It’s been a long couple of years for Honda’s Ken Roczen, but after struggling through two horrific arm/hand injuries, Roczen went out and won the series-opening Hangtown Motocross National, taking the early 450cc National Motocross Championship series points lead; a championship that he has won twice.
Hangtown Motocross Video Highlights
In the 250cc class, fresh off of the biggest let-down of his entire career in Las Vegas (where he crashed out of what would have been his first professional championship), Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo stepped up and won the 250cc class.
Roczen Wins Hangtown 450MX 2019
Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb got the holeshot to start 450cc moto one, but Roczen wasted no time, going around Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Justin Barcia in one turn, then by Webb before the end of the opening lap. Roczen went on to lead every lap and win the moto by about 20 seconds over Anderson, who passed Webb in the late stages of the race, Webb, and Tomac, who was uncharacteristically off the pace for much of the first moto. Anderson’s teammate, former 250cc champ Zach Osborne, was fifth, just in front of Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM’s Blake Baggett, Webb’s teammate Marvin Musquin, Barcia, Roczen’s teammate Cole Seely, and Baggett’s teammate Justin Bogle rounded out the top 10.
Eli Tomac (1) was off a bit in the first moto, but not in moto two, where he won by over 40 seconds. PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOPPENWORLDMusquin grabbed the holeshot in the second moto, but Tomac was right behind him and went into the lead right away, followed quickly by Roczen, who chased Tomac down in the first few minutes of the race and tripled by the defending champ in the pouring rain.
Tomac took that as an opportunity to learn some new lines and reset, then went back after Roczen, passing him back around halfway before pulling away to win by a very large margin in the mud, finishing over 40 seconds in front of Roczen in second.
Jason Anderson was impressive on his way to third overall on the day, having not raced since January. PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOPPENWORLDBehind Roczen came Osborne, Musquin, Anderson, Webb, Barcia, Barcia’s new teammate for the summer Dean Ferris (11th in moto one), Bogle and Baggett.
Roczen took the overall with a 1-2 score over Tomac’s 4-1 and Anderson’s 2-5. Osborne was fourth overall with a 5-3 and Webb was fifth with a 3-6.
Roczen carries the points lead as the series heads to Fox Raceway in Pala, California, next Saturday.
Cianciarul Tops Hangtown 250MX 2019
In the 250cc class, Cianciarulo had his work cut out for him in moto one, as Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper grabbed the holeshot and was unrelenting out front. Cianciarulo started close behind him but could never get close enough to challenge the Yamaha racer. Cooper’s teammate, 250cc Western Regional Supercross Champ Dylan Ferrandis, passed GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton in the final turn of the race for third. Sexton was fourth ahead of another of Cooper’s teammates, Colt Nichols. Then came Sexton’s teammate RJ Hampshire, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Michael Mosiman, Cianciarulo’s teammate (and fastest qualifier) Garrett Marchbanks, his other teammate Martin Davalos, and TLD/Red Bull KTM rookie Derek Drake.
Justin Cooper won the first moto and finished second overall on the day. PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOPPENWORLDNichols got the holeshot in the rain to start moto two, but Cianciarulo was by right away, and he just took off, leading every lap of the moto to eventually win by 16 seconds over JGR/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Alex Martin (who fell on lap one in the first moto and could only manage 23rd at the finish). Nichols held on for third just in front of teammates Cooper and Ferrandis. Then came Sexton, Hampshire, TLD/Red Bull KTM’s Shane McElrath, Australian Husqvarna-mounted privateer Wilson Todd, and GEICO Honda’s Christian Craig.
Most of the top racers in the second moto fell at least once, with the exception of Cianciarulo. Cianciarulo took the overall with a 2-1 score over Cooper’s 1-4 and Nichols’ 5-3. Ferrandis was fourth overall with a 3-5 and Sexton was fifth with a 4-6.
Hangtown National MX Results 2019 – 450MX class
450MX Points Standings
Hangtown National MX Results 2019 – 250MX Class
250MX Points Standings
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Prairie City, site of the 51st running of the Hangtown Motocross Championship got underway this morning beneath cloudy skies. Practice was dry, but everyone is watching the grey overcast with rain forecast for this afternoon.
Roczen Heads Hangtown Motocross 2019 Qualifying
The 250s took to the track for qualifying practice with loamy conditions, providing fast laps from the onset. Climbing to the top of the charts in the first session was Kawaski-mounted Garrett Marchbanks (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) setting fast lap of 2:15.455 over Frenchman Dylan Ferrandus (Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha) with a 2:15.564. Chase Sexton (Geico Honda) was third fastest with a lap of 2:15.924, and setting fourth fastest time was Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki) with a 2:15.929.
With temperatures cooling the track, which had been decent loam with plenty of traction, quickly deteriorated, with whoops forming and the famous Northern California dirt getting transformed into deep ruts. The one consolation is there are plenty of choices for lines to get around the course. The second session proved to be considerably slower, given the formation of ruts that slowed down the run-up to the doubles, leaving riders that were able to navigate the whoops prior to some of the track’s gnarlier doubles the advantage. KTM-mounted Zane Merrett was caught in just such a situation, getting spit off in a nasty endo as he tried to clear the whoops leading to the massive uphill plateau.
The second practice session had the 250s considerably slower in lap times, with the track getting severely rutted. The big question was in anticipating wet weather set-up for the forecasted afternoon rain mixing the notoriously sticky and clumping Hangtown mud. The final qualifying ended up being dictated by the first session, with Marchbanks, Ferrandis, Sexton and Cianciarulo topping the combined charts.
Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen wasted no time laying down a fast lap of 2:15.236, followed closely by defending champ Eli Tomac, with a fractionally slower 215.263. Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) laid down a 2:16.676 followed by Justin Barcia (Monster Energy Yamaha) with a 2:16.800.
With the 250s having already run, it didn’t take long for the track to deteriorate, with large whoops forming, making the launch for the uphill doubles slightly more difficult. The second session was a repeat of the 250s, with lap times being slowed given the track’s condition. Again, with all eyes on the gathering grey skies and prediction of a wet afternoon, the guessing game for best set-up for potential mud race was on everyone’s mind.
The times from the first session set the starting order, with Roczen on pole, followed by Tomac, then Musquin, Barcia. The newly crowned SX champ Cooper Webb, Zach Osborne, who is making his 450MX-class debut, and the returning Jason Anderson rounding out the top seven.
Dean Ferris, who is filling in for the injured Aaron Plessinger on the Monster Energy Yamaha Team, qualified 16th.
It was refreshing to see Anderson on track after missing the majority of the SX season due to injury, with his patent untucked jersey and blazing lay fast speed.
Although Roczen and Tomac were the only riders to dip into the 2:15s, Roczen appeared to be noticeably faster visually, laying down consistently smooth laps. After he got the nod from his mechanic that he’d nailed fastest qualifying the German celebrated with a wicked wide open whip on the massive uphill double jump to appreciative cheers from Hangtown’s notoriously hardcore fans.
So, following practice and qualifying results setting starting line-up, the focus now is on trying to figure in the best set-up for what may well turn into a mud bath. The guessing game of set-up and best anticipation of the radically changing weather may well dictate who stands atop the podium today. Whatever happens, the 2019 AMA Motocross Championship is underway in California.
– JEFF BUCHANAN
Hangtown 250MX Qualifying Results 2019
Hangtown 450MX Qualifying Results 2019