With both 450 riders on the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team still on the mend, it was an all-250cc effort for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team as the series headed to Pala, California, for round one of the AMA Pro Motocross series. Fortunately, it was a three-rider effort, as Jalek Swoll returned to action after sitting out the Supercross season due to injury.
When the gate dropped for the first moto, Jalek Swoll and RJ Hampshire quickly showed off their starting prowess, as well as the power of their Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing TeamFC250s, as they rounded the first turn in the top two spots. After running in second position for the first two laps, Hampshire took over the lead, which he held to the finish for the win.
Unfortunately, in moto two a pair of crashes early in the race had him at the very tail end of the field. But never being one to give up, RJ charged all the way to 11th, which combined with his win in the first moto win, gave him third overall on the day.
"For the first round of the outdoors, I was so excited to come here and race,” said Hampshire. “It started off with a great start in the first moto. I've never felt like that out front where things felt that easy and I didn't really have to get out of my comfort zone. Coming into the second moto I was going to try and do the same thing and it's on me. I botched that start and was still kind of decent, but the second turn was mayhem and I ended up going down. I made up a bunch of passes right away, and then someone else got a little whiskey throttle and I clipped their rear tire going up the steep hill in the back. Then I had my work cut out for me. I was in last by quite a bit. I knew I had to put my head down and I was charging hard. I didn't know if I had a shot at the podium. I had another little crash near the end, but I'm pretty stoked on the whole day. I'm really happy with the bike, where we're at, our mentality. It's going to be a good year and I'm so damn proud of this team.”
After his first moto holeshot, Jalek Swoll had a crash that force him out of moto one, but despite he was able to return to score his first points of the season with a 20th-place finish in moto two.
“This was my first race back in pretty much a year, and it just felt good to get gate drops,” said Swoll. “Watching from the couch was not fun. Just being out here, 100 percent or not was the goal. The starts were pretty good. I was stoked about that and other than the first moto fall I feel today could have been really good. We'll get healed up, come back a little bit stronger, get some good motos under my belt, and start clicking off some goals this year. My confidence is still there. I feel like I can compete at the top level, so we'll take the starts and the little bit of momentum that was caught today to Hangtown.”
For rookie Talon Hawkins, this was his first crack at a Pro Motocross National, and he finished the day with a 20-17 score, and 19th overall.
“Round one was pretty good, and there's a lot of good to take from it,” said Hawkins. “I needed a better start in that first moto. I got the better start in the second moto, I just didn't ride the way I know how. We're going to work on that this next week and hopefully make something happen next weekend. I'm excited, and this was a good race for me to build off of as we head into the next rounds.“
Next Event (Round 2): June 3, 2023 – Prairie City SVRA in Rancho Cordova, Calif.
Round 1 Results: Fox Raceway
250 MX Results
1. Hunter Lawrence (Honda), 3-1
2. Haiden Deegan (Yamaha), 6-2
3. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 1-11
20. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 20-17
21. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 40-20
450 MX Results
1. Jett Lawrence (Honda), 1-1
2. Chase Sexton (Honda), 2-2
3. Dylan Ferrandis (Yamaha), 3-3
35. Scott Meshey (Husqvarna) 28-37
250 MX Rider Point Standings
1. Hunter Lawrence – 45 points
2. Haiden Deegan – 37 points
3. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 35 points
20. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 5 points
21. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 1 point
450 MX Rider Point Standings
1. Jett Lawrence – 50 points
2. Chase Sexton – 44 points
3. Dylan Ferrandis – 40 points