The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team enjoyed its second-consecutive 250MX victory with a gritty performance by RJ Hampshire at Saturday’s RedBud MX National for Round 4 of the 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship.
It wasn’t an easy feat for Hampshire, who overcame his fair share of obstacles throughout the day, including lingering effects of an illness from the prior week. With a second-place start in Moto 1, Hampshire set himself up to overtake the lead on lap two and he held on for about three more laps before a quick tip-over dropped him back to second early on. Halfway through, Hampshire had charged his way back into the lead battle but he found himself back in third after going down in a corner. From there, Hampshire never let up as he clawed his way back to finish a close second in race one.
In Moto 2, Hampshire got off to a great start in third. Moving into second early on the second lap, he eventually overtook the lead on lap seven. However, another small crash dropped him back to second with about five laps to go and he fought hard to make up time in the final laps but it wasn’t enough to reclaim the race lead. With 2-2 finishes, Hampshire’s determination and grit earned him his first overall victory of the 2021 season.
“It was a special weekend for the boys, I’m stoked for this whole team and all the guys that believe in me,” Hampshire said. “To have what happened at High Point and then sit on the bike every day for two weeks, I was more than ready to come out and just destroy the competition. So, I brought that same attitude into this weekend – even though I was sick and under the weather, we showed up and kept fighting.”
Coming off his first career victory at the previous round, Jalek Swoll looked to carry that momentum back to the podium in Michigan. With a top-10 start in Moto 1, Swoll found himself on the ground more than once and he did his best to battle back to an eighth-place finish. In Moto 2, he put himself into a favorable top-five position off the start but a crash on lap three dropped him back to 15th early on. He fought hard for the remainder of the race to ultimately come away with 14th in the moto and 10th overall.
“I feel like today could have been good but I found myself on the ground too many times,” Swoll said. “It’s all good, I know I have the pace to do good things this season, so I’m just going to go back, get some rest and come back firing at Southwick. We’re just going to put it behind and keep having fun.”
It was an up-and-down day for Stilez Robertson, who took plenty of positives away from the fourth round. With a top-10 start in Moto 1, he charged into the top-five on lap two and battled up front for the first five laps. He ran into an issue with arm pump midway through, ultimately salvaging 12th in the first moto. In Moto 2, he grabbed another solid start in sixth and battled his way up to fourth early on, maintaining that position for the first half of the race. Unfortunately, he went down just after the halfway point and dropped a few spots to finish eighth. With combined moto scores of 12-8, Robertson claimed his best overall-finish of the season with eighth.
“Our speed isn’t bad, we just need to put it all together,” Robertson said. “Our starts are good and the bike was really good the second moto, so I can’t thank the team enough. I was running fourth and made a dumb mistake, tucked the front and ended up eighth. Next up is The Wick, so let’s have some fun!”
It was a tough break for Dean Wilson, who ended his day early following a crash at the end of Moto 1. With a 10th place start, Wilson put himself in a great battle inside the top-10 early on and he maintained a solid pace for most of the race. With two laps to go, Wilson underwent a crash on the tabletop, which resulted in some internal bruising, and he made the tough decision to sit out the second moto in order to heal up.
“It’s a disappointing way to end the weekend,” Wilson said. “We were looking for a good first moto and with just two laps to go, I drug pegs off a rut on the tabletop and I had to step over the bars. It happened so fast and I landed on my feet luckily but I bruised my inside organs a little bit. Unfortunately, I have to sit today out, which is hard to take because I want to get good finishes and keep getting better but unfortunately, we had this. We’ll see if we can make next weekend.”
Next Event (Round 5): July 10 – Southwick National – Southwick, Massachusetts