Empire Kawasaki took on the opening round of the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Saturday night, where riders Dylan Long, Lawson Bopping and Bradley Taft all demonstrated encouraging performances. Advancing directly to the pair of main events with a strong P3 finish in SX1 heat two, Victorian talent Long pushed through the tight confines of the entertainment centre to record a 7-4 scorecard for fifth on the results sheets aboard the KX450.
“Round one wasn’t the best, I was searching to find comfort and we got a little better for the main events,” Long explained. “My first start was terrible and I came back from last, but my second start was better until I got pushed wide. “I banged bars with a few people, as you do at an indoor, but race two was an improvement and we got better as the night went on. We’re only going to get better from here, so now we're definitely looking forward to the next round coming up.”
Bopping, who’s still overcoming a health issue that has hindered him since the MX Nationals, also transferred directly to the main event with a motivating third place result in SX1 heat one. The New South Welshman took his KX450 to 5-9 race results for seventh in the overall classification.
“It was a fun night, but I haven’t been riding much since Coolum - I’ve been seeing doctors and still trying to get healthy and get over this illness,” Bopping commented. “It was a very tight track and a struggle for everyone, but my bike set-up felt great considering I haven’t done much testing. “I ripped a good start in the first one and followed [Justin] Brayton in second for a couple of laps, then dropped back to fifth. I had a terrible start in the last one and came back through, although halfway through they got back around me. It was good to get through it.”
In his first outing with Empire Kawasaki, American Taft experienced his share of misfortune to kick-start the series. The SX2 contender was fourth in heat one for a direct ticket to the mains, where his night turned around after coming together with another rider in final one. Despite a damaged KX250, he pressed on for 8-6 results for sixth overall.
“It wasn’t the best night and I haven’t raced since May, so I was pretty nervous to start with,” said Taft. “My heat race was alright and my first main started out well when I was battling for third, before he rider I was battling with made a mistake and came into me before the finish line. "I hit him super-hard and ended up going down. I bent my front-end up pretty bad and broke my front brake lever, so it was survival after that. I did what I could in race two and I was sixth overall. With everything that happened, it went as good as it could have been.”
The Australian Supercross Championship now heads to Port Adelaide in South Australia on 19 October, where the Empire Kawasaki trio will once again be aiming for success next weekend.
Photo Credit: Foremost Media