RJ Hampshire to debut in Supercross 450 class at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - RJ Hampshire will make his 450 debut this week in the Daytona Monster Energy Supercross race while the 250 West series is on a break. They return to action March 25th in Seattle.
After finishing second in the 250 East points last year, Hampshire made the move to the West division and continues to chase down the 2022 East leader Jett Lawrence.
The decision to try out the senior division was easy. Hampshire needed to drive only a little more than 100 miles from his Hudson, Florida home to get the opportunity to race at one of the most iconic venues in the sport.
“It was just an opportunity and I’m here to learn,” Hampshire told NBC Sports. “I’m trying to take advantage of the race, try to get some experience, get to learn a new bike. If I can give some value to the sponsors, I’d rather be here than on the couch this weekend.”
This won’t be his first race at the track, however. Hampshire has four previous starts in the 250 class with a best finish of fourth in 2020. Simply making the show on a new bike in a new class will be an achievement in itself.
Hampshire currently trails Lawrence by 20 points, a deficit largely created by a disappointing round in Arlington during their second race of the season. He won the opening feature of that Triple Crown format but crashed in the second race and finished last. Still suffering the effects of the accident, he was 13th in the final event and scored minimal points as Lawrence finished second.
Hampshire’s other three results this season have each been second-place finishes.
With the SuperMotocross World Championship coming up, which will be contested on larger tracks that have elements of both Supercross and Motocross like Daytona this week, this is also a chance for Hampshire to get some laps in on a course type that could prove critical.
“It’s pretty tight honestly, it’s not like it’s wide open,” Hampshire said. “It’ll get rough; it’s sandy, so it’s a little more outdoors.”