With a commanding, start-to-finish win aboard his CRF450R, #kenroczen catapulted himself back into title contention at Tuesday’s #atlanta Motor Speedway race–the second of three consecutive events at the Georgia venue. The German topped his heat race, grabbed the main-event holeshot and turned the fastest lap time on his way to a nearly 8-second winning margin. It was Roczen’s fourth victory of the year and the 19th of his career, but his first since the February 6 Indianapolis 3 race, and it moved him to within 13 points of the title-chase leader, with three events remaining in the 17-round series.
Meanwhile, Roczen’s Team #honda HRC cohort, #chasesexton, was also impressive, finishing in the runner-up position for the second time in three days. The Illinois native sat third after the first couple of turns and moved into second on lap two of 14, and that’s where he ran for the rest of the race.
In 250SX West action, #hunterlawrence turned in a solid second-place performance aboard his CRF250R. The Australian was sixth on the main event’s restart and lost several positions early on, but from ninth, he steadily advanced through the pack, securing second with two of 11 laps left and staying there until the finish.
With only a couple of days between the #atlanta 1 and #atlanta 2 rounds, Team #honda HRC spent the majority of their time at the speedway, prepping the bikes for the final Tuesday race of the season.
On Monday, Team #honda HRC rider #kenroczen autographed a custom guitar piece and custom print to be given away in an upcoming online auction for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. #chasesexton took part in a virtual interview for Race Day Live.
Roczen participated in Tuesday’s opening ceremonies, which included a special introduction video that had been shot at the speedway on Monday afternoon. In the video, Roczen drove a 1997 Acura NSX (one of only 9,000 produced). Incidentally, it was the same car that had been used in 2011 for a Smokey and the Bandit-inspired opening-ceremony video with then-Team #honda HRC rider Trey Canard and Miss Supercross Dianna Dahlgren.
Atlanta experienced dry, warm weather conditions on Tuesday, with temperatures around 84º F at the time the evening program began.
Free practice saw Roczen finish on top in the 450SX class, with Sexton second. Lawrence posted the third-fastest lap in the 250SX West class.
In combined 450SX qualifying-practice times, Roczen was second-fastest with a best of 1’34.570″, and Sexton was next at 1’34.631″. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts riders Broc Tickle and Benny Bloss were 15th and 23rd, respectively, while Muc-Off #honda rider Mitchell Oldenburg had the 14th-best time.
In combined 250SX West qualifying times, Lawrence was third-fastest with a 1’38.637″. Muc-Off Honda’s Mitchell Harrison was 17th, Phoenix #racing Honda’s Kyle Peters and Enzo Lopes were 14th and 15th, respectively, and FXR Chaparral #honda riders Carson Mumford and Coty Schock were 11th and 19th.
In the Honda-loaded second 250SX heat race, Lawrence completed the first lap in second before moving into the lead, then lost a position on the final lap to finish in second place. Harrison was a few seconds back in third, closely tailed by Schock. Mumford and Lopes also qualified directly to the main with sixth- and seventh-place finishes. Peters finished fifth in the first heat.
The first 450SX heat race was a preview of the main #event, with Roczen starting in front and dominating, riding to an eventual winning margin of over six seconds. Oldenburg also advanced from the heat with an eighth-place result. In heat two, Sexton ran in third in the early going before advancing one spot on lap four and finishing second. Tickle was seventh.
Atlanta 2 was the first time that #honda riders finished 1-2 in a premier-class main #event since March 19, 2011, when Team Honda’s Trey Canard and Two Two Motorsports’ Chad Reed posted first- and second-place results at the Jacksonville, Florida, round.
Round 15 of the AMA Supercross series takes place at the same #atlanta Motor Speedway facility on Saturday, before the teams transition to Salt Lake City for the final two races.