It was a monumental day for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team as Jalek Swoll claimed his first-career win in the 250MX class following an impressive pair of 1-3 moto finishes at the High Point National.
Held in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, the third round of the 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship delivered an exciting day of racing in the 250MX division with a strong performance from teammate RJ Hampshire as well.
Swoll had great momentum from the start of the day as he carried a sixth-place qualifying position into the start of Saturday’s motos. In Moto 1, Swoll shot off the line to assume the lead on lap one with his teammate Hampshire settling in behind him a few laps in. Swoll eventually got overtaken by Hampshire on lap four and he battled close behind for the next nine laps. When bad luck struck for Hampshire late in the race, Swoll was in a favourable position to reclaim the lead heading into the final laps and he finished strong to capture his first moto-win of the season. In Moto 2, Swoll put himself in a great position once again off the start as he battled for the lead early on. Eventually settling into third, Swoll kept a steady pace for the remainder of the race to ultimately land on the podium in race two. With season-best finishes of 1-3 on the day, Swoll earned his first overall win in Pennsylvania.
“To get my first outdoor podium and kick it off with a win is amazing,” Swoll said. “Right now, I just want to build off this, keep it going and try to do it again next weekend. I was actually so tired but I just dug deep – I knew I could do it; I’ve put in the hours and training for this. It wouldn’t be possible without all the people around me putting in the hard work. I’m at a loss for words right now.”
It was an up-and-down day for RJ Hampshire, who led nine of the 16 laps in Moto 1 before experiencing a bike issue that ended his race prematurely. With an almost last-place gate pick in Moto 2, Hampshire wasn’t able to get the best jump off the start and he got tangled up and went down in the first-corner chaos. Re-mounting at the back of the pack, Hampshire put on an early charge to get inside the top 20 by lap three and he continued to claw his way through the field. With an impressive climb, Hampshire was able to make his way up to an eighth-place finish in the second moto, salvaging 15th overall for the day.
“Man, what a day,” Hampshire said. “Moto 1 was honestly the best I’ve ever felt, just clicking them off, and it was cool to have Jalek up there with me going 1-2. Unfortunately, things happen and it’s tough but you kind of have to take it and try to build off it. I felt like today should have been a 1-1 day and we were onto something but I know we’re in a good spot, just need to keep our head up and looking forward to RedBud.”
Stilez Robertson got off to a 13th place start in Moto 1 and battled just outside the top-10 throughout the race. He made a move late in the race to overtake 12th, finishing there in Moto 1. In the second moto, he got off to a great start as he battled inside the top-five early on. However, shortly after passing into fourth, he went down in a corner and got stuck in the berm. It took him some time to get back going and he ultimately finished 16th in the race ad 14th overall for the day.
“The day had its ups and downs,” Robertson said. “In the first moto, I got a bad start and just didn’t ride very well. In the second moto, I got a good start and I was good for two laps and then went down and kind of got stuck on a berm. All-in-all, kind of a rough day but we’ll come out swinging for RedBud, it’s one of my favourite tracks so I’m excited.”
With both of his 450cc teammates sidelined due to injury, Dean Wilson flew the flag solo in the premier class on Saturday. He didn’t get the best starts all day but he was able to make several passes in both motos to end the day with 12-12 moto scores, claiming 12th overall on the day.
“I felt that I had a little bit of improvement with my riding in the second moto and felt a little better,” Wilson said. “It’s not good to be outside the top-10 but we’re going to shoot to be there for the rest of this season and I’ve really got to work on my starts to make that a little bit easier. In the second moto, I came from 24th on the first lap, so I need to be better than that. Overall, not the best finishes but we’re healthy and moving onto the next race.”