The wait is over: Ken Roczen wins Hangtown Classic

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The wait is finally over. Recovering from major injuries in the past two seasons to both arms and a general sense of malaise this year, Ken Roczen won Moto 1 of the Hangtown Classic and finished second in Moto 2 to take the overall victory in the season opener for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.

It was Roczen’s first win since the January 2017 Monster Energy Supercross event at San Diego. Since then, he’s come agonizingly close with second-place finishes on a dozen occasions.

Roczen wanted to win in grand style with both Moto wins, but he lost the lead to Eli Tomac early in Moto 2. Once that happened, he kept the big picture in sight and settled into a comfortable pace – or at least as comfortable as possible on the heavy track. Tomac stretched his advantage in that Moto to more than 20 seconds at the end.

“I think we’ve got more in the tank,” Roczen told NBC after the race. “With these conditions out here, I’m very happy with a second (in Moto 2). I had to back down. I had a couple of big moments and it was just super-sloppy out there.”

The quest for a third consecutive Hangtown victory came up just a little short for Tomac.

“I was able to flow (in the mud),” Tomac said after the race. “I was feeling good. I had some good lines picked out. Ken got by me early on there and I was able to get back in the flow. … I almost came off the bike once or twice – or maybe I did even once, like full side saddle, but overall I’m happy to get that win.”

Tomac won Moto 2, but he was forced to overcome a disappointing first Moto in which he finished fourth. Winning Hangtown has been one of the keys to Tomac’s recent success in the MX championship hunt, but he will take consolation in knowing that he made up a big deficit during the afternoon.

Returning from an injury early in the Supercross season, Jason Anderson (2-5) served notice that he is back and ready to challenge for the MX title with a third-place overall finish.

Zach Osborne (5-3) and new 450SX champion Cooper Webb (3-6) finished fourth and fifth overall.

In Moto 1, the rain was pretty much all that Roczen had to battle. He took the lead on Lap 1 and never looked back as he set the tone for the afternoon. Roczen pulled away to a more than 15-second gap at the end as the battle for second heated up.

At one point in this Moto, Anderson was under attack from Tomac. As soon as Tomac faded from his back bumper, he was reinvigorated and chased down Webb.

Webb did not want to give up the position and the two swapped the spot and bumped a couple of times in the final laps, with Anderson taking the advantage in the final lap.

Webb was forced to settle for third as rain started to change the track conditions.

“It got difficult when the rain came down,” Webb said on NBC Sports Gold after Moto 1. “It got super slippery. I kind of struggled there at the end, made a lot of mistakes and let Jason catch me. I was able to get him back, made another mistake and allowed him to get by me.”

Webb’s difficulty was heightened in the second Moto with his sixth-place finish.

For a brief moment, it appeared Webb would pick up where he left off in Supercross. He earned the holeshot in Moto 1, but immediately fell back as Roczen sliced past to take a more than one-second lead on Lap 1.

Tomac’s trouble in the first race started early. He got a terrible start and was seventh on Lap 1, advanced two spots on Lap 2 and climbed to 4th on Lap 3. But he was 13.3 seconds behind the leader at the time and noticeably out of rhythm. When Tomac unsuccessfully tried to pass Anderson on Lap 8 the die was cast. He finished just off the podium in fourth.

Osborne held on for fifth.

450 Moto 1 Results
450 Moto 2 Results
450 Overall Results
Points Standings

With heavy rain muddying the track, Adam Cianciarulo won the second Moto and took the overall victory for Round 1 of the 250MX season. It was just the boost he needed after crashing in the final round of the Supercross season and losing the 250SX West championship in a heartbreaking finish.

“For kids out there that see us – and we go through such peaks and valleys – the most important shot is the next one,” Cianciarulo said on NBC after winning the overall. “You got to get back up and fight.”

The winner of Moto 1, Justin Cooper, had trouble on the start of the second Moto and fell back as far as fifth. He gained a position back to finish fourth in the Moto and was second overall.

Colt Nichols earned the hole shot in Moto 2, but lost the lead quickly to Cianciarulo. He finished third in the Moto, which combined with a fifth in Moto 1 for third overall.

Dylan Ferrandis (3-5) finished fourth with Chase Sexton (4-6) rounding out the top five.

Several leaders from Moto 1 had trouble in Moto 2. Michael Mosiman (who finished seventh in Moto 1) and Sexton (fourth) both went down on Lap 2. RJ Hampshire (sixth) went down on Lap 3. Hampshire finished sixth overall with Mosiman seventh.

Alex Martin had the feel-good ride of Moto 2. After finishing outside the points in Moto 1 (23rd), he grabbed the second-place finish in the second and would not let go. He was 16.4 seconds behind Cianciarulo.

In Moto 1, Cooper jumped out to an early lead and rode to his second career Moto win – making it look easy all the way. A battle for the lead developed momentarily at the 22-minute mark, but as soon as Cianciarulo caught the leader, Cooper hit the afterburner and rode into the sunset with a 1.89-second advantage at the checkers.

Cianciarulo could not ride easy, however. On the final lap, he was being chased down by the riders heatedly deciding who would finish third.

Ferrandis – the 250SX West champion – got off to a slow start and was outside the top five for the first six laps in the first race. He moved up to fourth with three minutes remaining on the clock and was grabbed third as the pair came within sight of the flag stand, passing 250SX East champion Sexton in the very last corner.

Nichols rounded out the top five in Moto 1.

Derek Drake made his Pro Motocross debut. He was deep in the field on Lap 1. But he steadily worked his way up from 19th, slicing through the field and cracking the top 10 with the clock running down and three laps remaining. Drake earned the position by passing fellow rookie Ty Masterpool.

