Ken Roczen proved he’s back on top as he leads the US National motocross series after winning the opening round in mixed conditions at Hangtown in California.
The HRC man Roczen easily won the opening race in perfect track conditions, despite rain starting to fall towards the end of the moto. Second time out it was a mudder. He took the lead early on but had no answer for Eli Tomac who came steaming through.
Roczen knew Tomac didn’t have a great first moto and had finished fourth, and knew second was good enough to give the German the overall win. It was his first since 2016 and his succession of arm injuries.
Roczen said: “It feels very, very good. Especially with how muddy and sloppy it was. But I can still still improve. We have some things in mind but I want to keep cool.
“It’s difficult at the first race to know what to expect and to know where everyone else is. I just did my best every time I was on the track and it got us a win.”
Roczen, who is pals with 250 winner Adam Cianciarulo, said: “I have a couple of guys in the 250 class who I cheer for and I was stoked for my friend Adam who won. A great day!”
Tomac took runner-up, four points behind his rival, and said: “It’s going to be tough this year, as usual. I was disappointed at the first moto but in the second I was comfortable.”
Jason Anderson was third overall after second then fifth places. He reflected on his return to racing after missing most of the supercross season. He said: “I broke my arm and then had another surgery so it took me two and half months to get riding. There’s no reason I can’t win this year and I’m looking forward to the battle for the championship.”
Making his debut in the 450 class outdoors was former British champion Zach Osborne who took a strong fourth overall. He was on the pace of all the top men and despite a slip off in one moto, he had a fifth then a third place.
He headed the KTM factory men of Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin, who was expected to excel in the tough conditions but never really had the pace of the leaders.
Webb, who led the opening moto until Roczen came steaming past, held on for third in the opener when Anderson also worked his way forward. The Supercross champ Webb had a tougher time in moto two but took sixth. Musquin was sixth overall with seventh then a better fourth place in the tough conditions.