MENTOR, Ohio (August 21, 2018) - Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen is heating up as the 2018 Lucas Pro Motocross Championship begins to wind down. Roczen, a two-time Pro Motocross 450 Class Champion, rode his Wiseco-sponsored No. 94 Honda CRF450R to his second moto win of the season and came away from Saturday's GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National in Mechanicsville, Md., with a solid second-place overall finish.
Meanwhile GEICO Honda riders, RJ Hampshire and Chase Sexton, turned in impressive performances of their own in 250 Class competition, where Hampshire notched his first career overall win and Sexton finished second.
Roczen got a poor jump out of the starting gate but the savvy German rider more than made up for lost ground and was scored second once he was up to speed. The 24-year-old tracked down Frenchman Marvin Musquin, opening up a 13-second gap before winning the first of two 450 Class motos on the day.
Roczen got off to a sixth-place start in the day's second premiere class moto and was comfortably in third before completing the first lap. He charged into the lead on Lap 5 and built an impressive advantage, but a perfect day wasn't to be as he faded in the late goings, leaving him third when he took the checkered flag.
"The first moto was great," explained Roczen. "I had a good battle with Marvin [Musquin]. I was trying to just keep it steady. We had a shot at the overall, but unfortunately, I got sick halfway through the week and it definitely caught up with me in the second moto. I just ran out of steam at the end and let those guys get by me. I gave it my all out there and unfortunately it wasn't enough for the overall, again. We're going to take what we've learned to regroup for this off-season and come back to crush it next year. I'm happy with where I'm at this season, but at the same time, I'm a winner and I want to win. I try to put it into perspective because I was here last year hurt and I would've taken a day of racing sick and in the heat over anything. To be back a year later fighting for wins and getting second overall is pretty dang good."
"After struggling last weekend in the mud, it's great to have Ken back on the podium," added Team Honda HRC Team Manager, Eric Kehoe. "He fought hard in the first moto to get that win and it meant a lot to not only him but the team, as well. He's been doing so good this season that we've come to expect him to be up front and battling, but I'm really happy with how Ken has stuck to the plan this season. He's stayed patient while building and learning each week. It's already been a great season, so we're looking forward to ending on a solid note next weekend in Indiana and to start focusing on 2019."
In the 250 Class paddock, Hampshire was able to secure his long-overdue first career overall win. The 22-year-old Florida rider has been competitive all season, earning multiple top-three moto finishes. but this time he grabbed two in one day, jockeying a 2-1 showing to his first career overall win.
"It was awesome," commented Hampshire. "We just haven't been able to put two motos together. It's not because of myself, actually. I'd put a good moto in and I'd almost get killed the next moto--I'd get taken down off the start, someone would land on me, whatever. Chase and I went 1-2 today, and that's a big boost for our team. They've been working hard to improve the bike and it showed today."
Sexton put together a spirited 7-2 showing to bring his No. 40 Honda CRF250R home second overall.
"Chassis has been solid all year, and now I think we've got the motor figured out," said Sexton. "Yeah, I think it was before Washougal. I went out and tested in California for the day and we definitely made some big improvements."
The curtain rings down on the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season Saturday afternoon when the teams and riders visit Crawfordsville, Ind., for the 12th and final race of the year.
The first moto from the Ironman National from Ironman Raceway will be televised live on MAVTV Sat., August 25 beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 10 a.m. Pacific. Coverage for the second and final moto of the 2018 season will be televised live on NBCSN at 3 p.m. EDT, noon Pacific.