In 2011 Ken Roczen signed to join Roger Decoster’s Factory KTM/Red Bull Team. Before signing with KTM, Roczen had already earned himself the 2011 World MX2 Championship and became the youngest rider to win a Motocorss Grand Prix in his home country of Germany at the age of 15. The young German-native has since gone on to become the 2013 AMA 250 West Coast Supercross Champion. The following Supercross Season, Roczen moved up to the premier 450 class. And in his rookie debut and the first race of the season, at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California, he took home the first win of his 450 career.
Although in the spotlight the twenty year-old racer may seem charismatic, charming and carefree, his personal life is not one that has gone on without struggle. With Roczen’s decision to remain in the US, his dad and lifetime mentor, coach and biggest fan, felt betrayed and refused to support his son in the ways he had in years past. However, he did show up at Anaheim to watch his son claim the first win of his premier class career.
Ken Roczen has since turned his training program over to one of the most successful Motocross Training Coaches in the world, Aldon Baker. Roczen’s bike work and prep is left to his Factory KTM team mechanic, Kelly Lumgair. Roczen also said that his dad had instilled enough fire and passion in him over the years that he doesn’t need anyone there to continually motivate him and has since found much success in solitude.
After a strong Supercross season in the 450 class, Ken Roczen turned his attention to the upcoming Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Series. So far this season, Roczen has been the dominating factor in this 450 championship, as he leads the series with 280 points, 26 points over his teammate, Ryan Dungey. The young racer, out of Apolda, Germany has won six out of twelve motos and earned five second place finishes and one third place finish. The only other riders who have claimed moto wins this year, with the exception of Josh Grant’s win at Glen Helen, have been former Title Champions; Ryan Dungey (2) and James Stewart (3).
After finishing a disappointing second in the last corner in moto two at Glen Helen to teammate, Ryan Dungey, Ken Roczen has since walked away with a large lead in every moto win he has claimed this season. In the early laps of the motos, riders like Trey Canard, Ryan Dungey and most recently, Eli Tomac have been able to hang with Roczen. But as the moto goes on, Roczen seems to be able to put some time between himself and the rest of the pack.
With 280 points in six rounds and not one finish off the podium, Roczen is only twenty points shy of a perfect season, at this point in the series. What is interesting though is that this is Roczen’s first season ever on the 450. The last time a rider dominated in this fashion in their debut season, was Ryan Dungey in 2010. Their rookie seasons in the 450 class have panned out oddly similar.
It is possibly that fact that they are so similar, has become the frustrating factor for Roczen’s teammate and former Title Champion, Ryan Dungey. Dungey typically gets better starts than his counterpart, but the rookie has seemingly found a way to beat him, by the end of the moto, nearly every single round. It will be interesting to see if Dungey can find a way to top his younger teammate before the season’s end.
Trey Canard on his Muscle Milk Honda is the other front runner of the series, sitting in third in the championship standing, only twenty-eight points out on Ryan Dungey. Although he was strong upon his return from injury close to the end of the Supercross Series, the Muscle Milk Honda rider has been continually improving and is surely hungry for a win this season. Canard has led a significant number of laps throughout the series, but seems to pass it off in the later laps of the moto. The speed is there for Canard, he just needs to be a little more aggressive and get the job done.
The number seven of James Stewart has been hit and miss this season, as usual, but, when Stewart is on, he lives up to his nickname, the fastest man on the planet. However, his struggles early in the season and the media around the drug issues, will pose a significant challenge for Stewart to claim a championship in 2014.
This weekend the series will find itself at Budds Creek Raceway in Mchanicsville, Maryland for Round Seven of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships. Can Ken Roczen make it a Three-peat?