Romain Dumas wins Le Mans one week, Pikes Peak the next

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Romain Dumas was part of the surprise winning trio at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, co-driving the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid with Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, after the No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid suffered turbo failure that resigned it to a non-classified finish.

Then, Dumas promptly went out and won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in a Honda-powered car.

Here’s the release from Honda, below:

Started as an after-hours project by a small team of Honda Performance Development engineers, an HPD-built Honda engine today propelled Romain Dumas to the summit of Pikes Peak ahead of a talented field to win the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb for the second time in the last three years.

The Honda powerplant propelled Dumas to the top of the 14,115-foot mountain in a time of 8:51.445 (81.288 mph), marking just the second car ever to cover the 12.42-mile road course in less than nine minutes. Rhys Millen would later join Dumas in getting under nine minutes, but his time of 8:57.118 left him more than five seconds behind the leader.

“I pushed hard early in the race and didn’t make any mistakes, which put us in great position for the last part of the course,” Dumas reported. “We didn’t get to practice the upper part of the course so I was being quite careful on the last section.”

The victory for Dumas caps a week that started when the Frenchman won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, then crossed the Atlantic Ocean to compete in the Unlimited category in the 100th anniversary of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Honda has been a sponsor of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in recent years and has seen many of its associates compete in the races in a myriad of Honda vehicles.

“It has been a dream to win both of these races, and now it has come true,” Dumas said. “A lot of people were pushing really hard to make this happen and this is what happens when you work hard. We all pushed and put in long hours and our car and our power were great.”

The victory marked the 15th consecutive year that Honda has earned a class win at Pikes Peak covering not only Honda Performance Development (HPD) engines, but also Honda auto and motorcycle products.

“Congratulations to Romain Dumas on breaking the nine-minute barrier and setting the fastest time of the 100th anniversary Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb,” said HPD Vice President and COO Steve Eriksen. “Today’s achievement added to our list of wins at “100th’s” following Honda’s win last month at the 100th Indy 500. The Honda engine that again powered Romain’s Norma chassis started several years ago as an after-hours project of one of our Honda Performance Development engineers, Aaron Hale. It is both a demonstration of the passion that Honda engineers have for racing as well as the outright performance of Honda engines in competition.”

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.