“I’ve been riding good lately but today everyone’s just faster and better and stronger and everything. All I can do is focus on the next race.”
Those were the words of Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen following the Peterson CAT Washougal National. On a day where his main title competitor, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac, went 1-1 and cut his points lead to one, Roczen remained cool as a cucumber.
It’s not by default that Roczen is calm in the face of adversity, its come through years of championship battles. At just 19 years of age, Roczen is no baby-faced rookie—he’s battle tested. He became the youngest GP winner in history at the age of 15 and a year later won his first MX2 Grand Prix title over Jeffrey Herlings, Tommy Searle and Gautier Paulin. He outdueled Tomac this season in the 250SX West Region for his first career Monster Energy Supercross title and led his home country of Germany to its first ever Motocross of Nations win a year ago. So it’s no wonder Roczen has remained calm and collected with Tomac breathing down his neck.
“Last weekend was not my best I would say,” Roczen told Racer X’s Georgia Lindsey at Millville's press day Thursday. “I definitely want to bounce back this weekend and take the 1-1.”
Roczen looks to keep his grasp on the red-plate at Millville.
Simon Cudby photo
The advantage of riding press day typically means very little, as most riders are accustomed to the respective layouts, but for Roczen it's immense, as this is only his second visit to the famed Spring Creek Raceway. “I’ve only raced here once and I did good in one moto and sucked in the other, but I really like the track it’s a little softer than other tracks,” said Roczen of his 4-3 performance a season ago.
With Roczen and Tomac combining to win an incredible fourteen of sixteen motos this season, Roczen’s goal over the last four rounds is simple: finish ahead of Tomac.
“It’s close at the moment, but there are still enough races to make up points and to lose points,” explained Roczen. “I know what I have to do right now, and it’s all about being in front of Tomac.”
As just one point separates the two entering the weekend Roczen is in serious jeopardy of losing the red-plate that he’s had his grips on since the opening round at Hangtown. But if the pressure is beginning to weigh on his shoulders, he certainly isn’t showing it.