Following a two-week break from racing in the 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team returned to racing on Saturday for Round 8 at the Unadilla National in New Berlin, New York. RJ Hampshire posted solid 4-3 moto scores to claim fourth overall in the 250MX class, while teammate Jalek Swoll battled through adversity to finish seventh overall in the class.
Hampshire showcased his speed right away, claiming second overall in 250MX qualifying earlier in the day. In Moto 1, he secured a top-five start and he fought hard to overtake fourth early on. Battling just outside the podium for most of the race, he made a big push for third midway through but a couple of mistakes brought him back to settle for fourth.
As the gate dropped for Moto 2, Hampshire jumped into fourth and he patiently sat outside the intense podium battle waiting for his moment to capitalize. On lap five, he made the move into third and continued to charge at a fast pace up front to ultimately secure third in the moto. With 4-3 finishes, Hampshire claimed fourth overall on the day.
“For the most part, the day was pretty solid,” Hampshire said. “I felt like we had more potential to be on the box but on a track like that, it was tough to keep it together and get the results. All-in-all, I can’t complain, it’s a solid weekend. I’m going to take the week to recover and Budds Creek is a good one for me, so I’m excited to go there.”
With a top-five position in 250MX qualifying, Jalek Swoll set himself up for a positive start to the racing in Moto 1. He got off to an eighth-place start and battled back-and-forth inside the top-10. He put in a strong finish to the end, securing eighth in the first moto. In Moto 2, he came together with another rider in the first turn and he began back in 16th on the opening lap. He rallied his way inside the top-10 halfway through and he finished strong to capture ninth in the moto and seventh overall on the day.
“The qualifying was good so it started off the day really well,” Swoll said. “First moto, I didn’t ride my best but I was fine with eighth for how gnarly the track was. The next moto, I felt like my riding was good but I went down with another rider early on and had to come from really far back to finish ninth. I just need two good starts in the next race and we’ll build off that.”
Stilez Robertson came into the weekend feeling a little under the weather but he made an effort to line up for Moto 1. After going down on the opening lap, Robertson fought through]h the moto to salvage 17th before making the tough decision to sit out for the rest of the day.
“We came in knowing that we were a little but under the weather, so I tried to put my best foot forward in the first moto,” Robertson said. “After moto one, the team made the call for us to just call it a day. I wasn’t myself; I went down the first lap and came back to 17th, which is definitely not what we want but we just need to get healthy and get back to where I belong.”
It was a tough start to the day for Dean Wilson, who lost his rear brakes in an early crash at the start of Moto 1. Wilson, rounding the opening lap in 25th, climbed through the field to salvage a 15th place finish in the first moto. In Moto 2, Wilson managed to turn his day around with a decent start to propel him into the top-10 early on. He charged into eighth midway through the race and maintained a solid pace to claim a season-best eighth in the second moto. With 15-18 moto scores, Wilson finished just outside the top-10 with 11th overall on the day.
“Unfortunately, I had a fall in the first moto and broke my rear brake pedal, so I ended up getting a 15th in that one,” Wilson said. “The second moto was a little bit better with an eighth, which is actually my best moto-score of the year. Two top-10 finishes would have been nice but we’re healthy and walking away.”
Next Event (Round 9): August 21 – Budds Creek National – Mechanicsville, Maryland
Round 8 Results: Unadilla National
1. Jett Lawrence (HON) 2-1
2. Justin Cooper (YAM) 1-4
3. Jeremy Martin (YAM) 3-2
4. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 4-3
1. Ken Roczen (HON) 1-1
2. Dylan Ferrandis (YAM) 2-3
3. Marvin Musquin (KTM) 4-4
11. Dean Wilson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 15-8
250MX Rider Point Standings
1. Justin Cooper – 281 points
2. Jett Lawrence – 273 points
3. Hunter Lawrence – 237 points
5. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 243 points
7. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 173 points
17. Stilez Robertson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 90 points
450MX Rider Point Standings
1. Dylan Ferrandis – 345 points
2. Ken Roczen – 306 points
3. Eli Tomac – 283 points
13. Dean Wilson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 102 points
21. Zach Osborne – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 33 points
23. Jason Anderson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 29 points