A thrilling British Grand Prix kicked off the 2023 World Supercross Championship, with both reigning champions launching their title defences in the best possible way.
Words | Press release
Running the number one plate in the WSX class, Ken Roczen took the overall victory after going one-two-one in the three main events, while Shane McElrath also went one-two-one in the SX2 class. Roczen was joined on the overall podium by Joey Savatgy and Vince Friese, with Max Anstie second and Enzo Lopes third overall on the SX2 rostrum.
The night started perfectly for Roczen on his PMG Suzuki; fastest in warm-up and fastest in qualifying before winning his heat race by a comfortable margin to make it through to Superpole.
After Dean Wilson, Matt Moss, Savatgy, and Friese had set their lap times, Justin Hill, aboard the BUD Racing Kawasaki set Villa Park alight by going nearly a second quicker than anyone else. Roczen followed, but he was unable to go quicker, and Hill took the extra championship point.
A frenetic start to the opening main event saw Friese take an early lead on his MotoConcepts Honda 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. However, the 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 Rick Ware Racing’s 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, as Roczen pulled away. Savatgy was second, ahead of home hero Wilson. Friese took the chequered flag in 10th.
It was decided on a ‘best of three’ in the SX2 mains, with defending champion and 2022 vice champion Anstie resuming their rivalry from last season, trading main event wins. Sadly for the Brit, Anstie was unable to deliver the overall for the home crowd, taking a brace of seconds on his Firepower Polyflor Honda to McElrath’s double victory aboard his Rick Ware Racing Yamaha.
Brazilian Lopes showed he’s going to be a force in this year’s championship, finishing third overall for Club MX FXR 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 – finishing behind Mitchell Oldenburg – to take third overall in the British GP.