Defending 250SX West Region Champion Justin Hill has never wavered from his desire to race the 450. The topic was even brought up again after Hill won in San Diego.
“I’ll go back to the truck and talk to the team a little bit and see if they want to do it,” Hill said at the time. “Unfortunately, Bogle crashed hard tonight, and I don’t know if I’m not supposed to say anything or what, but he’s hurt. So maybe they’ll want to throw that 450 right back out there. I don’t know. I’m going to talk to them about it. I had already brought it up. I just want to get a couple races in on the big bike if possible, if it’s available.”
Well, Hill will get his wish, as JGR announced today that he will race “select” rounds of 450SX while the 250SX West Region is on break. He’ll make his debut this weekend in Tampa.
“I’m ultra-psyched to have this opportunity. I’ve been waiting a long time to ride the all-new Suzuki RM-Z450, and that’s what our deal entails for next year. To get my feet wet is crucial, not just for racing, but also in getting some development time logged. We’ve already made a lot of great setting choices on the bike and I’m learning a lot,” stated Hill. “It’s really easy for me to ride the bike. The great part about these 450 races is that I have my own expectations, but there isn’t any pressure. It should be fun.”
When Hill signed this off-season with JGR, it was announced he’d defend his 250SX title and then move to the 450 Class in 2019. Team manager Jeremy Albrecht said the team will use these next few rounds to help for next year.
“We’re excited to have Hill on the 450. He’s brimming with confidence after coming off a win before the break in the 250 West series. We’ll use these next few 450 rounds as development for 2019. We will go on a race-by- race basis, and then he will get back to riding the RM-Z250 in order to finish out the year strong.”
We've only really seen Hill race a 450 once in professional supercross-style competition, but he was very good. Back at the 2014 Monster Energy Cup, he rode a Red Bull KTM 450SX-F and went 2-2 in the first two races, shadowing race leader Trey Canard most of the way.
The West Region is set to return to action on March 24 in Indianapolis for the first East/West Showdown of the year.
To watch Justin Hill debut the all-new Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing RM-Z450, log into the JGRMX Facebook Live page today at 11am PST/ 2pm EST.
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