Round nine of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Washington State’s Washougal MX Park saw Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen continue his streak of strong rides, putting on an impressive performance en route to another second-place result via 3-2 moto finishes.
In moto one, Roczen got off the line to an eighth-place start but quickly moved into sixth halfway through the opening lap. He continued his push, advancing to fourth by lap five. The German then set his sights on the final podium position, eventually making the exciting pass while charging up Horsepower Hill. Once in third, Roczen rode smoothly to the checkered flag. When the gate dropped on the day’s final moto, Roczen launched down the start straight, narrowly missing out on the holeshot, then swiftly assumed the lead and began laying down consistent laps. He rode strong throughout the 30-minute-plus-two-lap race, maintaining the front spot until the final two laps, when he relinquished the lead and crossed the finish in second place.
- Throughout the morning’s timed qualifying practice, Ken Roczen struggled to find his groove on the slick Washington track, landing eighth-fastest with a 2’13.289″ lap, which was secured in the second session.
- For the third time this season, Team Honda HRC was pleased to have recovering rider Cole Seely at the races hanging out with the team. Seely arrived on Friday to attend an autograph session at Pro Caliber Motorsports. On race day he joined Jason Weigandt and Grant Langston on the NBCSN practice show and later gave an interview in the mechanics’ area prior to 450MX Moto 2. “Things have been going really well, and I’m a little bit ahead of schedule,” Seely said of his recovery process. “This weekend is pretty much five months in, and I’m hoping to start riding in three weeks. I started doing some casual road-bicycle rides a few weeks ago, and I’ve been easing back into mountain-bike riding too. It felt really weird after not doing anything for so long; I definitely felt like a squirrel!”
- Tucked along a hillside just north of the Columbia River, the Washougal track poses an interesting challenge for riders as they wind through the trees. “This track is very pretty but also really tricky,” Roczen explained. “Every lap you’re riding in and out of the shadows, so your eyes have to try and refocus every time to see all the different ruts and bumps, which this track has a lot of. You really have to be careful not to make a mistake. It’s even worse during the second moto, with shadows covering the entire whoop section before the finish too. Some guys wear tinted lenses to help with the transition.”
- In support of fellow Red Rider and part-time rapper Adam Enticknap, Roczen wore Fox pants at Washougal, with a special butt patch reading “My Bikes Too Lit,” echoing the title of the new single by Enticknap (whose rap moniker is”7 Deuce Deuce”). The song, which has a supporting video featuring a specially modified CRF450R, dropped on July 22 (7/22) and has been popular in the motorcycle industry, even performing decently on some mainstream music charts. Enticknap went 33-32 for 28th overall at Washougal.
- After scoring his third consecutive second-place overall finish, Roczen moved up one position in the championship standings and now sits third overall with 330 points.
- In the 250MX class, GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire was the top Red Rider, posting 10-4 moto finishes to make the top five. Chase Sexton was hurt by poor starts and took ninth overall, with Cameron Mcadoo was 14th. Hampshire currently sits sixth in points, eight behind fifth place.
- The Red Riders will now take their final break of the season before returning to action on August 11 for the Unadilla National in New Berlin, New York.
“Today went pretty well. I’m so close, but yet so far at the same time! [laughs] I can’t complain with how this season has been going though. We’ve found ourselves in second on the podium for the third weekend in a row. I think that’s pretty good, so I have to be happy with that. I’m so close to another moto win, but I just need to put together that last five minutes. We keep making progress though; we’re learning each week and trying really hard, so as long as we leave the races healthy and I know I did the best I could, then it’s a great day. This isn’t a track that I’ve really enjoyed in the past, so I kind of expected today to be more of a struggle, which makes me even happier with my finish.”
Erik Kehoe: Team Manager
“I know I probably sound like a broken record every week, but this was another step forward for Ken. I think this might be the best and strongest Kenny’s ridden in a long time. His plan for this season has been perfectly executed so far. He’s chipping away at it each week, building confidence, staying patient, and letting it come to him.”
Oscar Wirdeman: Mechanic (Ken Roczen)
“We had another good day, with Ken on the podium. He’s been riding really strong these past few weeks and we’ve made good progress getting him comfortable. Ken was down in California this past week doing some testing and we also had press on Friday, so he got to ride the track, giving us a chance to get things dialed in more before the race. We’ve got three more rounds and I think we’ll see Ken get another moto win before it’s over.”
1) Eli Tomac (1-1)
2) Ken Roczen (3-2)
3) Marvin Musquin (2-3)
4) Justin Barcia (5-4)
5) Blake Baggett (6-5)
6) Cooper Webb (8-7)
7) Benny Bloss (7-10)
8) Weston Peick (12-6)
9) Kyle Cunningham (11-8)
10) Phil Nicoletti (9-12)
450MX Championship Points (after 9 of 12 rounds)
1) Eli Tomac 401
2) Marvin Musquin 386
3) Ken Roczen 330
4) Justin Barcia 330
5) Blake Baggett 301
6) Weston Peick 247
7) Benny Bloss 224
8) Phil Nicoletti 217
9) Justin Hill 132
10) Kyle Cunningham 130