Inclement weather during the 2019 AMA Supercross season opener at Anaheim’s Angel Stadium didn’t dampen the excitement for Team Honda HRC. In tricky, muddy conditions, Ken Roczen rode his CRF450R smoothly and methodically to secure a second-place finish.
When the gate dropped for the main event, Roczen bobbled and briefly came together with another rider, dropping him toward the back. He recovered brilliantly by sneaking to the inside in the first turn and salvaging a sixth-place start, then charged up to fourth place in just a few laps. At the halfway point, the German capitalized on another rider’s mistake to move into podium contention. He still wasn’t finished, setting his sights on second-place Dean Wilson, and he quickly began closing the gap. Roczen eventually made the pass on lap 16, then took the checkered flag in second.
The night also marked the return of Cole Seely, who had been sidelined by injury for nearly nine months. The Californian had to shake off some nerves, but he still managed to put together a solid performance in the challenging conditions, eventually finishing 10thon the night.
- On Friday night, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen and Cole Seely were joined by GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo at Bert’s Mega Mall for the first dealer appearance of the season, where they spent time signing autographs and hanging out with fans.
- Other than two pre-season events overseas, Saturday marked the first race for Jordan Troxell as Seely’s mechanic with Team Honda HRC. “My first race here at Honda was awesome,” Troxell said. “Honda has a deep field of technicians and personnel who are willing to pitch in and help, which came in handy since we opened the season with a mudder. It was cool for me to work with everyone, get my feet wet—literally—and see how the team operates on race day. I still don’t really know where anything is in the truck, so the days before, I was just opening drawers!”
- As has been the case for the past few years, American Honda had a huge setup for race fans in the Supercross Pit Party for the opening round. The area included two learn-to-ride areas, which had certified instructors on hand to assist and give pointers to anyone participating. In a camping-themed environment that included an Attitude trailer, much of the CRF lineup was on display, including the CRF450L and CRF250RX. Additionally, the all-new Talon 1000R and 1000X sport side-by-sides were on hand so that the Anaheim fans could get their first look. Attendees even had the opportunity to ride alongside Roczen in the Talon, thanks to a virtual reality simulator.
- With so much competition in the 450SX class, times were tight throughout the daytime qualifying practice. At the end of two sessions, MotoConcept Honda’s Justin Brayton was the fastest Red Rider, securing the fourth-best time with a 54.698” lap. Roczen was eighth-quickest at 55.027”, while teammate Seely was 12thwith a 55.380”.
- Roczen started the night program on the right foot, earning the win in the first heat race, with Seely just off the podium in fourth. Also impressive was MotoConcept Honda’s Malcolm Stewart, who finished the second heat in the runner-up spot.
- In his first-ever 450SX appearance at Anaheim, Stewart impressed everyone by running second for over half of the 20-minute-plus-one-lap main event. Unfortunately, the deteriorating track conditions led to Stewart sliding out in a slick turn and losing multiple positions. He maintained fourth until another mishap pushed him back to seventh, where he finished.
- The Honda CRF450R was the bike of choice for seven riders in the main event, more than any other manufacturer.
- GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire had a decent showing in the 250 West main event, finishing in fourth place. Teammate Cameron McAdoo was just outside the top 10 after spending the first few laps in the top five.
- To help raise money for injured riders, American Honda has teamed up with Road 2 Recovery by donating a 2019 CRF450R Works Edition, with the VIN number ending in 94. From now until the Supercross finale in Las Vegas on May 4, fans can purchase $5 tickets to put themselves in the running to win not only this incredible motorcycle—inspired by Roczen’s factory race machine—but also an autographed set of Ken’s Fox gear. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit R2Rhonda94raffle.com.
- On January 12, the Red Riders take on round two of the AMA Supercross series in Glendale, Arizona. On Friday, the riders will take part in a dealer appearance at RideNow Powersports in Peoria from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Mandie Fonteyn // Jonnum Media // email@example.com// +1 (951) 537-0454