Hunter Lawrence might well have had the gutsiest performance of the Moto. He went down on Lap 7 while battling for sixth and got tagged by another rider – whose foot peg ripped a hole in the seat of his pants. He slipped past Masterpool on the final lap to finish 11th. Lawrence finished 12th in Moto 2 and 11th overall

Masterpool wound up 12th in Moto 1 and 14th in Moto 2 for a 14th overall.

Mitchell Falk went down on Lap 2 and walked off the course holding an apparently injured shoulder.

250 Moto 1 Results
250 Moto 2 Results
250 Overall Results
Points Standings

Points Leaders

450MX
Ken Roczen (47 points) (1 win)
Eli Tomac (43)
Jason Anderson (38)
Zach Osborne (36)
Cooper Webb (35)

250MX
Adam Cianciarulo (47 points) (1 win)
Justin Cooper (43)
Colt Nichols (36)
Dylan Ferrandis (36)
Chase Sexton (33)

Overall Top 5s

450MX
Ken Roczen: 1
Eli Tomac: 1
Jason Anderson: 1
Zack Osborne: 1
Cooper Webb: 1

250MX
Adam Cianciarulo: 1
Justin Cooper: 1
Colt Nichols: 1
Dylan Ferrandis: 1
Chase Sexton: 1

Moto Wins

450MX
Ken Roczen (Hangtown I)
Eli Tomac (Hangtown II)

250MX
Justin Cooper (Hangtown I)
Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II)

Next race: Fox Raceway at Pala, Pala California, May 25

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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Adam Cianciarulo serves notice with Monster Energy Cup win

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In his debut on a 450 Kawasaki, Adam Cianciarulo held off teammate Eli Tomac in a hotly contested final Main to win the Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium: One race; one win.

“My first thought was, ‘what I life I get to live,’ ” Cianciarulo told NBCSN after the race. “That whole race I knew (Eli) was behind me. We had a gap and I knew it was going to come down to the Joker Lane.”

For Cianciarulo, it was all about managing pressure. He earned the holeshot in the first and final Mains. In the first race, he lost his bike and the lead under the bridge. In the final Main, he withstood a fierce charge for 10 laps from one of the best riders ever in Supercross.

Tomac stalked Cianciarulo for eight laps. At one point, he made the pass, but Cianciarulo expertly executed a crossover move and retook the point in the same corner. Tomac knew he was going to have to change things up if he wanted to make a pass for the lead and the overall win.

“Going into the Joker, I couldn’t really ever make the pass stick, so I thought let me get in this thing a lap early and see if I can make the speed up on the track,” Tomac said after the race.

He had a reason to believe it would turn out in his favor because he used the tactic in the second Main and made up four spots on the track – advancing from seventh to fourth.

“Just the opportunity to race with Eli,” Cianciarulo continued from Victory Lane. “You know, he’s accomplished so much and just to be out there on the track with him. I’m just stoked to be out there with him.”

Cianciarulo would have been forgiven if he thought Las Vegas owed him something. Entering the Supercross season finale this year, he only needed a clean finish to win the 250 West championship. He crashed and handed the win over to Dylan Ferrandis, but instead of allowing that to frustrate him, Cianciarulo used it as motivation.

“(Winning this race) is a little bit of redemption, but to be honest with you I look at (the accident in) Vegas now after winning the outdoor motocross championship as something that helped me get there,” Cianciarulo said. “It’s helped me grow.”

With his overall win, Cianciarulo pocketed a $100,000 check. The payday could have been $1 million if any rider had been able to win all three Mains. Instead, three Mains featured three different riders. Tomac won the first Main, Malcolm Stewart the second, and Cianciarulo the third.

Tomac stormed to the lead in the first Main and was slicing through the field in Main 2 before he flipped his bike on a bad landing. He fell from challenging for the lead to 10th. Ten laps does not allow a lot of time to make up for a mistake, but Tomac was able to make up significant time by taking the Joker Lane one lap before Cianciarulo and Stewart.

Malcolm Stewart finished third in his return to Supercross racing. SupercrossLive.com

Stewart would win the second Main, completing a comeback nine months in the making. Early in the Supercross season, he crashed hard in Phoenix and broke his femur.

“I’ve been waiting nine months for all this; I’m just having fun out there.” Stewart said at the end of Main 2. “We’ve got another race to go and hopefully we’re on the top step, but if not, we’re already making dreams come true. I’ve already marked things off my checklist. It was just to win a Main Event.”

Entering the final Main Cianciarulo, Tomac, and Stewart were in a dead heat in regard to points. Cianciarulo finished second in the first two Mains, Tomac had a 1-3 with Stewart at a 3-1. The battle would be a “winner takes all” scenario.

How they finished in the final Main determined the overall result with Stewart finishing third in the race and overall standings.

Vince Friese had the ride of his life. With a 4-5-5, he finished fourth.

Friese was also trying to erase an injury-plagued season.

“I had a good (2019) season going,” Friese said. “I don’t think I got to show everything I had. It was frustrating getting hurt just a few races in and five months off the motorcycle is not fun, so I was hungry tonight.”

The World Champion Tim Gajser scored a 7-4-4 and rounded out the top five.

Dean Wilson crashed hard in the last lap of practice. He was transported to the hospital with a leg injury.

Evan Ferry won the Supermini division on the strength of winning both Mains. Gavin Towers and Myles Gilmore rounded out the top three.

In 250 Futures, Jett Lawrence won both Mains and the overall. Jalek Swoll and Brock Papi rounded out the top three.

Main 1 Results
Main 2 Results
Main 3 Results
Overall Results

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