Red Bull/KTM’s German sensation, Ken Roczen, earned his career best Supercross Lites finish and his second podium of the season with a 2nd place result at the penultimate round of the West Supercross Lites Series held in Salt Lake City, UT.
Roczen, who celebrated his seventeenth birthday the day before the race, collected the best gift he could hope for – a season best finish. Roczen started the day well turning lap times within the top five in practice which led to a great gate pick in his heat.
When the gate dropped for the first Lites heat it was Roczen’s orange machine at the front of the pack. After pulling the holeshot, Roczen was passed by Tomac and dropped to 2nd. “I made a few mistakes in the heat race. I was still trying to adjust to the track and was glad to take away 2nd,” remarked Roczen.
In the main event, Roczen got off to another decent start rounding the first corner in 6th position. Josh Hansen fell while attempting a block pass on Eli Tomac and handed Roczen 5th position. Still on the opening lap, Roczen passed Broc Tickle and moved into 4th. He spent the next half of the race working his way into 2nd. Once in 2nd position, he held tight and fought his way to earn the runner-up spot on the podium.
“I am very excited to top my best finish in my first race back,” stated Roczen. “The time change is always difficult for me when I come back from Europe and I felt a little tired tonight and was glad to put a decent race together with such short time back in the U.S.”
Roczen wasn’t the only Red Bull/KTM rider to put in a decent night. His Supercross teammate Andrew Short had a great night finishing 4th overall. Short looked solid from the first practice all the way to the final checkered flag.
Short started the main event in 8th place and worked his way up throughout the twenty lap main. He never gave up a position, only took them away from others as he climbed his way through the pack. By the end of the race Short had moved into a remarkable 4th place position.
“The past two weeks we have seen tremendous improvement in Short’s riding. He has stepped up his practice times and remained consistent in the races. We are very proud of the progress he has made – he earned every position tonight,” commented Red Bull/KTM Team Coordinator Casey Lytle.
Short’s teammate, Mike Alessi, was not as fortunate in the main event. Alessi had a bad crash in the beginning of the race when he came together with Chris Blose. He was slow to get up and once recovered, tried to ride for a few more laps. Unfortunately, he did not feel well enough to finish the race and he pulled off and returned to the pits for further evaluation.
The next event for the Red Bull/KTM Team is the season finale next weekend in Las Vegas, NV.