Olli Pahkala handed penalty, Bono Huis named new winner of Vegas eRace

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Bono Huis has been named as the winner of the inaugural FIA Formula E Vegas eRace after original victor Olli Pahkala was handed a post-race penalty for having a software issue on his computer.

The Vegas eRace pitted the 20-strong Formula E grid up against 10 of the world’s fastest sim racers in a battle for $1 million worth of prize money.

Faraday Future Dragon Racing driver Huis dominated proceedings throughout the eRace weekend, topping every practice and qualifying session heading into the race.

The Dutchman managed to soak up pressure from regular Formula E racer Felix Rosenqvist in the early part of the eRace before pitting with five laps to go from the lead.

Huis emerged from the pits nine seconds behind Pahkala, who had been running outside of the top five in the early part of the race.

However, a glitch in the software being used for the event meant that Pahkala’s FanBoost – intended to give him a power advantage for a brief period of time – lasted six laps.

This allowed the Finn to lap up to three seconds per lap faster than Huis, who is widely recognized as being one of the finest sim racers in the world.

After the race, Huis’ anger was evident after finishing second, and he initially refused to come out onto the podium to accept his trophy and a cheque for $100,000.

However, the stewards looked into the timings and opted to hand Pahkala a 12-second time penalty to negate the software issue, demoting him to third place.

As a result, Huis is the first Vegas eRace winner, while Rosenqvist claims second place, with the pair winning prizes of $200,000 and $100,000 respectively. Huis also claimed $25,000 for taking pole position earlier in the day.

“This first eRace in Las Vegas was a great success,” Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said following the race.

“It’s exciting to have brought Formula E into the inner sanctum of CES – the biggest and most influential technology show in the world. I think this can be the first in a big future for Formula E in eSports racing.

“We will continue to pursue new and innovative ways to improve our presence in this fast-growing landscape, while maintaining fan engagement at the forefront of all our initiatives.”

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.