- Racing - Motocross
Ken Roczen Ties for Third in Supercross Championship Points
Suzuki Racers Finish The 2023 Supercross Season Strong
BREA, CA, May 15, 2023 — The 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season final sold out Rice-Eccles Stadium, with rain falling sporadically, leading to challenging conditions. The Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki, Twisted Tea Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance, and BarX Suzuki teams wrapped up their seasons with great speed highlighted by Ken Roczen’s third-place tie in the 2023 Supercross season point totals, and several Suzuki riders finishing with season-best finishes.
- Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki
- 450 Class
- Ken Roczen won his heat race and finished in 4th place in the championship standings.
- 250 Class
- Dilan Schwartz rode strong in the season's second East/West Showdown. He advanced two positions in the championship.
- 450 Class
- Twisted Tea Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance
- 450 Class
- Shane McElrath grabbed his third top-ten finish of the season and moved up two positions in the championship standings.
- Kyle Chisholm earned a season-best third-place in his heat.
- 450 Class
- BarX Suzuki
- 250 Class
- Robbie Wageman improved his result over the season's prior East-West 250 class showdown.Derek Drake put in strong laps and held his position in the final championship results.
- 250 Class
Ken Roczen (94) won his heat and was in third place in the main event before a knee injury ended his race.
Ken Roczen and his Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki RM-Z450 earned second place in both the qualifying sessions and the overall qualifying result. A convincing heat race win showed Roczen had the speed in Utah to extend his podium streak to five. Deep ruts caught Roczen’s foot early in the main, knocking him out of the race., Fortunately his injury looks to be minor. Roczen earned a single point in the main, tying him for third place in the final series point standings.
"Overall we had a really good day here in Salt Lake. We were always up in the mix, battling for the top spot," said Roczen. "We had a great heat. We were thrown a curve ball with the rain, but everything looked great. In the main, we got off to a decent start. I went around the third turn, dabbed my leg down, and hyperextended it. That ended my night and spooked me a little bit. I've never done anything to my knee, and it was hurting pretty bad. Luckily, it didn't pop. It seems to be fine. But I had so much fun this year. I'm keeping my head high. We've been riding really well, have been solid on the bike, and we're having a lot of fun with the team. That's really what I'm holding onto. I can't wait to have a couple of weeks off and then start competing in World Supercross."
At Utah, Shane McElrath (12) moved his Twisted Tea Suzuki up three positions in the final season standings.
Shane McElrath brought home his third top-ten finish with his Suzuki RM-Z450. McElrath fought hard, on a challenging track, making passing difficult.
"Tonight was a pretty strong race. I ended up seventh after starting last," reported McElrath. "I just didn’t have the consistent starts I had last weekend. I felt good on the track tonight, felt like I made some really good passes. It felt great to race and to keep pushing until the end. It was an overall good season. I ended up 11th in the series so it's a lot to take away. There was a lot of learning and I gained experience this year. I’m just thankful. It's been a lot of fun and this team has been really great."
Before tangling with a back marker, Kyle Chisholm (11) had the pace for a season-best result.
Kyle Chisholm put his Twisted Tea Suzuki RM-Z450 up front in both his heat and the main at Utah.
"I started the day off not feeling very well. My Suzuki was impressive, but I just couldn't get a flow and connect the track together," said Chisholm. "Then we had rain before the heat, and I knew the start was important. I nailed the start and ended up third in the heat, which was awesome. In the main, I ripped another good start. I ran third and then settled into fifth. I was wanting to get a top-five tonight. I came up on a lapper and didn't anticipate it well enough; the lapper made a mistake in front of me, and I landed behind him and went down pretty hard. I'm bummed because we were in the top five. But it's racing, and I’m happy to finish the season healthy. The team did great all year.
Dilan Schwartz (85) used points earned in the Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Showdown to move his Suzuki RM-Z up two positions in the 250 West final standings.
With the best riders from both coasts competing in championship points toward their regional series, Dilan Schwarz had an impressive ride with his Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki RM-Z250. "It was an East/West Showdown for the 250s, and it was good to qualify ninth," Schwartz said after the race. "I carried that into the heat and transferred straight into the main. A little rain came down, so it was a bit muddy and slick, but I felt like I rode better. I ended up with a 13th in the main. I'm pretty happy with that. It took a while to get going this season, but I'm really happy with how the season ended."
The challenging track seemed to play to Robbie Wageman's (59) favor in the main.
Robbie Wageman and his Suzuki RM-Z250 put down a top ten lap time in his second qualifier, and used that performance for a direct transfer into the main from his heat.
"Great season-ender!" Wageman exclaimed. "The track was awesome. The rain made for interesting conditions. Overall, the track and race were great and I'm happy to end the season on a positive note!"
Derek Drake (53) showed top-ten speed in the day's first qualifying session.
Derek Drake had good speed but unfortunately could not improve his championship points standings. Battling the field from both divisions provided good preparation for the motocross season ahead.
"The night didn't go as planned, but I felt strong during practice," said Drake. "I just need better starts and the rest will follow. I'm just glad to be healthy and now it's on to outdoors!"
"We did great," said Twisted Tea/H.E.P. Motorsports/Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance Team Manager Larry Brooks. "Ken Roczen had a rough main. Everything's fine but he twisted and hyper-extended his knee. We think it's twisted, not broken. Kyle Chisholm was up in third place and then finished in fifth. Kyle was riding really well, the best he has all year, and then he ran into a lapped rider, crashed, and finished 14th. Shane McElrath finished seventh. He's made huge improvements all season and finished the season strong. Dilan Schwartz finished thirteenth in the 250 main event. It was an East/West Showdown, and it ended up being a really good night for Dilan. I'm really proud of him. The Supercross series is over and I'm really proud of my whole team. We've brought this team up to another level. We're going to race for the championship next year. I'm super proud of my guys and I couldn't be happier right now."
"We started in Salt Lake City looking really strong," said BarX Suzuki Team Manager Buddy Antunez. "The team was excited about the night show. The rain started as the heat was about to start. Robbie put his Suzuki up front and had a good heat. Knowing the track was going to be wet in the main we made a small change to Robbie's Suzuki to help with the mud. Robbie had a solid main and overall, the team had a great season. I feel like our season really came to life in Oakland. Now we have our focus on the MX series. We are excited to have 11 rounds to get Suzuki on the podium."
The 2023 17-round Monster Energy AMA Supercross season is in the books and showed impressive gains for the Suzuki teams and riders. Most of the riders now tackle the 11-round AMA Pro Motocross Championship. And then onto the SuperMotocross World Championship Finals fueled by Monster Energy in September. The all-new series seeds the top 20 riders in combined supercross and motocross points into two Playoff rounds and the Final. Ken Roczen has announced he will defend his World Supercross title. Roczen is also set to race select AMA motocross rounds as well as compete for the SuperMotocross World Championship title.
The AMA Pro Motocross Championship kicks off at Fox Raceway in Pala, California on Saturday, May 27th. The Suzuki racers and teams will be there to carry the strong momentum from the supercross season into the brutally tough motocross series.
Photos by BrownDogWilson Photography