Teams Start the 2024 Season with Solid Rides at A1
Brea, CA – (January 8, 2024) – The opening round of the 2024 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season was greeted by clear skies and good track conditions inside Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The 17-round Supercross season also pays points to the 31-round SuperMotocross World Championship, which starts its second-ever season with the Anaheim 1 Supercross.
- Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki
- 450 Class
- Ken Roczen won his heat race convincingly. After a crash on the opening lap of the main event, Roczen passed 12 riders to secure top-ten championship points.
- 450 Class
- Twisted Tea Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance
- 450 Class
- Shane McElrath earned a direct transfer to the main then backed that up with fast, consistent laps throughout the main.
- Kyle Chisholm holeshot the LCQ and put in a strong ride in the main.
- 450 Class
- Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki
- 450 Class
- Derek Drake transferred directly out of his heat race and earned a top-15 result on the night.
- Kyle Chisholm holeshot the LCQ and put in a strong ride in the main. BarX Suzuki
- 250 Class
- Anthony Bourdon nearly grabbed a top-ten in his first-ever US Supercross race, finishing with an 11th-place result.
- Max Miller delivered one of the most exciting races of the event with an LCQ performance that had the fans on their feet.
- 450 Class
Ken Roczen (94) dominated his heat race with a win. A setback early in the main led to a strong ride to claim a top-ten result.
Ken Roczen was fast from the first practice, landing inside the top five in both qualifying sessions and in the overall qualifying order. Roczen dominated his heat race and showed his speed to challenge for another season-opening win at Anaheim, just as he did for Suzuki in 2015. In the main, two riders came together in the first rhythm section and Roczen got tangled up in their crash. Working forward from 22nd position, Roczen fought back to a top-ten finish amongst one of the most-stacked rider fields in recent history.
“My night was going great! A heat race win and a good start going into the first turn, but I couldn’t turn and was midfield, and then my front tire got ripped away from me by another rider,” said Roczen. “My bike was bent, and my bar mounts were twisted. I gave everything I had but as the track got chewed up and rutty I had a hard time. I made it back to tenth and salvaged what we could. The only way I wasn’t going to finish this race was if my handlebar was ripped off. Other than that we were moving forward! Thank you to my team we will keep it cool and be ready for next weekend.” added Roczen.
Shane McElrath (12) transferred directly into the main from his heat race.
Shane McElrath’s second year on the Twisted Tea Suzuki RM-Z450 got off to a strong start. McElrath started inside the top ten, then put in strong, steady laps to earn championship points and earn a solid start to the 2024 season.
“Man it was a great start to the year,” exclaimed McElrath. “I’m excited about where we’re at, but really where we started - it’s a big gain over last year just being able to ride with intensity and aggression. We know where we’re at now, we can make some changes, and I feel it’s all up from here. I’m excited, I’m really excited.”
Kyle Chisholm (11) grabbed a holeshot and earned second place n the 450 class LCQ
Kyle Chisholm launched off the gate of the LCQ to put his RM-Z450 up front. Chisholm rode smart and kept a steady lock on second place to put his Suzuki into the main event.
“In the main, I didn’t get the start I wanted,” said Chisholm. “It took me a little bit to get into the groove; then I got some strong laps through the middle and last part of the race. We’ll get back to work this week and just try getting things better and race again next week, so it’s all good.”
Derek Drake (52) was smooth and composed in his rookie 450 Supercross race.
Derek Drake took his 450-class skills into Supercross for the first time and used Anaheim 1 to mark his entry into the 450 class. Drake qualified directly out of his heat and delivered an impressive top-15 result amid the crowded field.
“A1 was a solid start for my 450 Supercross debut,” remarked Drake. “It was nice to make it straight to the main out of the heat race. I felt strong all day and put in a solid result to build off of for the rest of the season!”
Anthony Bourdon (100) made his AMA Supercross debut and rode well on the challenging Anaheim track.
Anthony Bourdon picked the BarX Suzuki RM-Z250 for his attack on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. At one point Bourdon topped the leaderboard in his qualifying session and earned the second spot in each session. Bourdon put that speed to good use and came within one spot of a top-ten finish in his debut ride.
“Wow, my first Anaheim 1 is done, and what a race it was!” exclaimed Bourdon of his first experience with AMA Supercross. “Racing here has always been a dream, and qualifying for the final directly from the heat was a relief. I had a good start in the main but stalled the bike in the second lap which broke my concentration. I raced well, I was consistent all race, and I realized I had the speed for an even better result. Overall, I am incredibly happy with a P11 in Anaheim and can’t wait to race in San Francisco.”
Max Miller (87) had one of the most exciting races of the night at Anaheim.
Max Miller led the LCQ until a small mistake set him back to fourth. Miller used the right racecraft going into the final 180-degree turn but another rider snuck around him and ended Miller’s night early.
“In the heat race I got hung up in the tough blocks and made a few mistakes that kept me away from a qualifying position,” reported Miller. “I got off to a great start in the LCQ and battled my way into the lead. I had a little gap when I tucked the front tire in the first corner after the whoops. I got up fairly quickly, so I only lost a handful of positions. I managed to get to fourth and tried my best to make all the right race decisions. In the last turn, I came into the corner tight to the tough blocks, but when I pushed wide I almost hit the third-place rider while he was cutting down out of the corner. This gave the fifth-place rider just enough time to sneak around the inside and snag the final transfer spot. I’m upset I couldn’t make it happen at A1, but I’m fired up for San Francisco!”
“The bikes are working well, our riders are riding solid, we just had some mishaps in the main event,” said Larry Brooks, the Twisted Tea/H.E.P. Motorsports/Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance Team Manager. “Ken Roczen started the night off well. He was good in practice and finished fourth in timed practice, just a couple of tenths off the leader. In the heat race, he holeshotted and ran away with it. He was riding amazingly. Then in the main event, he got together with another rider, and crashed. He almost got sucked up into the rear wheel of another rider’s motorcycle. He got going probably 30 seconds behind the last-place rider, so we were almost a lap down. He came back to finish in tenth place. It was an amazing ride. The bike was twisted up from hitting the ground so hard, but Ken just never gave up.”
“I am really happy to get the first race in the books,” said Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki Team Manager James Coy. “Tonight has reinforced what we already knew. The potential we have in our racers and Suzuki motorcycles is very encouraging. We just need to keep working hard to achieve those results.”
The Suzuki racers and teams are charged up and ready for round two, at Oracle Park in San Francisco on January 13th. The Suzuki teams are ready to deliver more strong rides and move their RM-Zs up higher in the championship standings.
Please visit SuzukiCycles.com/Racing/Motocross and HEPMotorsports.com for more team news.