Nathan Crawford finished 4th in Melbourne securing a career-high 2nd overall in the SX2 AUSX championship.
The final round of the 2023 Australian Supercross Championship (AUSX) concluded inside Melbourne’s iconic Marvel Stadium on Friday night, with KTM Racing Team’s Nathan Crawford recording a fourth-place result for the weekend and securing a career-high second position overall in the SX2 AUSX championship standings.
Taking to the full-sized supercross circuit immediately, Crawford traded places atop the qualifying timesheets on multiple occasions, achieving comfort aboard his KTM 250 SX-F machine in the SX2 AUSX championship. The number 199 would eventually enter the night program with the fourth-fastest time, despite battling an illness that impacted the Queenslander’s energy levels.
Launching to a lowly start in the opening Heat Race of the event, Crawford quickly sliced his way through the field and made his way into the top-five by lap three. Progress throughout the race resulted in a third-place finish by the time the chequered flag flew.
Jumping out of the gates with a fast start in the Main Event, Crawford sat well inside the top-five as the green flag flew, setting up for a showdown with all SX2 contenders in the mix. Completing the maths throughout the opening stages of the race, Crawford found himself in a position to claim P2 in the series standings if he held strong in fourth place, which is exactly what he did.
Battling against bodily fatigue throughout the 15-lap encounter, Crawford would overcome the adversity thrown at him by collecting a hard-fought P4 by race’s end.
The 2023 AUSX championship marked a convincing campaign for Crawford, who quickly put a difficult opening round in Adelaide behind him as he delivered a strong P2 result in Newcastle. Combined with his fourth position in Melbourne, Crawford finished the SX2 series in second place.
With the opportunity arriving to also contest the final World Supercross Championship (WSX) round as a wildcard, Crawford lined up again on Saturday, where he would compete against some of the world’s fastest 250 Class competitors on home soil.
An impressive 12th-place qualifying time, followed by fourth in his Heat and the opening SX2 Final holeshot, saw Crawford lead at the front, before an eventual fall relegated him to 17th place. An untimely DNF in Final 2, followed by a ninth-place finish in Final 3 saw him conclude his WSX experience with 15th overall.
Nathan Crawford: “Final round of Australian Supercross is done, and look, man, this whole day for me has been a real, real struggle, to be honest. I got sick out of nowhere this week with absolutely no warning, and today has been nothing but a stressful grind – my ears are completely blocked, which threw my balance off. I managed to ride well in a few of the sessions, which gave me confidence for the rest of the night, and then got off to a good start in the Main Event. I knew that Cole [Thompson] and [Robbie] Wageman were the guys I needed to keep close, and I was split between them. So, knowing that I just needed to finish close to them, I managed my race from there to ensure the P2 result for the championship. I put a lot of pressure on myself for this result for the team because they deserve it, so running off next to no sleep just made things tough and I actually broke down at the end of the race. We finished one better this year in the championship than last which is awesome, and now we’ll take some time off before looking towards next year. WSX was also a really good opportunity for me and, again, I felt like we were strong in terms of speed, but it just didn’t come together in the end.”
In addition, KTM Junior Racing Team revelation Cooper Ford pieced together a flawless performance for the final round of the CR22 85cc Cup in the Australian Supercross Championship finals, powering his KTM 85 SX to a wire-to-wire race victory, and the 2023 series title.
2023 Australian Supercross Championship – Melbourne, VIC
SX2 round three results:
1. Max Anstie (Honda) 25
2. Wilson Todd (Honda) 22
3. Cole Thompson (Yamaha) 20
4. Nathan Crawford (KTM Racing Team) 18
SX2 championship standings:
1. Max Anstie (Honda) 125
2. Nathan Crawford (KTM Racing Team) 94
3. Cole Thompson (Yamaha) 85
CR22 85cc Cup results:
1. Cooper Ford (KTM Junior Racing Team)
2. Ritchie Lawler (KTM)
3. Jack Nunn (GASGAS)
CR22 85cc Cup standings:
1. Cooper Ford (KTM Junior Racing Team) 68
2. Jack Nunn (GASGAS) 60
3. Lachlan Allen (KTM) 56