MENTOR, Ohio (January 7, 2019) – The skies opened and the rain fell just in time for the starting gate to drop on the opening round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, Saturday night at Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Calif.)
Despite the inclement conditions, Ken Roczen, rider of the Wiseco-sponsored No. 94 Honda CRF450R for Team Honda HRC turned in a spirited performance to notch a second-place effort at the annual southern California season opener.
The solid effort marked Roczen's first top-two finish in Supercross competition since last February when he finished second in Oakland at Round 5.
“All in all, this is like a win to me,” said Roczen who also picked up his first heat race win of the season earlier in the night. “I mean, my first (Supercross) race back after my injury and got a second here. I had to make a couple passes happen, but yeah, this is good to get out of here on the podium. We’re in a solid spot, because for these kinds of conditions, a lot can go wrong.”
Roczen's Team Honda HRC teammate Cole Seely, who also spent much of 2018 on the sidelines with a pelvis injury, finished 10th affording Wiseco a pair of 450SX Class top 10s in Round 1.
"It felt so good to get back to racing," offered Seely. "I was so nervous and excited at the same time, but also so happy to line up again. Normally 10th is something I'd be disappointed in, and I was a little bummed at first but after putting it into perspective and considering the conditions, I'm happy with it and just excited to be back. I'm looking forward to the process and to just building on my finishes each week."
In 250SX Western Regional action, Wiseco-supported GEICO Honda riders RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo turned in solid efforts of their own, with Hampshire being scored fourth and McAdoo turning in a respectable 11th-place result.
Hampshire, who was solidly inside the top six in both of his qualifying sessions, brought home his first heat win of the season in the opening 250SX Class heat race of the card. The Florida native ran in contention for a podium for much of the division's main event but a mid-race hiccup stalled his forward progress, leaving him fourth when the checkered flag flew.
"Glad to get back to racing," said Hampshire. "We had a good off-season. Practice went well and then the rain came. The heat race was a little sloppy, but I was able to get a good start and get out front. I won my first heat race in a while, which I was pretty pumped about. The main event came around and it was still raining pretty heavy. I got a decent start and was just kind of riding around in third for a few laps. I made a dumb mistake and went for the quad-quad in the rhythm (section) before the whoops and came up way
short. I went down pretty hard. Once I got up, I was in fifth but I still had a couple more close calls. Happy to get out of Round 1 healthy and ready to go racing next weekend!"
McAdoo ran near the front in the early goings of the 250SX Class main event but an incident left him deep in the field. Still, the South Carolina-born rider dug deep after laying his machine down, rallying to be scored 11th in the final rundown.
"I felt pretty comfortable on the bike during the day, but I'm never at my best in practice," said McAdoo. "I started to find my groove in my heat race and was happy to finish third there. In the main I was running around fifth, but I slid out on the little double-single after the finish and launched onto the concrete. I banged up my arm and got a little burnt, and the bike was bent up. So that wasn't great, but I did my best to get back up and rolling. The conditions were really sloppy, though. With all that rain, it got crazy out there."
Monster Energy AMA Supercross rolls on this weekend when the series makes its annual visit to State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The second of 17 races on the 2019 supercross schedule will be televised live on NBCSN Saturday, Jan. 12 beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 6 p.m. Pacific.