Oakland SX Lites
Ken Roczen, the young Red Bull KTM 250 rider, earned his best finish of the 2011 motorcycle racing season at the fourth round of the AMA Supercross West Lites Series held at the Oakland Coliseum when he crossed the finish line in 4th overall.
Roczen had the speed to run up front all day. He qualified third fastest in practice to get a great gate pick for his heat. In the evening heat races he started 3rd around the first turn and maintained that position throughout the six lap race. He finished in the 3rd spot in his heat to earn another good gate pick - this time for the main event.
Ken Roczen (2011 KTM 250) says: "I was happy with my start in the heat and wanted to make sure I put myself in the same position in the main event. The start is so important in Supercross racing and I have been improving upon my starts each race to help put myself in a better position to finish on the podium."
The track was tough on a lot of the riders this weekend and the rain that began to fall harder as the main event approached did not help the track conditions. Despite the slick track surface, Roczen was able to pull another great start. When the gate dropped for the main event he came out 2nd around the first corner.
As they completed the first lap Roczen found himself behind holeshot winner Eli Tomac and the 3rd place ride of Josh Hansen. All three riders remained close. As the three riders crossed the finish line jump of the third lap, Tomac hit a slick patch on the turn after the finish line jump and washed out handing Roczen the lead.
Roczen held the lead for two laps before he made a mistake in the whoops and Hansen was able to move around him. As Roczen recovered from his swap in the whoops, Broc Tickle caught and passed Roczen. The KTM rider immediately charged back up to close the gap on the Kawasaki riders as they crossed the finish line jump once more.
On lap nine, as Roczen was defending his 3rd place position, he went down in the same turn Tomac had fallen in earlier in the race.
"I knew that turn was slick because I had seen Tomac fall earlier. I was trying to take it easy but before I knew it I was already on the ground. It is so frustrating because I was in podium position. The positive thing is I have been improving each weekend. I was better at defending my lines today and I had much better starts," states Roczen.
After his crash Roczen quickly got back in action now in 4th position.
"I had real bad arm pump during the race and I felt like I wasn't riding like myself. I don't know what's causing it but I had arm pump in my heat and in the main and it was definitely a factor in my overall finish," he remarks.
Roczen eventually finished the evening in 4th place. Although he was disappointed in not making the podium at this round, he was happy to have improved upon his top results this season. With four rounds in the books, Roczen sits 7th overall in the series point standings.
2011 Overall Results Lites Supercross
1. Broc Tickle
2. Josh Hansen
3. Eli Tomac
4. Ken Roczen
5. Tyla Rattray
2011 Overall Point Standings Lites Supercross
1. Josh Hansen - 88
2. Broc Tickle - 87
3. Ryan Morais - 70
4. Eli Tomac - 69
5. Cole Seely - 60
6. Tyla Rattray - 58
7. Ken Roczen - 49
Next Round: Anaheim, CA - February 5, 2011