In The Mag, On The Web is an online feature where we take a behind-the-scenes look at one of the print features in Racer X Illustrated. Check out some more information on German Summer by Jason Weigandt.
A funny thing happened on the way to writing this story. Ken Roczen was establishing himself as "the man" in this summer's 450 Class in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, while at the same time stalwarts like Ryan Villopoto and James Stewart were beginning to fall into a trap of rumors and drama about their future. Chad Reed was struggling badly, too, and Roczen looked to have Ryan Dungey covered. As the idea that both Stewart and Villopoto could be on the sidelines at some point—or for all of 2015—came into focus, and with the 20-year-old Roczen starting to find his groove, the future of the sport started to look clear. This was going to be Roczen's world.
For this story, I relied on quotes and info I'd collected throughout the nationals, talking to Villopoto, Roczen's training partner, and Aldon Baker, Roczen's trainer, to get info on his riding style and approach. Then I talked to Roczen himself at Washougal. What I discovered is his hybrid European/American style, one perfectly poised to conquer the scene here. Where once European riders rode completely different from Americans, Roczen grew up watching American supercross racers and emulating their style. But he can still find lines and ride with the race craft of a GP veteran. Together, his technique seemed unbeatable.
But just as I was about to turn the story in, that funny thing happened: Roczen got beat! Dungey came roaring back, and Eli Tomac, Roczen's greatest rival, finally got rolling. Could Roczen follow his country's World Cup victory with a championship in America's premiere national class? This story provides some real insight into his chances.
Read the entire “German Summer" feature in the October 2014 issue of Racer X right now or look for the cover below on newsstands to pick up the issue in person.