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(Madera, CA, Feb 13th, 2023) – Ken Roczen has been leading the way for the RM-ARMY ever since coming on board the Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki, and Saturday night, he did not miss a beat with a 4th-place finish in Tampa, Florida. Raymond James Stadium hosted the Military Appreciation round of Supercross.
Twisted Tea Suzuki Progressive Insurance and Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki featured unique graphics which displayed our appreciation for those who serve in our military, both past and present. SKDA graphics did an excellent job with two uniquely detailed graphic sets.
The weather came into play as the day progressed, with rain coming and going throughout the night. Luckily for the riders and fans, the clouds cleared just in time for the 450cc Main Event. Twisted Tea Suzuki mounted Shane McElrath, and Kyle Chisholm had commendable races finishing 17th and 19th, respectively. Progressive ECSTAR Suzuki RMZ 250 rider Marshal Weltin missed the Main Event.
Ken Roczen #94: Working inclemently hard to produce the best possible setup, Ken and the Team have been at it all week, day and night, and continue this week working towards the ideal settings. Throughout the day, the Team made adjustments looking for the optimal setup for the Main Event. In the Main Event, Roczen put on a solid display of racing for 25 laps, coming away with 4th place and 5th overall in points standings for the 450cc premiere class.
“My night ended up really good,” said Ken Roczen. “We had a really tough week; the Team and I have been putting in hours. I think we did pretty well. I was pretty stoked about it. I’m happy to get away with a 4th place. Is huge because it was one of the tougher weeks coming into this round. There are a lot of positives to take away. I can’t wait to get back to work.”
Shane McElrath #12: Training hard throughout the week led to a productive heat race from Shane McElrath with a 6th place finish, but arm pump got the better of him during the Main Event. He finished the night in 17th place.
“Not a great race for me tonight in the main,” said Shane McElrath. “My heat race was a lot better, and my start was better, but they weren’t very good in the Main Event. The track beat me up out there. We are making progress each week, but the results don’t really show that. I was a little bit off, which translates to a lot over a moto. We are going to get back to work and keep progressing during the week.”
Kyle Chisholm #11: Solid day of racing from Kyle Chisholm. Growing up just ten minutes away from the stadium, Kyle raced in front of his friends and family. Getting after it all day, Chisholm had a strong qualifying session which carried over into his heat race. In his heat, Kyle rode well, getting a decent start and locking down a transfer position with 9th place. In the Main Event, Chisholm did his best, but arm pump got the better of him, and he finished 19th place.
“Felt good today. I had one of my best qualifyings,” said Kyle Chisholm. “We had some rain come and go throughout the night, so it made the track really slick and tough. I had a good start in the heat and made it straight into the main. In the Main Event, It was disappointing; I got a bad start and didn’t ride well. All in all, though, I made progress.”
Marshal Weltin #50: Not a great night for Marshal Weltin. Marshal missed significant training leading to this East Coast trek due to a knee injury and is still returning to his race form. In his heat race, Weltin crashed and was really banged up. Marshal raced very determinedly in the last chance qualifier after not getting the best start; he quickly worked his way into 4th place. Unfortunately, Marshal was on the wrong side of a last-corner pass, missing a qualifying position. Two rounds in and a two-week break is a lot of time for him to turn it around come Arlington, TX, February 25th at AT&T Stadium.
“It was a tough night for me in Tampa,” said Marshal Weltin. “I didn’t put myself in the best positions. I crashed in the heat race, and I slammed into the wall. In the LCQ, I rode tight and finished 5th. I couldn’t quite seal the deal. I’m going to take the positives into this break and work hard to get back to where I should be going into Dallas in two weeks.”
“The night was good here in Tampa,” said team manager Larry Brooks. “Chisholm, McElrath, and Roczen made it straight out of their heat races into the mains. Weltin struggled a bit and had a bit of a debacle in his heat race, so he didn’t qualify. In the LCQ, he had a run-in with another rider putting him out of a qualifying spot. He’s getting much better. He was off for a long time with a knee injury, and not riding for a long time really puts you at a disadvantage, and he’s obviously doing better every week. Chisholm and McElrath did okay in the Main Event, they didn’t get the best starts, and they both had arm pump. With Roczen, we struggled all day with setup. I think we got it in a better position going into the Main Event. He’s a racer; he put all the bike problems behind him for the Main Event and put the Suzuki in 4th position.”