2 Heat Races
Boost Mobile International Showdown (ANZAC vs International)
SX1 Yamaha SuperPole
Boost Mobile Best Whip Contest
KTM Mini Challenge
Monster Energy Best-Trick Freestyle Motocross
Yamaha 2-Stroke Cup Final
SX2 – Main Event Final
SX1 – 3xTriple Crown Main Event Finals
10pm – Event wraps up