TJ Fischer prepares to kick off European adventure at Imola this weekend in Formula Renault 2.0 Alps

0 Comments

With the Formula 1 and IndyCar seasons now in full swing, the month of April heralds the beginning of a number of junior championships throughout motorsport as the stars of tomorrow try to find their feet and make a splash in the racing pond.

In terms of American talent, Alexander Rossi continues to be the most notable racer in junior circles, competing in GP2 for a third year in 2015 with Racing Engineering.

However, another youngster trying to make an impact in European racing circles is TJ Fischer. Hailing from Vacaville, California, the 21-year-old is preparing to make his debut in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps championship this weekend at the iconic Imola circuit, former host of the San Marino Grand Prix.

An accomplished karter and racer in the Formula Car series, Fischer bucked the trend set by many young American racers by switching to the European ladder in 2014 by racing in the Protyre Formula Renault championship in England.

“We were figuring out our plans, we were thinking Pro Mazda, but budget was a little high for that series and kind of out of our range,” Fischer explained to MotorSportsTalk. “But that’s what I wanted to do. Then we were looking around and I was calling a lot of different teams looking at different options and eventually we got an opportunity to race with Cliff Dempsey Racing.

“And so it just kind of fell into place. I didn’t really think ‘I’m planning on racing in Europe’ at the end of the 2013 season I didn’t think that at all. But things just fell into place, and we got the ride with Cliff.”

Fischer enjoyed a solid year in the British championship, finishing sixth in the final standings and enjoying a run of six top-five finishes in the final seven races of the year. However, the bigger challenge he faced was acclimating to the European racing life, which he found to be very different to that of the United States.

“It was definitely a new experience for me, racing over in Europe and England especially,” Fischer said. “It was a different task for me, obviously the driving is different. It’s maybe more forgiving in the States; over in England and Europe it’s pretty cut-throat.

“Getting used to that was an acclimation period, but we just kept on learning, plugging away at it. Throughout the season we were getting quicker and quicker, and towards the end we started getting some better finishes and really started showing the potential of what we could do.”

And that potential led to a big step up for the 2015 season. After just one year in the national championship, Fischer is now preparing to embark on his debut season in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps series that will see him race at some of the most famous circuits in the world.

Alps has produced a number of exciting drivers despite only enjoying its debut season in 2011. Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat won the series back in 2012; two years later he’d be in F1 with Toro Rosso. Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco won the title in 2013, whilst McLaren youngster Nyck de Vries took the crown last season.

The enormity of the challenge ahead is not lost on Fischer, though, and he feels ready to make the step up in 2015.

“It still is a bit of a big step for me, going from the Protyre Formula Renault championship up to Alps,” he said. “Sometimes, the guy who wins the championship or is second or third, they’re the guys who move up.

“We weren’t quite there yet, so it’s a bit of a jump still to go to Alps. But I think we’re prepared. Testing with the new car has been going really well and we’ve been very competitive, so I’m feeling confident going into this year.”

Fischer will be racing with Salvador Duran Racing in 2015, but faced an age-old question for young racers: funding. Moving with the times, he embraced a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help get everything in place for the year ahead, and he is now all set to race at Imola this weekend.

The famous track is just the tip of the iceberg, though. The calendar for the series features many of the most famous tracks in Europe – Spa-Francorchamps, Monza, Mugello, Pau, Jerez, and the Red Bull Ring – and racing on them is a prospect that excites Fischer.

“As an American, coming across the pond and getting the opportunity to race at these tracks – Spa, Monza, Imola – it’s pretty crazy,” he explained.

“Just looking at the circuits… I mean I’ve been watching onboards a lot, and I just get goosebumps watching it because it’s crazy to think that I’m going to be racing at them.”

It is an opportunity that many young, American racers do not get and puts Fischer on the right ladder to perhaps reach F1 one day, which remains a largely Euro-centric sport.

“Getting engulfed in the whole European experience at a young age at the junior formula level, I think is the better route to go,” Fischer said. “I get the experience of racing against the drivers that are at my same level trying to reach F1 as well, and I’m competing against them as opposed to racing in the United States and then having to acclimate later on if I chose to try and do F1 later in my career.

“I think it’s better off just getting fully immersed in the whole culture, the whole style of racing, and learning from it. That’s the most I can do, just learn as much as I can and try to improve as I go along.

“Things fell into place, and then I realized that this is very realistic and I can actually pursue my goals and dreams.”

The ‘drought’ for US drivers in F1 may be a long-running one, but it is the likes of Fischer who play a part in ensuring that the future is bright for American racers in the European scene and, one day, perhaps the top line single-seater series.

Chase Sexton wins Triple Crown Anaheim 2 Supercross: Levi Kitchen unseats Jett Lawrence in 250s

Supercross Anaheim 2
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
0 Comments

Chase Sexton won two of the three races in the Monster Energy Supercross Anaheim 2 Triple Crown, which was enough to overcome a fifth-place finish in Race 2 and give him the overall victory. It was the second Supercross win of his career.

