Overall winners Anderson and Hampshire recall tenth round.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson claimed his second 450MX overall victory of the season at Budds Creek, with consistent moto scores, as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire stood on the top step in 250MX at round 10 of the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Both riders were available to the media after the races for this Debrief feature.
Jason, your second national outdoor premier class win. It was a wild one.
Yeah, that first moto was pretty awesome for me just to get up there. Chase [Sexton] fell down, so it kind of eliminated him from that front battle, and to get second was really cool. It put me in a good spot to be able to fight for that overall in the second moto. In the second moto, I passed Dunge [Ryan Dungey] and I got past Kenny [Ken Roczen]. I was out front and kind of fumbled a little bit and started not riding too good and got passed back my Ken and Chase. Just fought to be able to get second. So, 2-2, it was nice to get an overall, but it would have been nice to get a moto win, but I’ll take it.
So when you got passed, you were leading then next thing you know Kenny and Chase both went around you. Did you have a stall, what happened down there?
To be honest, I wasn’t riding that good for a lap or two there. I went into the off-camber, and just missed the rut and went into some line that did not work at all. The off-camber, if you lose some speed, it is really tough to gain it going back up that hill. It was pretty rough going up that little double. Messed up there, and with that front pack of five, it was so close that if you made a mistake, you would get zapped right away. The pace was pretty good for the top five, everyone was really close.
You are now pretty much staying in Albuquerque during the summer and training and practicing more on hard pack. It seemed to be an advantage here. Do you think training and living at elevation is helping you also towards into the moto? Your conditioning seems very good.
Yeah, this summer I spent a good amount of two and a half months. But this last little stint, I’m going back to California to kind of finish it out. Right now, we have these three rounds left to ride a couple days a week. So, it’s not much. I honestly really needed to improve my bike a little bit. I felt like we had more resources there after Washougal to try and accomplish that. So, I kind of decided to go back to California just for the team resources. But, I really love it being at home and being able to ride at elevation. Yeah, it’s a different vibe, that’s for sure, but it’s really enjoyable.
What are your thoughts about Ironman?
It’s kind of a tougher one for me, riding-wise. I’ve done good there, but I’ve also had some struggles there. So, we’ll see how it goes. I kind of like the older layout a little bit better, but the new one is pretty fun, big jumps.
Obviously, a strong supercross season. You’re having one of your best outdoor seasons to date. You’re not in the championship fight. Is it tough for you to remain positive? Even though you’re having the best season, but you’re not really in the championship fight? Like you said, it sucks being third over and over, but you’re ramping up every weekend, it seems like. How do you remain positive?
I think for me, I’m trying to look at as big a picture as much as possible. For the bike I’m on, we’re going to be on the same platform next year, so I think if I could just keep putting my head down and keep trying to improve, that could put our bike and stuff in a good situation for next year. Then for me, I still have some goals that I want to accomplish. I think obviously being on the podium is always a goal, but I really would like to get closer to that two and one spot. I think I’ve been able to get closer and closer, but I think with this battle between Chase and Eli, I think it’s going to get jumbled up a little bit and I could capitalize and try and get some good performances and get some good results for the team and have a couple more good races, that would be the cherry on top for my season, so far.
You’ve been mentioning training at elevation. On a day like today, is that something that you notice a big difference in your fitness level compared to last year or the years previous?
Well, I didn’t race outdoors the last couple years. But yeah, I think just in general, no matter if I was in California or if I was in New Mexico elevation, I think my fitness would be pretty good. I’ve been working really hard trying to be as on it as possible. I think just in general obviously living up there helps you out quite a bit.
RJ, it’s been a little while since you grabbed an overall. Tell us about your day.
It was solid, I was pretty fast from the beginning. I honestly felt like it started last weekend on the break, just things clicked. I like Budds a lot. I took a gamble there sticking with the paddle tire, and I got two good starts, which I hadn’t gotten at all. So, that was huge. First moto was awesome, I felt like I got in a really good flow. Second moto was a bit hairy, I had some moments with that paddle, but that’s the reason why I won today, thanks to that and the team. We’ve been working hard and found something in the last two weeks.
Did you know how close Jett [Lawrence] was? He was coming pretty fast, for him to put that fastest lap in there. I know you guys were all riding really well, but he was coming hard. Did you know that?
No. Honestly, I didn’t even really see him, I was kind of just focusing on Justin [Cooper] because I knew that was for the overall. I caught him I’d say about twenty minutes in and ran into some lappers bad. I lost a lot of time, I thought that was it, I was like, I ain’t going to get back to him. Then I made a push there at the end. I think I got him with two to go. Then luckily, I took a peek back that last lap after the triple and I was expecting J-Coop to be there, but I saw the number one. I was like, oh boy, he’s coming fast’. I wasn’t actually ready for that. Honestly, that last lap hurt me pretty bad. I was kind of settled in and didn’t really think I had to go to that next level. I seen him there last lap. So, good thing I looked back, it was a long one. It was a little bit hot today too, which usually doesn’t really affect me, but today it got me there that last lap.
Next week we go to Ironman. How does that track rank? We’ve raced eleven different tracks. How do you rate Ironman?
Yeah, I like Ironman quite a bit. It’s a pretty technical, rutty track most of the time. It just depends on how the weather is and hopefully, we get some rain so it’s a little bit softer. But who knows? That paddle kind of worked for me good this weekend, so I might have to try it. We’ll see how the track is.
It’s been a little while since the Rockstar team has grabbed an overall. You had to see some smiles back in your pit.
Yeah, that was huge. I’m not quiet about things and I haven’t been happy, and the team whenever we start 15th or 20th for the weekend, you can’t really expect much. We were struggling pretty bad. Just had no comfort with the front. We found that two weeks ago, so it’s nice to have at least some steps in the right direction. We’ve been trying pretty much everything, and we haven’t really found something that was working. So, at least we have a direction now. They have big plans for next year and this bike, and I’m just excited. It’s definitely draining when every weekend you just feel like you’ve made no progress. You’re riding your ass off and the results don’t show it. So, it’s definitely nice to come here and do what we did today. That first moto was special. These guys were starting to lose hope that it was even still possible. Just good to be back up here and be in the fight, that’s really all we were hoping for today was to have a shot at the podium. To come away with a 1-2 and the overall, I’ll definitely take it into next weekend.