The 2021 rider rosters are coming in hot and heavy, and now the much-rumored SmarTop/BullFrogSpas/MotoConcepts Honda team has filled out its official four-rider lineup. New faces with Shane McElrath and Benny Bloss join the returning Justin Hill and Vince Friese.
McElrath, runner up in Monster Energy 250SX East in 2020, and third-ranked in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross' 250 class, has pointed out of 250SX. He was said to be talking to many teams, but was spotted testing an MCR Honda recently in California. Now he's signed for his rookie 450 season, packing a resume full of 250 wins and annual title contention.
Bloss has spent seasons on and off with the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM team, as well as his own privateer effort in pro motocross this year. Bloss has shown plenty of speed throughout his career, including a 450SX heat race win at one of the Salt Lake City rounds earlier this year, but injuries in supercross have haunted him.
Hill joined MotoConcepts last year and was putting together a mid-season surge with 5-6-6 finishes in Tampa, Arlington and Atlanta. A podium finish seemed on the horizon, but he was not the same rider when the season resumed from the Coronavirus break in Salt Lake City, with best finishes of a ninth and a tenth in that seven-race stint.
Friese has been a stalwart member of the MCR organization an has improved his speed and results quite a bit over the last two seasons.
Malcolm Stewart raced for the team in 2019 and 2020 but has recently announced he has signed with Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha for '21.
The MotoConcepts squad has existed primarily as a supercross-only team for the last several seasons, but the team indicated some rounds of the Pro Motocross Championship could be in the cards for 2021.
The team's full press release is below.
Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Announces 2021 Rider Line-Up
Smartop | Bullfrog Spas | MotoConcepts Racing (MCR) is pleased to announce its 2021 rider line-up as they welcome new and returning faces to the team.
MCR is excited to announce the addition of Shane McElrath to its 450 program. McElrath brings veteran experience and an impressive resume as he transitions from the 250 class to the 450 class for the 2021 season. The runner-up in the 2020 250SX West championship title and third place overall finisher in the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series, McElrath is proven to be a consistent top-contender, capable of getting the job done. “I look forward to working with Shane as I think MCR’s top-level management and bike development team are going to allow him to succeed in what can often be a challenging period as a rider transitions from one class to another,” said MCR Team Owner, Mike Genova.
Also joining the team for the 2021 season is Missouri native and veteran 450 rider Benny Bloss. “Benny’s display of speed and whoop strength in the final rounds of the 2020 season allowed us to see the raw talent he possesses. We feel the MCR program will allow him improved starts, which will help put him up front, and the speed he possesses will keep him up front,” said Tony Alessi, MCR’s Team Manager.
Returning to the team following a top-ten overall finish in the 2020 Supercross season is Oregon native Justin Hill. The former 250 West Supercross Champion will return to the track aboard a 2020 CRF450R. “Justin displayed the commitment and hard work we expected to see last year, which showed in his speed, allowing him to secure eight top-ten finishes. We’re sure we’ll see an even higher-level from Justin in 2021,” said Genova.
Finishing out the 2021 rider line-up is returning MCR rider, Vince Friese. Because of Vince’s experience and knowledge, he will be an integral part of developing the 2021 Honda CRF450R to the level of MCR’s 2020 Honda CRF450R bikes.
In addition to the Monster Energy Supercross Series, MCR is committed to participating in some or all of the 2021 AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series should rider health and world conditions allow. “￼Our mission in 2021 is to utilize the testing and development abilities of Vince Friese to turn the new model CRF 450 into a race-winning package for future seasons,” said Alessi.
The 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series begins at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on January 16 and travels the country concluding at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Utah at a date yet to be announced.