Roczen rode in dominant fashion at the Unadilla Pro Motocross round, celebrating a 1 - 1 victory aboard his Wiseco-backed CRF450R. Read on for full details and photos.
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For 50 years, Unadilla MX has provided a venue where the most skilled motocross racers are tested against one of the most demanding and technical race tracks anywhere in the world.
The famed central New York venue affectionately nicknamed the “Capital of American Motocross” has hosted marquee riders who have gone on to become some of the biggest names in the sport. “Hurricane” Bob Hannah, five-time world champion, current Motorsport Director for KTM and Husqvarna Roger De Coster, three-time Pro Motocross Champion Jeff Stanton, and Ricky Carmichael, regarded by most as the greatest of all time, have all won races and made their bones at Unadilla MX.
Ken Roczen, rider of Team Honda HRC’s Wiseco-backed No. 94 CRF450R, added his name to that formidable list Saturday afternoon, tallying a 1-1 effort en route to a dominant overall win in the 34th running of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Unadilla Circle K National in New Berlin, N.Y.
Roczen put the competition on notice early in the day when he blistered the New York countryside in qualifying, setting quickest time in both 450 Class time trial sessions.
When the gate dropped on the first 450 moto of the afternoon, Roczen rocketed to the front of the pack on the first lap and never looked back. The German-born rider led all 15 laps and came away with an impressive 15-plus second margin of victory.
Later that afternoon, Roczen was back on the gate for the second premiere class moto of the weekend, and while he came up two spots short of a holeshot, the two-time Pro Motocross titlist was on top of the leaderboard by Lap 3.
Roczen flexed his Wiseco muscle over the next 12 circuits, cruising to another convincing win, this time by over 22 seconds. The twin checkered flags marked the fourth and fifth moto wins of the season and 18th overall career win for the 25-year-old rider.
“Everything just came natural and was clicking,” explained Roczen, who sits third in the Pro Motocross Championship standings, just one point behind second. “I’m liking the bike a lot and I like Unadilla too, so I just went out and had fun. I feel like when I’m having fun, that’s when I get the best results. As a team, we’ve never had a day where we were the fastest in practice and went 1-1 in the motos, and I haven’t personally done that in a long time either, so that race was definitely one for the books."
“It’s a big monkey off my back and a good confidence boost because we have a couple races to go. I feel like we’ve got the bike dialed in over the last couple of weeks and now I’m just going to leave it the way it is. Hopefully we’ll keep getting good results.”
Across the paddock in the 250 Class pits, the GEICO Honda team fielded a fleet of Wiseco-supported CRF250Rs for riders Chase Sexton, RJ Hampshire, Jett Lawrence, Carson Mumford and Jo Shimoda.
Sexton, the 2019 Eastern Regional 250SX Class Supercross Champ, led the way for the 250 Red Riders, putting together a solid 3-3 effort to come home third overall and earn his first podium since June at the High Point National.
“It was a rough couple of weeks after that race in Florida,” said Sexton, explaining some recent outings after a difficult day earlier in the season in Jacksonville. “It kind of just took away all the confidence I had. After that, it’s taken a long time to feel good again. I feel like I’m getting back to 100 percent and back where I’m supposed to be, which is on the podium. That pace we had (in the) second moto was fast, I was trying to make something happen but these guys (Dylan Ferrandis and Adam Cianciarulo) were good. They’re 1-2 in points for reason. I’m just trying to build after a solid weekend and get even better.”
Hampshire was credited with eighth overall, courtesy of a 12-7 showing. Lawrence, Mumford and Shimoda all made their professional debuts at the Unadilla National and were scored 13th, 20th and 36th, respectively.
With two races left on the 2019 schedule, Hampshire is fifth in points while Sexton sits sixth, 23 markers behind his GEICO Honda stablemate.
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will race in the shadow of Washington D.C. this weekend as the series sets up for the penultimate round of the year.
The first moto of the Geico Motorcycle Budds Creek National from Mechanicsville, Md., will be televised live on MAVTV Sat., August 17 beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 10 a.m. Pacific. Coverage for the second moto will shift to NBCSN beginning at 4 p.m. EDT, 1 p.m. Pacific.