Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire made his first overall-podium appearance of the 2022 AMA Supercross Championship season on Saturday with a solid third-place performance inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. His 450SX teammate, Dean Wilson, also had a break-through night as he scored a season-best Main Event finish with seventh at Round 11.
It has been a long time coming for Hampshire, who’s led plenty of laps already this season. The Florida native had an encouraging start to the day, qualifying inside the top-five once again. In 250SX Heat 1, he powered his FC 250 into third off the start, quickly making the pass into second. It was smooth sailing from there, as he trailed the leader for the remainder of the heat to secure his third heat-race podium this year.
In the Main Event, Hampshire got buried mid-pack off the start but he quickly picked off riders to break into the top-five on the fifth lap. As the track deteriorated, Hampshire only got stronger as he gained two more positions to put himself into a podium position mid-way through the race. Hampshire did all the right things in the second half of the race to set himself up to secure his first (non-Triple Crown) Main Event podium of the season.
“We made progress tonight,” Hampshire said. “It’s been a struggle and I haven’t been comfortable at all. When the Main Event came, I just kind of managed my race and didn’t try to push anything and we had our best result of the season so far. So, I can’t be too bummed on the night. It’s a good way to end this little stint and we’ll go into the break and get some time on the bike that I’ve been racing. Hopefully we will have a new guy when we come back in a couple weeks for St. Louis.”
Team rider Stilez Robertson missed Round 5 of the 250SX East after injuring his wrist in a practice crash earlier in the week.
Dean Wilson made huge strides tonight with season-best performances across the board in Indy. Stepping up right away with a sixth-place in qualifying, Wilson positioned himself well for the heat. He charged into fifth off the start in 450SX Heat 1 and he set his sights on a podium position early on. Pacing the top two riders in third, Wilson held that spot until the checkered flag, capturing his best heat-race finish of the season.
In the 450SX Main Event, Wilson put in a commendable ride despite challenging track conditions throughout the race. With a ninth-place start, he rode inside the top-10 for the first few laps before settling into eighth for most of the race. He picked up another spot for seventh when his teammate crashed late in the race and he held strong to claim a season-best seventh on the night.
"Indianapolis was definitely a step in the right direction,” Wilson said. “I’m definitely getting closer to the guys up front but tonight was a very, very technical track. In the main, I just kind of struggled with the ruts and the whoops were really tricky. P7 is my best finish yet but I’m not real stoked on it because my riding wasn’t very good, but definitely some positives that we’ll take to Seattle next weekend.”
A top-three qualifying position for Malcolm Stewart set him up well for 450SX Heat 2, where he pulled the holeshot and battled for the early lead. Settling into second, he made a few attempts on the leader throughout the nine-lap race but wasn’t able to make anything stick, ultimately finishing second in the heat.
In the Main Event, Stewart secured another great start in third and he got shuffled back to fourth by the second lap. Riding in fourth for a majority of the race, Stewart kept himself within striking distance of the podium heading into the final stretch. After charging through the whoops, Stewart got cross-rutted in the next section and came up short, sending him over the bars and onto the ground. It took a while to remount his machine but he was able to cross the line in eighth and salvage valuable points in the championship chase.
“I feel like Indy actually treated me well,” Stewart said. “I’ve always liked this track and the atmosphere here has always been good. In the Main Event, I was sitting in fourth and I didn’t feel bad at all. The track was tough for everybody and I made one big mistake that kind of cost me but honestly, I’m just thankful that I’m okay. I’m a little bummed and irritated but it actually motivates me a little bit more to get back up there and get ready for Seattle. Let’s go get ‘em!”
Round 12: March 26 – Seattle SX – Seattle, Washington
Round 11 Results: Indianapolis SX
1. Eli Tomac (YAM)
2. Justin Barcia (GAS)
3. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
7. Dean Wilson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
8. Malcolm Stewart – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
250SX East Results
1. Jett Lawrence (HON)
2. Cameron Mcadoo (KAW)
3. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
450SX Rider Point Standings
1. Eli Tomac – 255 points
2. Jason Anderson – 204 points
3. Justin Barcia – 204 points
4. Malcolm Stewart – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 202 points
9. Dean Wilson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 135 points
250SX East Rider Point Standings
1. Jett Lawrence – 125 points
2. Cameron Mcadoo – 114 points
3. Pierce Brown – 87 points
4. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 81 points
8. Stilez Robertson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 67 points