Features 5 Jun 2024

Quotebook: 2024 Pro Motocross Rd2 Hangtown

Riders detail their weekends after the second round of the series.

Round two of AMA Pro Motocross at Hangtown saw several riders have up and down days. Quotebook features compiled comments from riders over the weekend.


Image: Octopi Media.

Chase Sexton (Red Bull KTM) – First:
First race, it definitely felt good to win my first moto in a while, although not the way I wanted to with Jett [Lawrence] going down, but I had a good flow going and was able to win that one. In that second moto, I slid out at the start, and I was dead-last, so I knew it was going to be a hard moto! That was wide-open from the start to the end. I don’t even know what to say – that was the best ride, I think, of my life. Thanks to the team, they put in so much hard work, and these fans are awesome. They were cheering me on the whole way around the track and this one means a lot. This has been one of my best races and wins so far!

Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Second:
It was a tough day. Normally, downhills are a strength I can count on. We sucked on them today, if we’re being honest, but what can you do? We just have to get back to work. The beautiful thing about this sport is we get to line up again next weekend.

Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) – Third:
I got out front and I pushed as hard as I could, and then I figured I could back it down just a little bit, but no, these guys were riding so good – Chase was riding unreal – and I couldn’t seal the deal. But we’re back up here on the podium, I missed out on it last weekend, and we’ve bounced back! It’s third place, but we’ll take it and move on to the next round. I’ve got to give it up to the whole team, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, and everybody who has helped me get here.

Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Fourth:
It was a good day, going 4-3 for fourth. I just missed the podium, but I gave it all I had. Chase (Sexton) was riding really well and was definitely putting in a charge and came from really far back. I tried to fight him off, but I didn’t have much else to give with two laps to go. I think there are a lot of positives to take away from today. We’ll keep working and move on to next weekend.

Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Fifth:
This was a good weekend for my team and I. We made a lot of positive changes to the bike coming into this weekend that I’m really happy with, and I feel like that showed. I qualified really well and had a good Moto 1 minus my fall, and I think we definitely have the speed to be able to run up front. I’m excited with the changes we made to my KX450SR, and I can’t thank my team enough for their help.

Justin Barcia (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – Seventh:
Hangtown was a challenging day, for sure. I felt okay in the first practice when it was a little bit smoother, but then in the second practice I struggled a little. We made a change for the first moto, and it wasn’t what I needed, before in Moto 2 we made a good step and it was a lot better. Hopefully we can do some testing this week to improve a little bit, because we haven’t been able to ride too much, so it will be good to get on track and catch up a little bit. All-in-all, not the results we want, but we will definitely keep at it, never give up, and the results should be coming soon.

Malcolm Stewart (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Eighth:
Hangtown was fun for me! It’s been 10 years since I’ve been here and the track’s changed, but the people haven’t. I’ve always had some really solid fans here and there’s nothing better than the fans welcoming me back. Practice was good, then first moto I rode a solid race, before in the second moto I had a rough start, went down, and made a lot of passes right until the very end! I was enjoying the moment, so we’ll take what we learned here, regroup, and come back out swinging in Colorado.

Christian Craig (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 10th:
Today was a better day and in qualifying my speed’s starting to come around. I’m still lacking strength, but that’s going to take time and will eventually come. We were better today, I had two mid-pack starts and stayed out of the chaos, so ended up going 11-12 for 10th overall – we’ll take that luck on our side with the overall. I’m getting more comfortable on the bike again with more seat time, so we’ll just keep building each week from here.

Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – 12th:
Rough race! In moto one, I thought I could go for a double that would give me some space, and it ended up bucking me off. I got a chunk taken out of my leg, which was not ideal. We’ll get healed up for next weekend and try to start another win streak.

Kyle Chisholm (Twisted Tea Progressive Suzuki) – 21st:
I felt great on my Suzuki pretty much all day. In the first moto I didn’t get out to the best start, but I made some good passes. I ran 14th for a lot of the first moto, and I was more in the battle, which was good. In the second moto, I ripped a good start. I was in ninth on the first two laps, then I ran in 12th or 13th for most of the race. I started making a push after halfway; I could see the top ten, they were not far in front of me. I was riding well, I felt good, the RM-Z was working great. I was pushing and just hit a little rock going into a turn. It popped my front wheel out of the rut, and I just tipped over, having washed the front end out. My leg was stuck under the bike for a while. It took me a while to get my leg out and get up and get going. So it wasn’t a good overall result, but I did ride well. I’m happy with my riding, the team did great, and the Suzuki was strong all day.

Shane McElrath (Twisted Tea Progressive Suzuki) – 24th:
We’re trying to figure things out, trying to be patient and take things in stride, but it’s not easy,” admitted McElrath. “I went as fast as I could today, and that’s not really saying much. It’s frustrating, and disappointing. All we can do is get back to work and continue trying things and searching. I’m just out there and everybody else is racing. I’m trying to figure that out, trying to keep my confidence up, and keep improving.

Max Miller (Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki) – 27th:
The track was brutal today. I struggled to find a flow but raced hard. I’m ready to keep working and improving in Colorado!


Image: Octopi Media.

Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – First:
Today was a little eventful. I was trying to go 1-1. I won the first moto and came from 10th to win it. In the second moto, I pulled the holeshot and was leading. Then about eight minutes to go, I swapped and crashed. I got up quickly and was able to salvage second, which gave me the overall on the day. We’re happy with another win, and now on to Colorado.

Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) – Second:
I knew I could do it and the second moto was way better! I want to thank the team, we changed a lot for the second moto, and I felt great, so I am pretty happy. That’s the first moto where I could push to my full potential and now, I’m really excited for the next races with that setting on the bike. The track was awesome today, so I’m really happy to be on the podium.

Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Third:
Another weekend on the podium and a great points day. We made a lot of changes to the bike after qualifying that helped coming into the motos, and by Moto 2 we had an even better bike.  I learned a lot throughout the races with line choice and we are going to get back to work this weekend and take what we learned heading to next weekend in Denver. Thank you to my team for all of the hard work.

Chance Hymas (Team Honda HRC) – Fourth:
Round 2 was good to me. I didn’t have it for qualifying, but I got the holeshot in the first moto and led every lap until the last three laps, which was a big confidence boost. In the second moto, I got a fourth place start and a fourth-place finish. There are still some things we need to work on, but overall, it was another good weekend.

Jo Shimoda (Team Honda HRC) – Fifth:
Today was an improvement. I felt it in the suspension and gearing, so it’s good to see our hard work is paying off. I was closer to the top guys from last week, which I’m happy about. It’s going to take a little bit of time to figure this out, but we’ll take it race by race.

Pierce Brown (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – Sixth:
Today was better than the first round with sixth overall and we made some improvements that I’m happy about. I think we’re in a good spot, trending in the right direction, and I’m excited for Colorado next week.

Jalek Swoll (Triumph Racing) – Seventh:
It was an ok day with good moments of riding and some bad moments – nothing to be pumped about, but at the same time nothing to be bummed about! I need to get some better starts next time out and get on the back of the leaders. But I feel good on the Triumph TF 250-X and we leave the California rounds with decent points. We are going to be climbing our way back up when we get to the softer dirt tracks, so I’m looking forward to Colorado and the rounds after that.

Ty Masterpool (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Eighth:
Overall I had a pretty good day. We are heading in the right direction. I didn’t have a great start in the first moto, and I started to make my way up until I popped my rib out hitting a square edge. After the moto I got my rib popped back in and had a great start in the second moto and felt like I was running a good pace until I hit another edge and popped my rib out again. It made it really difficult to breathe and I unfortunately faded fast but I definitely feel like I learned a lot this weekend and had the speed and I’m looking forward to heading to the east coast.

Julien Beaumer (Red Bull KTM) – Ninth:
Hangtown was a good day for me. A lot of learning, happy to get two good starts – my bike was amazing! – and to run up front for a while in both motos. I’m going to keep learning that pace and keep getting better each weekend. That was a big step forward, so we’re going to keep improving and look to be up front soon.

Casey Cochran (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 10th:
It was definitely a good day. I surprised myself and I think a lot of people this morning by qualifying fastest, then ended up 10th overall for the weekend. To finish inside the top 10 at the second round, we can keep building and building off of that result, and I’m happy with the day overall.

Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 11th:
It was definitely a tough day. We had two bad starts and then a crash in that second one. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I feel like my speed is okay. We should be better in Colorado. Get out of California here and get back to some tracks I’ve done well at.

Daxton Bennick (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 12th:
It was my first time at Hangtown, so I just tried to learn the track a bit in qualifying. In Moto 1, I didn’t get a great start but got back to 11th. So it was a little better than Pala, finishing 12th overall today. It’s not where I want to be, but it’s a little better. That’s what we are going to try and do, just be better each weekend.

Jordon Smith (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 13th:
It was great riding. Unfortunately, the results don’t show how good the riding was for the second week in a row, but we’ll fight another day and come back swinging in Colorado and see what we can do.

Joey Savatgy (Triumph Racing) – 14th:
There are still positives to take away from the weekend. Qualifying was good again and my starts were a bit better. In the first moto I felt like I was in a really good spot behind Deegan and believed I was in a good place to go with him. Unfortunately we had an issue which left us in a pretty bad gate position for moto two. For that race I just charged the whole way to the flag as I felt good, and the bike was working well. I just need to keep my head up, keep working hard, and do it all over next weekend!

Ryder DiFrancesco (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – 15th:
It was a better weekend with two good qualifying sessions this morning. We had two good starts, but I just didn’t have the speed to run up front, so made it hard on myself. I’m looking forward to Thunder Valley.

Nick Romano (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 16th:
It was an okay day, better than last weekend for me. I was at least able to finish both motos, so that was a plus. I just struggled a little bit with myself and a little bit with the bike. So we are going to go back this week and try to figure it out for Colorado and see where we stack up.

Dilan Schwartz (Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki) – 17th:
In the first moto I had an issue and had to go into the mechanics’ area, leaving me 39th; but I ended up riding well and coming back to 15th. In the second moto. my wrist started hurting badly, but I salvaged a 19th.

Leo Tucker (Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki) – 41st:
Like last week, I struggled in qualifying, just missing out qualifying directly by four spots. I went to the LCQ and had an average start and charged all the way to the finish. I came up just short with a P-5. I watched Moto 1 from the sidelines but was called to race for Moto 2. I had a good first few laps, then unfortunately had some things happen out of my control; but we will keep fighting and pushing!

Preston Boespflug (Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki) – 43rd:
It was a rough day for me, but I’ll be back in a couple of weeks! Thank you Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki for the support.