Empire Kawasaki racers Matt Moss and Cambell Williams both charged to podium performances in the opening round of the 2023 Australian Supercross Championship at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Saturday night.

In his first appearance with the team, Moss put in a strong showing all night. With good starts at an absolute premium around the tight, indoor circuit, Moss and his 2023 Kawasaki KX450 charged to three holeshots – including the crucial final race of the night.

After setting the third-fastest time in qualifying, Moss holeshot and led his five-lap heat, but a late mistake saw him slip out of the automatic qualifying positions. Undaunted, he then holeshot and won the last-chance qualifier to confirm his spot in the main event.

Moss scored one of the best holeshots of the night when it counted, leading the field for the opening laps of the final, before coming under pressure from behind, then making another small error late in the race. He crossed the finish line in a hard-fought third and as the best Australian finisher.

“The day started well and I felt good all night, but I made two costly mistakes while leading the heat, then a couple of lapped riders got in my way towards the end of the final as I was settling for second," Moss said. “I probably shouldn’t settle like that, as that’s when you make mistakes. I crashed but still got third, so I’m happy for the team and I.

“We’re already in a better position than where we were last year points-wise, the bike is really good and I felt at home on it straight away. It turns unbelievably well and is very nimble. We’ve got four weeks to work on our set-up before Newcastle, but it all comes down to me in the end. It’s up to me to put my head down, work hard and beat the guys in front of me."

In the SX3 class, Williams put in a consistent ride and avoided the ever-present carnage on his way to third in the final.

After a fourth-fastest qualifying time, Williams and his 2023 Kawasaki KX250 finished third in the heats, but needed to finish one place better to guarantee his place in the final.

A third in the LCQ saw him advance, and after a mid-pack start, Williams steadily worked his way forward and stayed out of trouble. His efforts were rewarded with a handy podium result, making the final pass when a rider ahead of him crashed in the last turn.

“I came into the weekend without a lot of preparation as I had arm-pump surgery the week after Coolum," Williams said. "It took a couple weeks to recover from that. As a result we haven’t done a lot of testing, so it was a good result to come away with third. 

“It was a tight-racing track and we got good points going into Newcastle. We’ll do some more testing over the next month to get ready for the next two rounds.”

It was a difficult night for Haruki Yokoyama in SX2. A P5 finish in his heat – courtesy of getting caught up in another rider’s crash – saw him having to head to a star-studded LCQ, where he finished sixth and missed making it through to the final. With points still awarded to those who didn’t make the 10-rider final, Yokoyama still picked up nine points for finishing 12th overall.

“It wasn’t a great day for me," Yokoyama said. "I didn’t have a great qualifying time and I had some difficult situations in my heat race with someone crashing in front of me and getting caught up in the pile-up. I had a bad gate-pick for the LCQ and it was just an average day. I’m already looking forward to the second round.”

The second round of the 2023 Australian Supercross Championship will be held in Newcastle on November 11.

2023 Australian Supercross Championship – Rd1 Adelaide, SA

SX1 results:
1. Dean Wilson 2. Justin Brayton 3. Matt Moss (Empire Kawasaki)

SX2 results:
1. Max Anstie 2. Robbie Wageman 3. Wilson Todd 12. Haruki Yokoyama (Empire Kawasaki)

SX3 results:
1. Parker Ross 2. Kobe Drew 3. Cambell Williams (Empire Kawasaki)