News 2 Jul 2023

Defending WSX champion Roczen wins Birmingham

SX2 number one McElrath picks up where he left off as 2023 series opens.

Image: Supplied.

Birmingham’s opening round of the 2023 World Supercross Championship (WSX) has been won by defending champion Ken Roczen, as fellow number one plate-holder Shane McElrath delivered in SX2.

PMG Suzuki-mounted Roczen took the overall victory after going one-two-one in the three main events, joined on the overall podium by Joey Savatgy (Rick Ware Racing) and Vince Friese (MotoConcepts Racing).

A frenetic start to the opening main event saw Friese take an early lead from a flying Thomas Ramette. Hill and Roczen were third and fourth, and eventually made it past Ramette, before Roczen passed Hill and set off after Friese. Fans were denied a grandstand finish when Friese went down out of the lead. He still held on to second, with Hill third.

Roczen again gave himself work to do off the start in the second main event, while Friese hit the front and pulled away. The reigning champion reeled him in, but was unable to find a way past and took the chequered flag first and second. However, the pair were penalised for jumping through a medical flag and demoted to third and fourth. As a result, Hill inherited the win, ahead of Savatgy.

A battle at the front of the final main of the night saw Roczen, Friese, and Savatgy go bar-to-bar. Unfortunately for Friese he went down and finished 10th, as Roczen pulled away. Savatgy was second, ahead of home hero Dean Wilson (Fire Power Honda).

Image: Supplied.

It was decided on a best of three in the SX2 mains, with McElrath and Max Anstie (Fire Power Honda) resuming their rivalry from last season, trading main event wins. Anstie was unable to deliver the overall for the home crowd, taking a brace of seconds to McElrath’s double victory.

Brazilian Enzo Lopes (ClubMX) showed he’s going to be a force in this year’s championship, finishing third overall despite dislocating his shoulder in warm-up. Mixing it at the sharp-end of the mains, he was twice third before a crash in the final race cost him another rostrum finish. He managed to salvage fourth), enough to take third overall in the British GP.

Of the Australians, ClubMX’s Matt Moss was 11th in the first WSX final, before crashing out of contention in heat two. CDR Yamaha Monster Energy teammates Aaron Tanti and Luke Clout were credited seventh and 11th in SX2, respectively.