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(Madera, CA, April 25th, 2023) –It was another historic night for Pipes Motorsports Group/HEP Motorsports with the team’s first two riders in the top six of the 450cc premiere class. In the muddiest race of the year, Ken Roczen had a thrilling main event taking third place, putting himself on the podium back-to-back rounds now. Twisted Tea/HEP Suzuki rider Shane McElrath had a career-best premiere class finish with 6th place. Fellow Twisted Tea Suzuki rider; Kyle Chisholm finished in 13th place. Progressive ECSTAR Suzuki rider Dilan Schwartz had a commendable day with a 16th-place finish.
Ken Roczen #94: Incredible race from Roczen, taking third place in the muddiest race of the year. Ken raced exceptionally well throughout the night. Ken led every lap of his heat race, and in the main event, he continued leading into the race’s midway point. The main event did not lack excitement, with Roczen jumping out to the first lap lead and going down in the whoops to a third-place finish; what a race!
“We had a lot of fun today,” said Ken Roczen, “We were going well all day on a super tough track. We were always on the board, even grabbing the first qualifying pole position. I ended up having a really good ride in my heat race and won that one. The main event got delayed, and the track was completely underwater. That meant we had to get a good start, and we had the bike prepped as good as we could, and it held absolutely solid. I never had to adjust a clutch or anything like that. I’ve been really happy with some of the changes we made and how the bike felt today. I ended up being on the podium with third after a couple of mistakes and a few mishaps. It was a super solid night because it could have ended up a lot different too.”
Shane McElrath #12: Career best premier class finish from Shane McElrath with 6th place. It was a resilient effort from Shane, who worked his way up into the top ten to a personal best.
“Really late night tonight getting delayed because of the storms,” said Shane McElrath, “we still raced. It was a muddy mess out there; for the 450 class, I had a really good start, but I couldn’t stop or turn around the first corner, and I felt like I got blasted with some mud and couldn’t see. I really felt like I went backward over the first couple of jumps. I just tried to regroup and get around the track efficiently and cleanly, the track was technical, and the mud was really heavy. I made some really good passes, and some guys went down and gave me some spots. Honestly, for me ending up 6th is a career-best. It felt like I did everything I could, and to get a 6th is a good way to end the night. I am ready to keep going!”
Kyle Chisholm #11: Good night from the veteran, Kyle Chisholm. Kyle got a great start in his heat race and rode well, with 5th place. In the main event, Chisholm made the most of his start and worked his way into 13th place.
“Eventful night with delay,” said Kyle Chisholm. “Just honestly kind of disappointed. I got a really good start, got myself in a really good spot. I had a little tip over and shuffled back. Just really disappointed not to capitalize and get a good finish like we should have. It is what it is, so we will try again next weekend.”
Marshal Welton #50: Disappointing round from Marshal missing the main event. Expect to see him turn it around next Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I was happy with how I was riding during the day,” said Marshal Welton. “I just couldn’t quite execute in the heat races and the last-chance qualifier. I wanted it, and I just rode tight in the races. The track was good for all my races. I didn’t make it to the main with the mud. I was bummed I wasn’t able to race it. I’m ready to fight next weekend.”
Dilan Schwartz #85: Remarkable night from the young Suzuki RM-Z250 rider. Dilan found himself in the last-chance qualifier, and with one corner to go, just outside the transfer position, in a wild finish, Dilan made a crucial qualifying pass. Schwartz finished the night in 16th place.
“Qualified my best with 9th today,” said Dilan Schwartz. “So that was pretty good. I crashed in the heat race and had to go to the last-chance qualifier. In the LCQ, I made it stick in the last turn to get in the main. In the main, it started raining and got really muddy out there, so I just tried to make it thru it, get the bike thru it, and I’m looking forward to Denver in a couple of weeks.”
“The night was awesome,” said Team Manager Larry Brooks. “Roczen’s bike was working really good; we made some changes to it. Then in the heat race, he was amazing. He got the hole-shot. Cooper Webb passed him, then he passed him back, and then just ran away from him. It put an excellent start to the night. Then in the main, it started pouring down rain. It was the craziest wettest race that I’ve seen in a long time. For me, it was fun, but I was watching. Roczen finished 3rd. McElrath had his best finish in the 450 class with 6th, and Chisholm finished 13th. Schwartz had a crazy entry into the main. He qualified on the very last corner, slammed two guys, and made it into the main event. It was amazing, and he finished 16th in the main event. It was a really good night for the team and one of the more fun nights that I’ve had.
The series heads to Nashville, Tennessee, for the 15th round of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. After an exciting EAST/WEST showdown, we will have to wait two weeks until Denver for the two coasts to reconvene again. For now, the lights class returns to East Coast this coming Saturday at Nissan Stadium. Expect to see the momentum of Ken Roczen continue as he aims for more podiums! The racing starts at noon PST. You can catch all the action live on PEACOCK TV and follow race day through our social media.
TWISTED TEA/ HEP SUZUKI: Twisted Tea Hard Iced Tea, Suzuki Motor of America, INC. (SMAI), Progressive Insurance, ECSTAR, FLY Racing, Western Power Sports (WPS), Mayhem Wheels, Dixxon Flannel Co, Pro Circuit, Twisted Development, SKDA Graphics, WD-40 Brand, DID, Dunlop, JE Pistons, Hinson Clutch Components, Mika Metals, DT1 Air Filters, Nissin Brake Components, Galfer Brakes, Acerbis, Boyesen, GUTS Factory Seats, Motion Pro, Matrix Concepts, Alpinestars, 100%, OGIO, Works Chassis Lab, Works Connection, Scar, ARC Levers, CV-4, Crank Works, XTRIG, Midland Tractor, Showa, record7.
Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki: Progressive Insurance, Suzuki Motor of America, INC. (SMAI), ECSTAR, FLY Racing, Western Power Sports (WPS), Mayhem Wheels, Dixxon Flannel Co, Pro Circuit, Renthal, Twisted Development, SKDA Graphics, WD-40 Brand, DID, Dunlop, JE Pistons, Hinson Clutch Components, DT1 Air Filters, Nissin Brake Components, Galfer Brakes, Acerbis, Boyesen, GUTS Factory Seats, Motion Pro, Matrix Concepts, Alpinestars, 100%, OGIO, Works Chassis Lab, Works Connection, Scar, ARC Levers, CV-4, Crank Works, XTRIG, Midland Tractor, Showa, record7.