Ken Roczen carried the banner for RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing when the rider of the #94 Suzuki RM-Z450 picked up the win in dominating style in Saturday’s night’s Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship, at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
The win marked the third of the season, and sixth overall, for the team co-owned by freestyle motocross legend Carey Hart and five-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael.
In 40 career 450SX class starts, Roczen has amassed eight total wins, including a victory last October at the Monster Energy Cup. With his most recent win, the 21-year-old German rider was able to narrow the gap between himself and current points leader Ryan Dungey to 34 points with seven races remaining on the 2016 supercross schedule.
The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Champion narrowly avoided disaster in the opening moments of the Main Event when a host of riders went down in the first rhythm section. Fortunately, Roczen came away from the multi-bike melee unscathed and quickly mounted his charge toward the front of the 22-rider field.
While Dungey may have grabbed the holeshot, it took less than three-quarters of a lap for Roczen to track down the defending series champion and just over a lap to reel in Eli Tomac and take over the top spot for good.
Roczen paced the field for 19 of the event’s 20 laps and would eventually build his lead to just over three-and-a-half seconds.
“I just stayed out of trouble and rode my race,” commented Roczen following Round 10. “It was an amazing feeling being up front. It was a tough track out there. Even the start was tricky. The track was really slippery. I got a decent start and went around the first turn pretty good and I think someone went down in the second turn so I got really lucky right there.
“I made some good passes happen in the beginning and that helped me get a clear track so I could ride some good, fast laps. The track got really cupped out so it was all about staying focused. Towards the end I had a good lead and just kept it safe and steady and took home the win. It’s awesome.”
Roczen’s RCH team-mate Jake Weimer raced his way into the Main Event via a third-place finish in his semi and ultimately went on to secure a solid 10th-place finish, his fifth top 10 of the season.
While the Rupert, Idaho native typically sets the bar higher than a top 10, the 2010 Western Regional 250SX Class Champion breathed a sigh of relief following the race after recording back-to-back 17th-place finishes in Atlanta and Daytona.
“My night was good,” said Weimer. “After the last couple of weekends, it was definitely a success. I was better in practice. I rode better all day than I have the last couple weeks. My starts were bad, though, which made the racing part difficult. But, overall I’m happy.
“That was an improvement over the last couple weeks. It was a step in the right direction so I’ll take it.”
RCH Team Manager Kyle Bentley was pleased with the entire organisation’s efforts and was also quick to point out the challenges the Toronto racecourse presented.
“It was a good weekend,” said Bentley. “Anytime we go into a race, with the field stacked as it is, and [we] come away with the win is good for the team and RCH Racing as a whole. It’s good for Ken Roczen. We’re really happy.
“The track was difficult and had a hard-packed base. It had a little bit of loose soil on top of the surface and the whoops were the biggest ones we’ve seen this year. That’s a real separator of the field when you get whoops that size. That really separates the guys from one another. It was a good night for Ken and a good night for RCH.”
Monster Energy Supercross returns stateside this weekend when the series visits Ford Field and the home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions. Round 11 of the 2016 Supercross Championship will be televised live on Fox Sports 2 Saturday, March 19 beginning at 7 pm Eastern Daylight Time, 4 pm Pacific.