Photos by: Hoppenworld
Over the first eight rounds of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, RCH / Soaring Eagle / Suzuki’s Ken Roczen had won 13 of the 16 motos, led 211 of a possible 264 laps and had stood atop the podium six times, but Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac got the better of the German for the second time this year at the 2016 Washougal National. For Kenny, though—who went 1-2 to Eli’s 2-1—the day was a wash because the #94 did not lose any of his massive 55-point lead in the 450MX Championship.
With just three races left on the calendar, the former MX2 World Champion and 2014 450MX AMA Motocross Champion knows if he’s not feeling it, he can just cruise it in for his second 450MX AMA Motocross Championship. After Kenny’s 1-2 performance at Washougal, he sat down and answered some questions about his race in the Pacific Northwest, whether or not he will represent Germany in the 2016 MXoN and the crazy expectations that follow him at this point of the season.
Ken, you went 1-2 at Washougal. Can you talk about your race?
I’m actually pretty happy. This is not my favorite place to go to for some reason, but I liked the first moto. Obviously, you could tell, but this is the driest I’ve ever seen this track. It made it pretty sketchy with the sun and shadows that came out later in the day. Eli [Tomac] was just riding a great pace in that second moto, so I just stuck there in second and didn’t lose any points. I’m glad we have another one done, and I grabbed two good starts today so overall I’m leaving being happy. We went into a couple weeks’ break, which I think will come in handy for everybody. It’s all good!
Was the track different than normal today?
Not in the first moto, but in the second moto, like I said, that was the driest I’ve ever seen this track. Usually we’re racing when it’s pretty wet or muddy or something. It was pretty sketchy, but no excuses. It was another race, and Eli was going really good. I was just there by myself there in second.
What are you up to during the break?
My family is actually coming in. My mom, my sister and my little niece are all coming in, and we’re going to go to Utah. We’ll hang out a little bit there. We’ll do some hiking and some mountain biking and all that kind of fun stuff. We’ll do that and then go back to Florida. We’ll get back to work. It’ll be good to take a little bit of a breather and be home on the weekend. I think it’s really just the traveling. It’ll be nice to just be home.
In that second moto, were you struggling a little bit? I hate to say struggling when you got second place, but was Eli just a lot faster in moto two?
I think we didn’t do the right changes in the second moto. I feel like I should have just gone a little softer with my overall package—especially with the front end. At the same time, he was going really good so I checked up a little bit to let him by. I just wanted to see where he was going and stuff. I tried to stay with him, and he was pulling away.
In that question before, I asked if you were struggling and you got second. Obviously you’ve had a great year. Do you get tired of people saying stuff like, “What’s wrong? Are you struggling?”, when you get second?
No, not really, because I want to win. I don’t really care what any other people think about me or whatever. I want to win. Today was one of the days where I got second, and it didn’t bother me. Obviously I tried, but it didn’t bother me. I was just glad that this day was done, and second is not necessarily a bad thing. I do want to win, but it’s all good.
It it surprising how quickly that standard of only winning becomes your standard expectation during a season?
Yeah, I mean, no matter what, you can be crushing it all year, and you don’t win one weekend and all of a sudden you lost your game and everything. It’s just the usual, so it doesn’t really bother me.
When the series returns, we head to Unadilla. They call it a Euro track, but what’s your opinion of Unadilla?
I like Unadilla. I feel like I’ve done well there in the past years, and I’m looking forward to it. Any of the last tracks are pretty fun, and I’m looking forward to all of them.
It’s coming around that time to pick the Team USA riders. Can we borrow you for Team USA? Are you doing the Motocross of Nations for Germany again?
I’m not planning on it right now to do the MXoN. I would like to every year, but I think we don’t have a… ’cause back in the day it was [Marcus] Schiffer, [Max] Nagl and me, and we were killing it. But because everybody is so competitive—or at least the USA—the USA has so many good riders who are good, so even if one gets injured, another one pops in and they’re all good and battling at the front. For us, Schiffer isn’t racing anymore. There’s probably another good rider out there, but as of now, I’m not planning on it.
Thanks, Ken. We appreciate your time, and we’ll see you in a few weeks.
Alright, thank you.