Roczen: The dream is still alive
The final Texas race and round 12 of the 2021 AMA Supercross season saw Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen lead most of the main event before finishing in second place, while his teammate Chase Sexton showed impressive speed all day before suffering a hard crash in the main. In the 250SX West class, Hunter Lawrence had a good day aboard his CRF250R, finishing fifth.
Roczen nailed the holeshot in the main event, with title rivals Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac not far behind. The German was the fastest rider through most of the track, although he lost time in the sand section. After losing the lead seven laps from the end, Roczen held on to finish runner-up, just 1.4 seconds back. Meanwhile, Sexton also rode strong until taking a hard crash in the sand section on lap four and withdrawing.
Running the red plate, Lawrence was a contender for a podium position with only four laps remaining in the 250SX West main, when he over-jumped a triple and went over the following berm, into the catch net. The Australian quickly remounted and salvaged a fifth place finish.
- Team Honda HRC reserved time on Thursday at Compound 77, a private riding facility on the Texas/Oklahoma border, where Chase Sexton got in laps practicing and testing.
- Prior to the evening program, Ken Roczen had a socially distanced meet-and-greet with the Dykstra family, winners of his 2020 All In Challenge, a campaign through which athletes, teams and celebrities help provide food to those in need. The winning prize—a trip to a race—was unfortunately delayed by COVID-19, but Team Honda HRC provided the family with tickets for the third Arlington race. Roczen also presented the Dykstras with a signed hat and
- Team Honda HRC provided Road 2 Recovery with signed jerseys from Roczen, Sexton and Hunter Lawrence to help support veteran racer Todd DeHoop, who suffered a crash at the recent Daytona Vintage Supercross and sustained a spinal-cord injury. DeHoop, who raced Hondas during the mid-’90s, is currently recovering at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, near his hometown of Hudsonville.
- The track layout for Arlington 3 was modified once again, this time with one of the most technical layouts the series has seen thus far, presenting riders with multiple rhythm-lane combinations.
- In qualifying for the 250SX West class, Lawrence posted the fifth-fastest time at 935”, in the final session. Muc-Off Honda’s Mitchell Harrison was eighth in the combined times, Phoenix Racing Honda’s Kyle Peters and Enzo Lopes were seventh and 17th, respectively, and FXR Chaparral Honda riders Coty Schock and Carson Mumford were 12th and 14th.
- Sexton was the top 450SX qualifier, with a 48.143” lap time in the final session. Roczen finished with the third-best overall time, a 48.328”, and SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts riders Broc Tickle and Vince Friese were 12th and 16th, respectively, while their teammate Benny Bloss sat the race out to recover from a crash at the previous round. Muc-Off Honda rider Justin Brayton also missed this race, as he recovers from a crash at the Tuesday race, but his teammate Mitchell Oldenburg had the 18th-best time.
- Lawrence rode to a solid second-place finish in 250SX West heat 2, while Peters and Lopes were sixth and ninth, respectively. In heat 1, Schock and Mumford finished third and fifth.
- Roczen rode to an impressive win in 450SX heat 2, with Sexton finishing a close second, and Tickle, Friese and Oldenburg took spots 7 through 9 in heat 1.
- With only five rounds remaining, the AMA Supercross series will now take a 20-day break before the teams head to Atlanta for a triple-header.
Ken Roczen 94
“We had a really good practice and I felt comfortable on the track. There were a lot of big rhythms and overall it was a much better supercross track. My heat race went well; I started in third and worked my way up to first, giving me a good gate pick. In the main event I got the holeshot, felt really good and led for most of the race, with most of the fast guys behind me. I’m guessing they were studying me, and Cooper made the pass happen. I tried to keep on his wheel all the way until the end, which is what I did, and we ended up in second. This finish was a lot better. The dream is still alive, and we have five races to go. I’ve been getting better and better, and I’m not going to give up. We’ll take a couple of weekends off and come back to Atlanta with hopes of continuing to improve through the end of the season.”
Chase Sexton 23
“I felt so good on the bike all day. It was nice to finally see me getting my speed back, qualifying first. My heat was a solid race; I started out slow and got passed by Ken [Roczen], but managed to find a flow mid-race. During the last lap made an aggressive move on Cooper Webb, but by no means did I mean to take him out—that’s not how I ride and I have a lot of respect for him. I got a good start in the main event and was riding okay until a good crash in the sand ended my night. Overall I feel okay—just looks like I got in a UFC fight! See y’all in Atlanta!”
Hunter Lawrence 41
“I had a bittersweet ending here in Dallas. It was a pretty good weekend, getting second in the heat race, but a bit of an unfortunate ending in the main. I was riding well in third, pushing and pushing, but I kept getting caught up with lappers. I felt like I was catching the guys just inch by inch, and I pushed myself but made a mistake. I landed on the far righthand side of the berm, where they built a little lip into it. It was a pretty harsh landing, as I’m sure the videos show, with me ending up in the net. I’m so thankful that the nets were there to save me and the bike so we could finish and bring it home in fifth. It was good considering what it could have been with the crash. Coming into Arlington, we were in fourth and 16 points down, but now we’re only six points behind. Having the red plate and then passing it on is a bit of a bummer, but we’re still in it. I’m looking forward to two weeks off now to regroup and come back swinging in Atlanta. I can’t thank the team and everyone enough!”
“Arlington 3 was the most technical track of the Texas rounds, as there were several lanes with multiple jump combinations that the riders were using. Hunter rode well all day, continuing to get stronger. He was in podium position in the main event until a late-race crash into a safety net forced him to settle for fifth place. Chase showed his amazing speed, qualifying first and turning the fastest lap of the entire event! Unfortunately, a crash in the main event ended his evening sore and bruised. Ken had a great start in the main event and led 19 laps. He was losing time in the sand-whoop section while searching for a more consistent line. After getting passed, he settled in for a close second place. With five more rounds left, the team will regroup and prepare for Atlanta.”
Words and pic: HRC Honda