Ford’s Ken Block kicks off Red Bull GRC season with win (VIDEO)

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More on the weekend’s Red Bull Global Rallycross opener will follow later this week on MotorSportsTalk, but to kick things off, here’s a release from Ford on Ken Block winning the opener in Fort Lauderdale, with a video linked above.

Fresh off of his successful run in the New Zealand Rally Championship, Ken Block piloted his Ford Fiesta ST to a first place finish in the season opener of Red Bull Global Rallycross in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sunday afternoon.

Despite a triumphant finish, the 75-percent pavement track initially posed a challenge for the Hoonigans.  Block took third in his first heat before improving to second in the following heat and ultimately first in both the semi finals and main event.

“It was a very difficult track, and it was tarmac, which is not my specialty.  I had to battle two Formula 1 racers [Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr.] who are tarmac experts.  But I got lucky and I got a good start during the final.  Even though we didn’t qualify that great, I left with the fastest lap time of the day,” Block said post-race.

The Head Hoonigan took the runner-up position in the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship, and is optimistic about 2015 after his season-opening win.

“It is a really great way to start the season.  It was a total team effort: the Ford Fiesta performed well, the team performed well.  Both the vehicle and the team worked hard to come away with this win.

Block will be taking his Ford Fiesta ST to the X Games in Austin, Texas next weekend before returning to Florida for Red Bull Global Rallycross in Daytona on June 19-21.

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.