Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire fought his way to another top-five overall in the 250MX class with 5-4 moto finishes at Round 7 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Millville, Minnesota.
Hampshire got a top-10 start in the first moto and climbed up to seventh right away. Passing his teammate Robertson for sixth, he continued to plug away, reaching as far up as fourth. He got passed later in the race and dropped back to fifth, where he ultimately finished. In Moto 2, he got off to a sixth-place start and he quickly battled up to fourth early on. Fighting hard to make a late-race pass for third, Hampshire ended up going down just before the finish, but he was still able to salvage fourth in Moto 2. With combined scores of 5-4, Hampshire secured fifth overall on the day.
“It was a dog fight all day but I felt like I rode pretty well,” Hampshire said. “Second moto, I felt more comfortable but I had to ride so hard. It’s a bit frustrating but I feel like we’re riding probably the best I ever have and in control, just need a little bit more speed. I’ll go home this week and have a pretty good setup coming into next week.”
It was a heartbreaking ending to the day for both Jalek Swoll and Stilez Robertson, who each started off the day positively. In the first moto, it was Robertson who found his footing early on with a seventh-place start, while Swoll sat back in 13th after coming together with another rider after the start. Robertson passed up to sixth early on and he bounced around inside the top-10 for the rest of the race, dealing with a minor bike issue that had him finishing 10th in the first moto.
Swoll made a steady climb through the field, passing his teammate Robertson later in the race to ultimately secure ninth in Moto 1.
In Moto 2, Swoll and Robertson got caught up in a multi-rider pileup through the sand whoops and both riders found themselves on the ground and dead last at the start of lap one. In an unrelated crash, the race was red flagged early on and despite a second-chance to line up in a restart, Robertson was unable to make it, due to an injured ankle. Swoll attempted to return to the gate for a restart but ultimately made the decision to sit out the second moto as well.
“I didn’t have the best start in Moto 1 but I feel like the riding was pretty good and I finally felt like I was finding some comfort out there,” Swoll said. “Moto 2 was cut really short – just one of those racing incidents – and there’s nothing much I could have done. It is what it is, I had to sit that one out, but the positives are for sure in the right direction and I’m pretty excited to go racing next weekend.”
“My day was eventful,” Robertson said. “I qualified almost the best I have all year, so I was excited. First moto, I think I had a little bike problem that hindered me a little bit. In the second moto, I saw the two riders crash in front of me and I tried to go left and unfortunately my teammate was there and I hit him. I folded my ankle pretty hard and that’s all she wrote. I’m going to go home and get it checked out and try to get back as quick as I can.”
In his AMA Pro Motocross debut, Talon Hawkins had a steady performance to earn his first championship points in the 250MX class. He was mid-pack off the start of Moto 1 and he charged up to 19th early in the race, maintaining that position for a few laps. He later dropped back to 20th, where he ultimately finished. In Moto 2, Hawkins had a much better run after the red flag restart, sitting just inside the top-20 on lap one. He made a few passes up to 15th later in the race and from there, he rode strong to close out a solid debut in the professional ranks. Hawkins will return to the amateur circuit later this month to compete at the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s.
“It was so sick!” Hawkins said. “I came into today looking to have some fun and I think I accomplished that goal. I didn’t do the best in qualifying but I tried to put it behind me and do as well as I could in the race. I had an awesome day, I ended up with a 20-15, so I’m pretty pumped on that for my first Pro National.”
Fill-in rider Shane McElrath captured a top-10 overall finish at the seventh round, carrying 10-11 moto scores on the day.
“It was a better day, I would say for the most part we were better and more consistent,” McElrath said. “First moto was probably my best first moto and in the second moto, I really struggled with the track and fighting with the bike pretty bad. Still trying to figure out how I can go faster and maintain that but we’re going to keep working.”
Next Event (Round 8): July 23 – Washougal National – Washougal, Washington
Round 7 Results: Spring Creek National
1. Jett Lawrence (HON) 1-1
2. Jo Shimoda (KAW) 3-2
3. Hunter Lawrence (HON) 2-5
5. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 5-4
15. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 9-38
16. Stilez Robertson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 10-39
19. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 20-15
1. Eli Tomac (KAW) 1-1
2.Chase Sexton (HON) 2-2
3. Jason Anderson (KAW) 3-4
9. Shane McElrath – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 10-11
250MX Rider Point Standings
1. Jett Lawrence – 311 points
2. Hunter Lawrence – 284 points
3. Jo Shimoda – 266 points
8. Stilez Robertson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 169 points
9. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 166 points
18. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 52 points
450MX Rider Point Standings
1. Eli Tomac – 317 points
2. Chase Sexton – 312 points
3. Jason Anderson – 245 points
10. Shane McElrath – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 139 points