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Suzuki Teams Rack Up Championship Points at Season Midpoint


Brea, CA – (March 11, 2024) – Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama played host to Round 9 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross season. Heavy rains on Friday created a soft and rutted track for Saturday’s race. 

Race Highlights:

  • Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki
    • 450 Class
      • Ken Roczen sliced through the pack to earn his fourth podium result of the season. 


  • Twisted Tea Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance
    • 450 Class
      • Shane McElrath put in his best qualifying results and matched his season-best heat race finish.
      • Kyle Chisholm moved up in the championship point standings..


  • Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki
    • 450 Class
      • Anthony Bourdon pulled in a first-place result in his qualifying group and earned points in his second 450-class  U.S. Supercross race. 


    • 250 Class
      • Preston Boespflug qualified straight into the main from his heat and moved his RM-Z250 up two positions in the championship standings.   


Ken Roczen (94) earned podium results in both his heat race and in the main event at the Birmingham Supercross.

Ken Roczen (94) found ways around other riders on the challenging Birmingham track that made passing especially difficult. Roczen’s ability to find alternate lines paid off in the main event. Roczen was able to charge through the stacked field and bring home a third-place result. 

“I felt pretty good on the bike all day,” said Roczen. “My times just weren't really there in qualifying. Then in the heat race I wasn't quite fast enough. I was rushing, and for how rutty and soft the track was, there just wasn't a fast way around. But we got our stuff together for the main event. I came from mid pack, like 11th, and worked our way up to the podium. I'm just really happy to finally be back on the podium. We've put in a lot of hard work to reach it. So especially coming from mid pack, I can't be happier; but to be able to fight for wins I need to start a little bit further up front.”


Shane McElrath (12) showed great speed at Round 9, bringing home his best overall qualifying and heat race results.

Shane McElrath (12) turned a mid-pack start in his heat race into his season-best heat race result and a direct transfer to the main. McElrath moved forward through the pack in the main event also, carding a strong result in Alabama. 

“I was aggressive and intense all day,” McElrath happily reported. “The track was very technical and extremely rutted, but I felt really comfortable on it. My speed in these conditions was the best my speed has ever been, so yeah, I'm excited. I finished 11th tonight and had some good passes and racing. I'm excited to put in more work this week because really since I've been able to put the time in during the week. it’s been showing on the weekend.” 


Kyle Chisholm (11) enjoyed and performed well in the very technical track conditions.

Kyle Chisholm (11) turned in his best overall qualifying result for the season, despite track conditions causing a cancellation of free practice in the morning. Chisholm backed up his season-best finish at Daytona, with another strong performance in Birmingham. 

“The track layout was pretty basic, but the dirt was] extremely soft and had a lot of deep ruts; you definitely had to be smart with lines and rhythms. But I liked it,” said Chisholm. “About three turns into the main event, my front end went over the top of the bowl turn, and I fell from the top of the berm. My bars hit the ground pretty hard and bent my front brake completely under the bars… I basically rode the whole main with no front brake. I couldn’t ride like I wanted to, which was a bummer because I felt good, and felt good on the bike, I liked the track, and I was trying to put in a good result. But it's racing, I need to have a better start and stay out of that mess in the back.”



 Anthony Bourdon (100) earned 450 class points and now sits in the points standings in both the 250 West and 450 classes.

Anthony Bourdon (100) filled in again for the second week for the injured Derek Drake. Bourdon put in an incredible ride in Birmingham. The 250 West racer was the fastest 450-class rider in his qualifying group and put his BarX Suzuki RM-Z450 into the top fifteen in overall qualifying.

“It was really great to race my first 450 main event,” said Bourdon. “I haven't had much preparation with the RM-Z450, so I'd need more riding and testing on the bike to continue to improve. It's great to finish my time on the 450 this season by going to the main event with the best riders today! Now I'm back to training on the 250 to prepare for my next race in Seattle.”


Preston Boespflug (128), in his rookie season, put in his best heat race result and earned a direct transfer into the main event.

Preston Boespflug (128) was fast from the start on the red dirt Alabama track. Boespflug put in his best qualifying result, and charged forward in the main event to card another top-fifteen result. Boespflug moved his Suzuki up two positions in the championship standings. 

“It was a super technical track in Birmingham, but I loved it! It really fit my style,” said Boespflug. “It was tough starting in last in the main, and having to pass so many riders on such a tight track. I’d like to get a top-ten start and see where I end up.”

“It was actually a rough start of the day,” reported Twisted Tea/H.E.P. Motorsports/Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance Team Manager Larry Brooks. “Ken was just struggling a little bit to find his speed. We kept working at it, kept looking at video, trying to figure things out; and he came around in the main event when it counted – when the money and the points are on the line. So, I couldn't be happier. Shane rode really well. He finished 11th in the main event. I’m super pumped for him as he fought for that 11th. Kyle finished 17th. He was in the main event, so that's really good; our test rider making the main event, that's always a big positive. This weekend was really good. This race brought Ken a little bit back on track; I think he's been struggling to find his pace again, but he did great tonight and I think we're back in a good spot. On to the Indianapolis Triple Crown.”

“This was a great weekend for the team,” said James Coy, Team Manager for Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki. “Considering how rough and rutted the track was, the performances are even more impressive. Our Suzuki RM-Zs were working great, and the riders really rode well. It feels good to feel good about the racing this weekend.”

The Suzuki teams head to Indianapolis, for the second of three Triple Crown events. The Triple Crown events emphasize consistency by combining results from three races to determine the overall results of the event. 

Please visit and for more team news. 

Photos by BrownDogWilson Photography