It was a pressure-packed final round of the SuperMotocross Playoffs at the historic Los Angeles Coliseum, and thanks to a third-place finish, RJ Hampshire jumped up two spots in the final SMX 250 class standings to take the bronze and lead the way for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team.
RJ Hampshire was eighth early in the first moto on his FC250, but quickly went to work and started to pick off riders ahead of him. He moved into third with seven laps to go, into second with five to go, and was challenging for the lead on the last lap…but had to settle for second. In moto two, he was eighth off the gate, and could only work his way to sixth before the finish. His 2-8 score netted him a third overall for the night and for the series overall. His next stop? The Motocross of Nations as the 250 rider for Team USA.
“The last round was pretty solid. I felt good all day and had good qualifying (2nd). The first moto start was good, and I gave myself a chance to win it there at the end. I charged hard and felt really good on the bike. In the second moto, I didn't get a great start and was just flat. I couldn't really get going. But I'm stoked to end it on the podium for the race and the SMX Playoff overall,” said Hampshire. “I'm really looking forward to the Motocross of Nations in France in a couple of weeks. I'll go back home, recover a bit, do a couple of days of riding, and head over there and represent the USA. I can't wait.”
Jalek Swoll showed what a mix of FC250 power and great start skills can do as he grabbed the holeshot in the first moto. While the championship battles raged around him, he slipped to sixth at the finish. In the second moto, a bit too much aggression with the throttle resulted in a mid-pack start, though he did recover quite a few spots to finish eighth for the moto, and also eighth overall for the season.
“Honestly, this being the last round is a bit frustrating because I feel like I'm starting to find the groove and know what I can do. My starts were on point today, reaction-wise, and just getting off the gate with the bike. I ran third for a while in the first moto and finished sixth. In the second one, I felt I rode a lot better, but didn't have the start to match. I just lit the rear tire up a bit on the super-dry stuff and it kind of messed me up. I just got a really bad start and came from the back,” said Swoll. “I have some things to work on for sure, but I'm a lot closer than I've been. I feel good but need a little bit of intensity. But all in all, it was decent. I was in the mix a little bit and left healthy...anytime you leave the track healthy you can put a smile on your face.”
Talon Hawkins showed improvement through the three SMX rounds, and an 11-9 score for the day only shows part of the story. He advanced forward four positions in the first moto and ran in the top five for the first few laps of the second moto. He just missed out on a top ten overall, and was 14th overall for the series.
“I was stoked to end it on a good note. I got my first top ten out of the three races. I'm looking forward to a little time off and then getting back on the bike,” said Hawkins. “I'm so thankful for the whole Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team for giving me the shot this year. I turned pro early, but I made the most of it and did the best I could all year long. I've learned a lot this year, and have a lot of good memories. Thank you guys.”
SuperMotocross Playoffs: Los Angeles Coliseum
250 SuperMotocross Results
1. Haiden Deegan (Yamaha), 5-2
2. Jo Shimoda (Kawasaki), 4-4
3. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 2-6
8. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 6-8
11. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 11-9
450 SuperMotocross Results
1. Jett Lawrence (Honda), 1-1
2. Ken Roczen (Suzuki), 2-2
3. Cooper Webb (Yamaha), 5-3
250 SuperMotocross Rider Final Point Standings
1. Haiden Deegan – 157 points
2. Jo Shimoda – 152 points
3. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 122 points
10. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 88 points
14. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 58 points
450 SuperMotocross Rider Final Point Standings
1. Jett Lawrence – 163 points
2. Ken Roczen – 146 points
3. Chase Sexton – 120 points