Team Suzuki Press Office – June 2.
Max Anstie: RM-Z450 – 13th overall
Suzuki kicked off the opening round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Series in Pala, California at the weekend with speed and consistency as the racers adapted to the high speeds and rough tracks of the summer outdoor series.
Twisted Tea/ H.E.P. Motorsports/ Suzuki’s Max Anstie started his second career assault on the series aboard his Suzuki RM-Z450 race bike and teammate Brandon Hartranft launched into his first year in the 450 motocross class on his Suzuki RM-Z450. The BarX/ Chaparral/ ECSTAR Suzuki team fielded Dilan Schwartz starting his first full season with his Suzuki RM-Z250 race bike and his teammate Derek Drake, who competes in his third season in the series, now properly outfitted with a Suzuki RM-Z250.
Anstie, applying his MXGP successes to the US motocross series, had strong speed and is in top form to impress this summer. The Englishman put in two steady moto performances to start his second full season with a good, stable base and a respectable number of points earned to start a strong season.
Said Anstie: “We’ve got the first one out of the way here at Pala. I felt my riding was solid and I felt good, but I’ve got some things I want to work on in the next few weeks for the upcoming rounds. Everyone on the team is working hard and we want to keep progressing and climbing up that leader board. We ended up 13th, but we want more, so let’s keep trucking’ on!”
Hartranft took his first race laps in the 450 outdoor series. Unfortunately, one small mistake kept him from a truly impressive 450 class debut, yet he came off the track knowing that he has the talent and equipment to compete at the sport’s premier level.
“Overall, it was a good, solid day for my first 450 pro national,” said Hartranft about his RM-Z450’s maiden outdoor voyage. “In moto one I would’ve finished in about 16th except I fell at about the halfway mark; I could only recover up to 21st position so unfortunately, I didn’t score any points in the moto. I got a mid-pack start in the second moto and fought pretty hard the whole time and earned some points. The track was super gnarly, especially the rutted finish line section. All in all, the Pala track was probably one of the toughest tracks I’ve ever ridden. We’ll take the positives from today and I can’t wait until next weekend.”
Said Twisted Tea/ H.E.P. Motorsports/ Suzuki Team Manger Dustin Pipes: “We’re glad to get out of the first round scoring a good number of points for Max. Thirteenth isn’t the end result we wanted, but we’ll take it for now considering this is not one of our riders’ favourite tracks on the series. Brandon had a little fall in the first moto that set him back quite a bit; the class is stacked this year and it’s tough to recover from even a small mistake. I’m happy with the way Max and Brandon rode. Both riders gained some solid momentum and I’m optimistic to see what we can do at the next round.”
Schwartz began his first full outdoor season already with enough speed for some great finishes in the 250 class. He ran into issues in each moto, but still managed to bring home points and was optimistic of where his speed stacks up within the competitive class.
“I felt good physically, so I was able to maintain a good pace throughout the whole moto,” was Schwartz’s main take-away from the season opener. “I’m happy with that because I know I can make it through each round without having to worry about my fitness. I’m excited to see how much I can improve over the season and I’m looking forward to mixing it up with the top guys here soon!”
Drake launched into his third assault on the 250cc class’ premier motocross series and spent much of his day fighting past other riders on the choppy, fast track that threw equal parts of sand and hardpack at the riders.
Said Drake: “It was a challenging first round for me, but the team and I know what I need to work on to get more success out of the season.”
The 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship is scheduled to run its full race season this summer with 12 rounds that cross the US coast-to-coast four times. The Suzuki racers and teams are primed for a great series and strong performances from the team, the riders, and their RM-Z450 and RM-Z250 race bikes.