12 MAXSpeed/Rotax finalists named for USF2000 test

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The Mazda Road to Indy added another rung to its already impressive ladder following an announcement in late June that Andersen Promotions and the Mazda Road to Indy had formed an alliance with the MAXSpeed Group and the United States Rotax Max Challenge program. Less than three months after the initial announcement, the partnership today unveiled the twelve finalists into the Mazda Road to Indy and MAXSpeed Group Driver Advancement Program who will vie for an opportunity to test in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

“We are very pleased to have such a strong partnership with Andersen Promotions and the Mazda Road to Indy,” expressed Richard Boisclair, President of the MAXSpeed Group. “Together we are taking Rotaxians up the ladder and trying to help them fulfill their dreams of competing in the open-wheel motorsports world. The twelve finalists into this first-ever program are well-deserved and will represent Rotax, karting and the Mazda Road to Indy program very well.”

Following the completion of a Driver Advancement Program application, the candidates were narrowed down to a group of 12 based on selection criteria. The competitors who have been chosen will now enter a final interview process with Verizon IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion Gabby Chaves, US karting legend Alan Rudolph and three-time Rotax Grand Finals champion and four-time Euro MAX champion Ben Cooper who will select the four winners.

The candidates are Oliver Askew, 17, of Tequesta, Fla.; Christian Brooks, 14, of Santa Clarita, Calif., Sabre Cook, 19, of Grand Junction, Colo.; Jake Craig, 14, of Mission Viejo, Calif.; Trenton Estep, 14, of San Antonio, Texas; Kyle Kirkwood, 15, of Jupiter, Fla.; Michael McCarthy, 15, of Clearwater, Fla.; Christian Munoz, 15, of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Ryan Norberg, 15, of Orlando, Fla.; Enzo Prevost, 15, of Novato, Calif.; Gavin Reichelt, 15, of Rhinebeck, N.Y.; and Austin Versteeg, 15, of Sandy, Utah.

“We are excited to enter the interview process to select the winners of our inaugural program with the MAXSpeed Group and introduce these talented up-and-coming karters to USF2000,” said Michelle Kish, COO of Andersen Promotions. “It was difficult enough to narrow the initial field down to 12, so I don’t envy our judges in selecting the final four.”

The video conference interview process will begin immediately with all interviews being completed by September 29, 2014. The winners will be announced on Monday, October 13, just prior to the annual Rotax Pan American Challenge in Mooresville, N.C. From there, the four winners will take part in a USF2000 test under the watchful eye of Andersen Promotions and members of the Mazda Road to Indy staff.

“We would like to thank all of the competitors who submitted their resumes for the Driver Advancement Program, and congratulate those selected for interviews,” added Boisclair.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.