Round 3 of the AMA Supercross series at Anaheim's Angel Stadium, which hosted the first Triple Crown event of the season, saw Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen put together a solid performance aboard his CRF450R to finish fourth overall with 2-5-4 finishes, maintaining control of the series points lead. In the night's first of three 450SX races, Roczen launched to the holeshot and early lead. He rode comfortably and confidently at the front front until a last-lap mistake allowed Cooper Webb to make the pass, forcing the German to settle for second. After the gate dropped on the second race, Roczen came around the first turn in sixth but worked his way up to third by the halfway point. He then went down in the whoops and remounted in seventh. He spent the remainder of the race fighting for positions, ultimately taking the checkered flag in fifth. In the night's final race, Roczen got a poor start, completing the first lap in sixth, but he put his head down and worked his way into fourth by the finish.
Teammate Cole Seely also delivered a solid result on the night, riding to a strong sixth-place overall finish with 5-7-13 marks. In the first race, Seely came around the first turn in fourth but relinquished one spot on the opening lap, then maintained fifth throughout the entire 12-minute-plus-one-lap race. The Californian continued his strong showing in the evening's second race by grabbing a second-place start and posting impressive lap times early in the race. He lost momentum toward the end, relinquishing multiple spots and crossing the line in seventh. A less-than-desirable start in the final race left Seely outside the top 10 and unable to find his rhythm, and he crossed the finish line in 13th.
- With wet weather in Southern California during the week leading into the race, Ken Roczen spent part of his week training in Mesquite, Nevada, and Southern Utah, riding at both a Supercross track and in the desert. Meanwhile, Cole Seely stayed local, taking advantage of the wet dirt by riding in the hills with members of the Honda crew.
- On the eve of the race, the Red Riders participated in an autograph signing at Huntington Beach Honda, where Honda's new Talon side-by-side was also a hit with the fans who turned up.
- During Saturday's daytime qualifying sessions, Roczen pushed himself to the third-quickest lap of the day with a 58.381" time, secured in the second session. Fellow Red Rider Justin Brayton was fourth-fastest aboard his Smartop MotoConcepts Honda CRF450R with a 58.527" time, while Seely was 13that 59.741".
- Last year, Roczen and his wife Courtney were filmed driving Honda's Talon for a virtual-reality simulator, which has been used at a number of events since the vehicle's unveiling. The VR booth was set up in the pits at Anaheim 2, so the couple finally got to experience it for themselves after practice.
- Roczen also took time to surprise the children at Honda's Learn to Ride activation in the pits, where he signed autographs and posed for photos with the kids. One of the children who participated in the Learn to Ride program was Roczen mechanic Oscar Wirdeman's 7-year-old daughter Reef.
- Due to quick turnaround times between races at Triple Crown events, teams are now allowed to send two motorcycles through tech inspection for each rider. "Ideally you don't want to have to use your second bike, but it's nice to have," said Wirdeman. "There isn't a lot of time between races, so in case of a mechanical issue, it's nice to have a full bike ready to go that you can use, versus scrambling to re-prep or fix the same one before the next race."
- In the 250SX West Region races at Anaheim 2, GEICO Honda rider RJ Hampshire scored fourth overall for the third week in a row, this time with steady 5-4-5 race finishes aboard his CRF250R, while teammate Cameron McAdoo was sixth with 9-5-6 results. Both riders will be shooting for better starts at the next round.
- This Saturday, Team Honda HRC will campaign round 4 of the AMA Supercross series, in Oakland, California. The evening before the race, a rider appearance is scheduled at East Bay Motorsports in Hayward.
Mandie Fonteyn // Jonnum Media // [email protected]// +1 (951) 537-0454