After a rough start to the SuperMotocross playoffs in Charlotte, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team came to Chicagoland with renewed focus and hunger for results. The long, flowing track provided ample opportunity to show the true speed of their FC250s, with high speeds, and nearly two-minute lap times.
RJ Hampshire’s day got off to a great start as he grabbed the top spot in qualifying among the 250 competitors. When the gate dropped for the first 250 moto, he was in the sixth spot as they crossed the stripe. He moved to fourth spot for three laps before settling into fifth for the rest of the moto. He currently sits in fifth overall in the playoff standings, with one round to go.
“This was much improved from last weekend. Last weekend was such a struggle I was just looking for any type of positive from this weekend, and I came out and was P1 in practice...I believe that's one of my first poles of the season, and then just two solid motos. I didn't get great starts, but I didn't get terrible starts, so fourth overall on the day.,” said Hampshire. “I'm not stoked on it, but it's a huge improvement so we'll take that into L.A. next weekend where it's a more Supercross track. Hopefully, my back heals from this track today, and then I'll be ready to go next weekend.”
Jalek Swoll was eighth out of the gate in moto one, and was ninth for a good portion of the race before moving to seventh at the checkers. In moto two, a poor start had him near the back of the 22-rider field, but he rebounded to 11th before a late-race crash dropped him to 13th at the finish.
“Moto one was okay, but I would've liked to get more comfortable earlier on. That was P7. In the second moto, it was not a good start and I wasn't riding too well and had a big crash at the end, so it wasn't the best day but I still feel good and feel like I can run up there. I just need that start,” said Swoll. “All in all, I'm not broken up, so we'll be good and continue to fight in L.A.”
Getting to the end of his rookie season, Talon Hawkins is still learning the ins and outs of the pro scene. But in a new playoff format where even veterans struggle to make the right setup choices, the playoffs have been a challenge. His 15-15 moto scores resulted in a 16th overall.
“It was a rough one, but there are positives to take away from it. It's been hard to get the bike set up for these types of races. This is a brand-new thing this year, so I think everyone is struggling with bike setup. I think we're getting there, we just need a few things,” said Hawkins. “I'm looking forward to next weekend, and I want to thank the team for believing in me for these last couple rounds.”
Next Event (SuperMotocross Round 3): September 23, 2023 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif.
SuperMotocross Playoffs: Chicagoland Speedway
250 SuperMotocross Results
1. Hunter Lawrence (Honda), 1-1
2. Jo Shimoda (Kawasaki), 2-2
3. Haiden Deegan (Yamaha), 3-3
4. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 5-4
10. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 7-13
16. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 15-15
450 SuperMotocross Results
1. Jett Lawrence (Honda), 1-2
2. Ken Roczen (Suzuki), 3-1
3. Chase Sexton (Honda), 2-3
250 SuperMotocross Rider Point Standings
1. Hunter Lawrence – 89 points
2. Jo Shimoda – 86 points
3. Haiden Deegan – 82 points
5. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 62 points
12. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 46 points
16. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 25 points
450 SuperMotocross Rider Point Standings
1. Chase Sexton – 90 points
2. Jett Lawrence – 88 points
3. Ken Roczen – 80 points