After a grueling battle with Eli Tomac, lady luck blessed Ken Roczen with the misfortune of Chase Sexton to grant the German the overall for Saturday’s Round 3 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley Motocross Park.
““It’s about being relentless,” Roczen shared after the race.
In Moto 1, nine-time world champion Antonio Cairoli grabbed the holeshot ahead of Roczen, but was only able to hold the lead for just a few corners. Roczen made the pass and set sail to a six second gap on the field to lead the first 10 laps. However, Tomac was able to reel him in and put on a fight for the moto win. The No. 3 Yamaha rider took the lead on Lap 11, and went on to take the first spot in Moto 1 by three seconds over Roczen.
But in Moto 2, the overall was on the line. After Cairoli grabbed his third consecutive holeshot, he was quickly overtaken once again by Roczen. This time, it would be another red rider to hunt him down. After a fourth place finish in the first moto, Roczen’s teammate Chase Sexton closed the gap and took over the lead on Lap 9. Sexton had gapped Roczen by 3.5 seconds, leaving Roczen to fend off Tomac once again. Learning from his mistakes in Moto 1, Roczen was able to best Tomac in Moto 2 and hold onto the position ahead of Tomac.
This second place battle proved to be the race winning move.
On the final lap, the front tire slid out from Sexton as he crashed just a few corners before the checkered flag. Roczen was able to get around before Sexton recovered and took the checkered flag to win Moto 2. His 2-1 day also gave him the overall win for the 450MX class.
“We (Tomac and I) had the greatest battle going on,” Roczen explained. “I just didn’t want to give up. I just want to get better every weekend and that’s what we did. It’s unfortunate Chase went down like that, but I’ll take it. I’m so stoked right now.”
As for Sexton, the fall dropped him to third overall. While still a good day for the third year competitor, his humble nature keeps his head in a learning posture.
“I don’t know (what to say),” said the Illinois native. “I came into the corner and got a swing with the rear and cross rutted. It was a costly mistake and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Tomac’s 1-3 day was good enough to split the Honda teammates to take second at the Colorado course. The three-time Motocross champion was both satisfied with the day but hungry for more.
“It was a lot of fun racing,” Tomac shared. “We were so close so many times there. I gave it my all. It’s always fun racing with Ken (Roczen). He races really clean and it makes it that much more enjoyable. It’s a bummer we missed out on the overall, but I’m still happy with the result today.”
It was Roczen’s fifth win in seven starts at Thunder Valley, including seven moto wins from his 14 career attempts. His 21st career Pro Motocross victory moves him ahead of James Stewart for sixth on the all-time wins list. The only active rider ahead of him is Tomac with 27 overall wins. Roczen’s win cuts Sexton’s championship point lead down to five marks. The series heads to High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, PA for Round 4 on June 18.