When the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, returned to action for rounds 11 – 17 in Salt Lake City’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, HRC / Honda’s Ken Roczen trailed Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac by just three points in the 450SX Championship. At the first Salt Lake City round, Kenny looked a little off, but he was able to charge for 20-minutes plus a lap and finished with a 3rd on the day—giving up 5 points on the day to Tomac and trailing by 8 points leaving round 11. Since then, though, the #94 has struggled heavily with his late-race fitness and, in his last three main events, has finished with a mediocre 5-10-5 scorecard. With that, Kenny has surrendered 2nd in the 450SX Championship to Red Bull / KTM’s Cooper Webb.
After Kenny’s 10th place finish last Sunday, he said he was struggling with breathing at elevation and also hinted that he was dealing with some health issues. “These past two races obviously haven’t been the results that we needed to be in the fight,” Kenny said. “That doesn’t mean that we aren’t still trying. Sometimes you’re dealt a hand of cards that are completely out of your control.” Kenny has been one of the most transparent factory 450 riders we have ever covered, but anyone could see he has been holding something back recently. Today, he gave a little more information and let us all know he had tested positive for Shingles last week.
“SLC 4 was a bit better, Kenny said today. “Speed is great and I feel pretty good on the bike. 2 days is not enough time to get everything lined up again after a disaster race. As everyone knows, I have been dealing with the virus for a while now and it also turned out I tested positive for shingles last Sunday. I know everyone is sick of hearing it and so am I. Unfortunately, those are things I can’t control. I can assure you I am doing my part to be ready and live healthily and doing all the things I can control. Huge thank you to all my partners that have always supported me in these last few years and continue to do so.”
We hope Kenny will feel better soon but, at this point, he is going to need a miracle to get back into the title chase with just three main events left to run. After 14 main events, Kenny now trails Tomac by 29 points, but he is just two behind Webb and you know he would like to at least salvage a 2nd in the Championship. One thing I can say is that Kenny is a beast if he’s getting 5th even with Shingles.