RJ Hampshire takes sixth-place finish in challenging San Diego Supercross

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing endured a challenging night of racing at Round 3 of the 2024 AMA Supercross Championship in San Diego, California, with RJ Hampshire taking a sixth-place result in the 250SX West division, while Malcolm Stewart and Christian Craig encountered their share of adversity in 450SX.

Hampshire opened the day by posting the third-fastest qualifying time, before rocketing out of the gates onboard his Husqvarna Motorcycles FC 250 Rockstar Edition in the Heat Race. Despite a troubled affair, he eventually claimed P6 to transfer into the Main Event.

In mixed conditions with rain beginning to fall once again, Hampshire launched to the holeshot in the 250SX West Main Event, extending his lead to a two-second margin throughout the opening stages of the race. An all-out battle ensued for first place throughout the entirety of the race, with a late race mishap demoting him to sixth place.

“Just another mudder here in SD and another tough night,” recalled Hampshire“I got off to an awesome start and then led a lot of laps in the Main, but threw away a podium with two corners to go. Super-frustrating, but nothing I can do about it now. Time to go home, regroup, and we need a win next week in Anaheim.”

Tenth place for Stewart in 450SX qualifying translated into a strong Heat Race ride, as the number 27 charged the entire duration of the race and fell short of the victory by a small margin, claiming second place. An opening lap fall for Stewart made for a tough premier class Main Event, with a race impacted by errors resulting in a 19th-place score.

“San Diego was another mud race,” said Stewart“We qualified 10th in the dry, then got off to a great start in the Heat Race and finished with second, which pulled me out of a bit of a slump I felt I was in. Then in the Main Event, I spun off the gate – no big deal – and then I came together with another rider and went down in the first lane, which pretty much summed my race up. The bars were tweaked, so I visited the mechanic's area, but again my speed was super-good. We're off to a Triple Crown next weekend and my starts have been good, so I’m confident of a good night of racing in Anaheim to turn things around.”

450SX challenger Craig posted the 11th-fastest qualifying time, before improving to a fifth-place finish in his Heat Race and a direct transfer into the Main Event for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider.

Jumping out of the gates to a good start, Craig ran inside the top 10 before cross-rutting in the muddy terrain, which resulted in him coming together with another ride. A visit to the mechanics area meant that the Californian was buried deep in the field and was credited with P20.

“The day started pretty good with qualifying in P11,” Craig commented. “I was riding good and felt really strong, but then the rain came down, unfortunately. Got off to a sweet start to the Heat and was running up front for a while, then made a couple of mistakes in the mud, which shifted me back to fifth. I got another good start in the Main, but just cross-rutted in the mud and another rider completely landed on me from behind. It's racing, unfortunately, it took me a while to get going, took a trip to the pits, put my head down and did what I could. Another bad result, but we’ll put our heads down for A2.”

Next Event (Round 4): January 27, 2024 – Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.

Round 3 Results: San Diego

250SX West – Main Event

1. Nate Thrasher (Yamaha) 

2. Garrett Marchbanks (Yamaha)

3. Jordon Smith (Yamaha)

6. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

450SX – Main Event

1. Aaron Plessinger (KTM)

2. Cooper Webb (Yamaha)

3. Justin Barcia (GASGAS)

19. Malcolm Stewart – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

20. Christian Craig – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

250SX West Rider Point Standings

1. Jordon Smith (Yamaha) – 67 points

2. Levi Kitchen (Kawasaki) – 59 points 

3. Garrett Marchbanks (Yamaha) – 57 points

4. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 54 points

450SX Rider Point Standings

1. Aaron Plessinger (KTM) – 60 points

2. Chase Sexton (KTM) – 59 points

3. Jett Lawrence (Honda) - 56 points
17. Malcolm Stewart – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 14 points

18. Christian Craig – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 12 points