News 24 Jan 2023

Starts a focus of Hampshire after back-to-back podiums

FC 250 rider continues strong start to season with another P2.

Image: Octopi Media.

Improved starts are a focus of RJ Hampshire who continues to deliver his strongest opening rounds of Monster Energy Supercross to date after notching another P2 at Snapdragon Stadium.

Sixth at the conclusion of lap one in San Diego’s 250SX West main, Hampshire sliced his way through to second and ultimately made the decisive move past Cameron McAdoo to secure the runner-up position on the final lap.

In his charge towards the front Hampshire notched the fastest lap of the race with a 50.229s, but the gap race-winner Jett Lawrence managed while the number 24 worked his way forward proved insurmountable and the Team Honda HRC rider was able to take the chequered flag with a 3.613s advantage.

During both main events contested so far in the 2023 season, Hampshire has had to work his way forwards while Lawrence has been able to control the gap at the front. While the incident with Austin Forkner (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) understandably impacted his run to the first turn at A1, Hampshire acknowledges the importance of improving his opening laps.

“Man, it was a really solid day,” Hampshire explained. “I felt good on the bike literally from the time I sat on it before the first practice. I just had a good feeling. I went to P1 early and was battling for that top spot in qualifying, won my heat race, and then just had another solid main event.

“I’m stoked on where we’re at. Hopefully, we can figure out some things this week with my start and can battle more next weekend at Anaheim putting this Rockstar Husky back on the podium.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Hampshire in the build-up to San Diego however, with the number 24 suffering a hard practice crash in the whoops while training during the week.

“I smacked my head hard on Wednesday, we went to Hemet and yeah honestly I deserved it because we didn’t want to be there and I just had that bad attitude, and yeah, just a stupid mistake in the whoops and I had a good one,” Hampshire added. “Smacked my head, did not feel good, went to CNG Thursday, Friday, I mean I didn’t really know necessarily how I was going to feel tonight.

“Woke up this morning, sore throat again just to add to it. One of my tougher weeks, but heck, did not show there in that main event and I was pretty stoked to turn it around.”

With two rounds down in this year’s 250SX West Championship, Hampshire trails Lawrence by six points, with Cameron McAdoo (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) third in the standings, the top three notably the same across A1 and San Diego in the quarter-liter class.