“Super big night for me,” Sexton told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “After last weekend with that being a struggle, I just need to come out here and stop the bleeding a little bit and I did that tonight.”

Sexton suffered a crash on Lap 1 of his heat, sending him into Last Chance Qualifier. The bad gate pick put him in a difficult position to start the race and he was able to climb to only fifth at the checkers.

At Anaheim 2, three riders entered the final race of the Triple Crown in a winner-take-all scenario. Sexton, Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac each had a shot at victory. It raised the intensity level for all riders in an evening that featured a lot of comers and goers.

Jason Anderson took the early lead in Race 3, which set him up for the overall victory. Sexton stalked and passed him midway through the race and then a minor mistake late allowed Webb to slip around as well. Anderson’s 5-1-3 gave him second overall.

“I had a tough couple of rounds, getting off that Anaheim 1 crash and then last week weekend I fumbled a little bit, but I’m excited to get back on the box and start moving forward,” Anderson told Jason Thomas.

Anderson finished seventh in the first two rounds of 2023.

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Ken Roczen was the model of consistency in the opening rounds and at Anaheim 2. In three races so far this year, he’s gotten progressively better each time with a fifth in A1, a fourth last week in San Deigo and a third this week.

With results of 2-3-4, he earned his first podium of the season, which lands him fourth in the standings.

“This was hard earned,” Roczen said after the race. “I completely botched the start and then to have to work my way up. I only happen on the very last lap to step up here on the podium.”

Webb’s solid second-place finish in the third race allowed him to leapfrog several riders and finish fourth overall, but a seventh in Race 1 kept him off the podium. He improved in each race in Anaheim, however, with a 7-4-2.

With a 4-6-5, Dylan Ferrandis rounded out the top five.

The intensity of the race was a little too much for Tomac.

While battling side-by-side with Webb in Race 3 at the one-third mark, Tomac jumped wide and crashed hard. He fell to 14th, doing some damage to his bike in the process. He advanced only one position in that race to 13th. His first two races, a third and second, were strong enough to give him sixth overall. He retains the points lead, but it has shrunk to a gap of only four over Sexton and Webb.

Malcolm Stewart injured late in the week and was not able to mount.


Levi Kitchen became the first rider to unseat Jett Lawrence in the Triple Crown format at Anaheim 2 and won the overall with consistency. In his three races, Kitchen finished 4-2-2 to narrowly edge the winner of the first two races.

“This whole day; this is unbelievable. I took a few good slams in practice and I was down on myself,” Kitchen told NBC Sports Jason Thomas afterward. “The first moto I got a good start and got shuffled back, then I knew I just needed to be consistent.”

Jett Lawrence saved his best for last – which wasn’t hard given the struggles he experienced in the first two races.

Despite those problems, he entered Race 3 of the Triple Crown three points behind Kitchen after suffering a pair of disappointing races by his personal measuring stick. In the first and second 250 races of the night, Lawrence hit the ground. He dropped to the final rider in the running order in Race 2 with a Lap 1 fall. But in both races, he was able to overcome his mistake and close the gap so that he had a chance to take his first Triple Crown win of his career.

Click here for full 250 West Main Results

Lawrence rode to third in Race 1 and sixth in Race 2. In the final race of the night, Lawrence did all he could. He earned the holeshot, but when Kitchen fell in behind him, Lawrence’s fate was sealed. His 3-6-1 tied him in points with Stilez Robertson, but the tiebreaker goes to the final round and his win secured second-place.

“I can definitely say Triple Crowns are not my thing,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Will Christien. “We have one more to try and fix this, so hopefully we can get that done.”

Lawrence will move into the 450 class for the Lucas Oil Motocross outdoor season and his 250 record book will be closed.

The best news for Lawrence is the other riders who entered this round in the top three had a worse night, so Lawrence leaves Anaheim with a 16-point gap on Cameron McAdoo and 17 over RJ Hampshire.

Roberston finished 6-1-3 to take the final step of the podium.

“Getting that win in the second Main meant a lot,” Roberston told Thomas. “I wish I could have done a little better in the third one, but we’re still up here on the box.”

Mitchell Oldenburg used consistency to earn fourth in the overall. He finished 5-4-6.

After missing the Main last week in San Diego, Max Vohland finished 7-8-4 to round out the top five.

RJ Hampshire set himself up as the early favorite with his Race 1 win. In Race 2, it all fell apart. He fell in the sand section and damaged his bike, finishing last in that race. The final event of the night for the 250s provided only a 13th-place finish, leaving Hampshire deep in the points.

Cameron McAdoo hard crash in qualification, which was scary news for a team that has seen three of their riders sidelined with injury. McAdoo was never quite able to get his rhythm with an 8-7-5.

2023 Race Recaps

San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Anaheim 2 coverage

Power Rankings Week 2
SuperMotocross tightens playoff schedule
Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence go two-for-two in San Diego
Results and points after San Diego
Seth Hammaker to miss 250 E season opener with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner with injury
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX