The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team had a mixed day in Colorado for Round 2 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Known for its high altitude and rough track conditions, the Thunder Valley National delivered its fair share of obstacles on Saturday but that didn’t stop RJ Hampshire from assembling a stellar podium performance in 250MX Moto 1, while teammate Jalek Swoll made solid improvements from the last round to finish seventh overall in the 250MX class.
In Moto 1, Hampshire nailed a top-three start and he battled just behind the leaders all race long. Maintaining a strong pace through all 16 laps, Hampshire put a stamp on it to earn a podium finish in the first moto. In Moto 2, Hampshire got off to a fourth-place start and he was positioning himself to go after the podium battle on the opening lap until a crash sent him back to nearly dead last early on. Hampshire dug deep and fought his way back through the field to secure a 19th-place finish and earn a valuable point towards the championship chase.
“I felt great on the bike again today. I was comfortable and I knew we had a pretty good bike going into the motos,” Hampshire said. “I got a good start in Moto 1 and probably did one of the best motos I’ve ever done in my pro career. In Moto 2, we got a good start and made a simple little mistake that cost me big time. It’s a bummer because it definitely doesn’t show how good we were riding and how good of a spot we’re at physically right now. I tried to dig deep there just to get some points because there was a big shake-up in the championship this weekend, so I’m trying to keep myself in this. We’re headed back east and I think we’re going to continue to get better from here.”
In Moto 1, Jalek Swoll grabbed a ninth-place start and battled around the top-10 all race long to ultimately capture 10th in the first moto. In Moto 2, Swoll had a great jump off the line and he engaged in battle up front early on the opening lap. He settled into fifth by the second lap and he kept himself in touch with the front-runners throughout the race to ultimately secure sixth in the moto and seventh overall.
“I’m content with the day but not stoked. We’re going in the right direction so there are always some positives to take out of it,” Swoll said. “I think the more we race, the better the bike will get and the better my fitness and all that kind of stuff will get. By these next few rounds, I should be right up there with the top of them. Just having fun and taking it step by step. I kind of feel like this season is my rookie season because I’ve been hurt every outdoors but I’ve been enjoying the grind and we’ll keep taking it step-by-step.”
Stilez Robertson had a strong start to the day’s racing, where he grabbed a top-five start in Moto 1 and ran with the top riders early in the race. He unfortunately ran into a bike issue about five laps in and wasn’t able to finish the first moto. He lined back up for Moto 2, where he found himself back in 25th on the opening lap. Just as he began climbing through the pack, Robertson encountered another bike issue that would ultimately end his day early in Colorado.
“It’s a bummer that we had bike problems today but we’ll get it fixed and come back stronger,” Robertson said. “I’m really hungry for more, I want to be up front. I’m tired of being in the back so we’re going to put our head down these next two weeks and come out swinging at High Point.”
Defending 450MX Champion Zach Osborne came into the second round with high hopes and he put himself in a great position right away with a seventh in qualifying. In Moto 1, Osborne got off to a fourth-place start aboard his FC 450 Rockstar Edition and he charged just behind the podium battle for the first half of the race. However, things took a turn when he felt his ongoing back injury flare up during the moto. Digging deep, Osborne finished out the first moto in 12th but he ultimately made the tough decision to sit out the second moto.
Dean Wilson had a few struggles out of the gate in Moto 1, where he rounded the first lap in 18th. He climbed a few positions early in the race to ultimately finish 16th. In Moto 2, Wilson got off to a better start and he positioned himself around the top-10 battle early on. He got passed later in the race to ultimately finish 12th in the second moto and 14th overall for the day.
“The day was pretty rough, I was just struggling with a few things myself,” Wilson said. “The second moto was a little better than the first, I was in the mix up in 11th for a little bit and then I got passed for 12th. It’s a tough class and I need to just keep plugging away and trying to get better every moto.”
Next Event (Round 3): June 19 – High Point National – Mount Morris, Pennsylvania