Max Anstie continued his exceptional form at the third round of the Australian Supercross Championship in Newcastle by claiming victory in the exciting triple crown format.
Words: Edward Stratmann | Lead Image: Honda Racing Australia
After taking home emphatic victories in the first two rounds in Melbourne and Adelaide respectively, Anstie backed that up in fine style by going 1-1-2 to secure his third consecutive overall SX2 class win.
Kicking off his evening perfectly by triumphing in his heat race by a whopping five seconds over Jai Constantinou, this served as an ideal precursor for what was to come.
Although he got off to a shocking start that saw him get shuffled back to around eighth heading into the second corner after being impeded in a chaotic first turn bottleneck, the Brit immediately recalibrated his focus to embark on an impressive charge through the field.
With time not on his side in the short six lapper, Anstie got down to work, swiftly making some incisive passes on the likes of Jaxon Hadlow, Kaleb Barham, Cole Thompson and Noah Ferguson to propel himself into second with four laps remaining.
Putting his head down, desperate to close the gap to leader and teammate, Wilson Todd, Anstie steadily went about catching the Aussie speedster. Clicking off some rapid heaters to get within striking distance come the last lap, Anstie eventually made the pass stick after an initial failed attempt with two turns to go to record a sensational win.
Come the second race, the 29-year-old had to do it the hard way again courtesy of another unsatisfactory start that saw him relegated back to sixth in the early exchanges.
Relishing the challenge ahead of running down the frontrunners, he wasted little time in finding his flow to stamp his authority on the race. Breezing by Todd, Barham and Haruki Yokoyama, the hard charging #99 then set his sights on leader Rhys Budd.
Having briskly got to the rear wheel of Budd’s Yamaha, there was much to admire about how Anstie set up the pass methodically over the tabletop before then controlling the inside on the subsequent corner to make the pass stick. Anstie then controlled the rest of the race to grab a deserved victory.
Entering the third and final moto eager to extend his unbeaten streak in SX2, it ultimately wasn’t to be for Anstie, who once more failed to get his start dialled. Even though he produced a polished ride and methodically carved through the pack to bag second following a clutch late move on Nathan Crawford, all the lost time spent duelling with Thompson, Todd and Ferguson cost him in the end.
By the numbers, the fact he clocked the fastest lap time in all three races and was the only man to log times in the 45s in each moto further underlined his brilliant night at the office.
“It’s great to be here in Newcastle. It’s my first time here and man I’ve enjoyed it. We’ve had some great competition – Rhys (Budd) did great in that last race, I was really happy for him – and my teammate Wilson (Todd) as well. Australia’s got some strong talent and it’s awesome for me to come over here and battle with the guys. I’ve really enjoyed it,” gleamed a delighted Anstie in his post-race comments.
He then added this on Honda Racing’s website: “It was a great day! I managed to take the win after some good battles. The races were short and intense, with this ‘Triple Crown’ format, and it was tough to make up time on track, especially as the other guys were pushing hard. Let’s finish strong in Wagga Wagga.”
Cutting a revitalised and confident figure under the ultra professional and competitive Yarrive Konsky Honda setup, it’s clear how much he’s loving his racing at present, which is being reflected in his results.
Holding a commanding 21 point advantage over Thompson ahead of the finale in Wagga Wagga next weekend and with one hand on the championship, expect Anstie to get the job done and end his hectic 2023 on a high.