Morning Espresso: Vurb’s 2024 Team Previews: Rockstar Energy Husqvarna

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Welcome to the offseason and our new ongoing “Team Previews” column. Every week from now until the Monster Energy Supercross season starts in January we will be profiling a big team in the sport. We’ll go through the changes that have been made, analyze results, and give each team a grade on all of their offseason moves. This week we have the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team and you will find the full schedule below.

The Biggest Question Mark: Can the entire team stay healthy for 2024?

Who’s In:
#24 RJ Hampshire – 250SX/MX
#27 Malcolm Stewart – 450SX/MX
#28 Christian Craig – 450SX/MX
#83 Guillem Farres – 250SX/MX
#166 Casey Cochran – 250SX/MX

Who’s Out:
Talon Hawkins
Jalek Swoll

Last Season’s Supercross Results:
RJ Hampshire – 2nd (250SX West)
Malcolm Stewart – 32nd (450SX)
Christian Craig – 12th (450SX)
Guillem Farres – Did Not Race.
Casey Cochran – Raced 250SX Futures

Last Season’s Motocross Results:
RJ Hampshire – 8th Overall (250MX)
Malcolm Stewart – Did Not Race.
Christian Craig – Did Not Race.
Guillem Farres- 22nd Overall (250MX)
Casey Cochran – 48th Overall (250MX)

Best 2023 SX Finish:
RJ Hampshire – 1st (250SX West/Denver)
Malcolm Stewart – 15th (450SX/San Diego)
Christian Craig – 6th (450SX/Detroit)
Guillem Farres – Did Not Race.
Casey Cochran – 1st (250SX Futures/Salt Lake City)

Best 2023 MX Finish:
RJ Hampshire – 2nd Overall (250MX/High Point)
Malcolm Stewart -Did Not Race.
Christian Craig – Did Not Race.
Guillem Farres – 7th Overall (250MX/Hangtown)
Casey Cochran – 22nd Overall (250MX/Budds Creek)

Offseason Grade: B

The Rundown:
Giving the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory team a B grade may be a little too nice. It’s a B, but only if the team can stay off of injured reserve for the duration of the 2024 season. If they can’t then their grade would be worse. I decided to go with the B because of the potential this team truly has. 

The most interesting dynamic in this roster is that the riders are either veterans with the possibility that they only have a couple of years left at this level or they’re rookies just starting their careers.

Leading the team in the 250 class all season will be RJ Hampshire. Hampshire has the speed to beat anyone on any given weekend, as he’s shown throughout his career, however he’s been inconsistent in his championship battles. Well, that was usually the case, but Hampshire turned over a new leaf in 250SX, He finished second overall in the standings with seven podiums and a win. Hampshire looked like he was going to carry that momentum outdoors and he felt that he could win the 250MX title.

Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t meant to be as Hampshire struggled with stomach issues all summer on race day. Then he had a concussion at Unadilla that set him back, but he kept fighting through it, earning a spot on the coveted Team USA for the Motocross of Nations, A dream come true for him. RJ bounced back to take third in the SMX Playoffs as well. With the Lawrence brothers moving up to the 450 class, this will be RJ’s best chance to get a 250SX title. He’s the veteran in this 250 class and he expects nothing less than to win both titles this year.

We didn’t get to see Malcolm Stewart much in 2023 as he exited the SX season early with a knee injury. Also, the two rounds he did compete in he didn’t exactly set the world on fire and show his Mookie speed. Stewart should be good to go for 2024 and back to his normal finishes. He finished third overall in 450SX in 2022, which was a career best for him. Maybe had Mookie been able to race in 2023 we would have been able to see him build on that success, perhaps even get his first 450SX win? After coming off of a year with no gate drops and a surgery, expect Mookie to start a little slow and find his flow as the series heads east.

Christian Craig’s “rookie” 450SX season didn’t go to his plan either, but it really wasn’t that bad. He finished 12th in points with seven top 10s. His best finish was a sixth in Detroit. It may have taken him some rounds to get adjusted to racing the new bike, but he was in a flow before injuring his arm. Craig would get surgery and that forced him out of the Pro Motocross Championship. However, Craig returned to race Motocross of Nations for Team USA in October, so he’s not coming into the 2024 season without a gate drop. Craig will be ready to go come Anaheim and he’s going to be in the 5-10 range with some stand out rides here and there. 

We still don’t know much about Guillem Farres, but we’ve seen his potential. Farres has actually only raced five nationals in the United States. He was basically an unknown when Star Racing brought him in as a fill-in rider in 2022 and he showed enough for Rockstar Husqvarna to give him a deal. Farres will race supercross for the first time and you can expect him in the top 10, but who knows he could surprise us with more. Outdoors he will continue to be in the hunt for top 10s, but the grind of the long series might get to him. He’s still technically a rookie, so let’s give him some time to figure the game out a little bit. The story with Farres is that he’s got unlimited potential right now and that’s exciting for the Rockstar Husqvarna team.

Another rider with unlimited potential is another rookie in Casey Cochran. We think Cochran will be racing the 250SX East, but it wouldn’t surprise us to see him do a few 250SX Futures rounds first. Cochran is a big time prospect and his debut in 2024 will be a big deal. He’s in a transition right now from amateur to pro, in which you can see a lot of growth happen. Cochran should be a top ten contender in each discipline. If he does more, then that’s an added bonus!

2024 Rider Projections:
RJ Hampshire –
Hampshire will be a championship contender indoors and out.

Malcolm Stewart – He’ll start SX slow, but find his flow again as the series heads east. The goal is to stay healthy and make it through outdoors.

Christian Craig- Top ten guy every week, with the potential for a top five here and there. Do we hear a podium?

Guillem Farres – Farres will be in the top ten both indoors and out. Can he stay strong throughout all 31 races?

Casey Cochran- Making the transition from amateur to pro could put Casey on another level entering 2024 SX. If not, he’ll still be a top ten guy and he will progress throughout his rookie season. 

Thanks for reading my series of team previews for the coming season. If you’d like to talk about these or any of the other stories that I’ve written you can email me at [email protected] You can also reach me on Twitter/Instagram: @troydogvurb.

2024 Team Preview Schedule:

10/13 – Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull /  GASGAS Factory Race Team

10/20 – Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki

10/27 – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

11/5 – HRC Honda

11/12 – Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory Racing

11/18 – AEO Powersports KTM

11/21 – Partzilla PRMX

11/27 – Heartbeat Hot Sauce/Team Solitaire

11/28 – Rock River Yamaha

12/4 – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

12/6 – Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha

12/13 – HBI Racing Kawasaki

12/15 – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna

12/18 – HEP Motorsports

12/20 – Triumph Racing

12/22 – Madd Parts Kawasaki

12/24 – Liqui Moly Beta Racing

12/26 – MotoConcepts Racing

12/28 – Firepower Honda

1 /3 – Phoenix Racing Honda

1/ 5- Bar-X Suzuki

Main image: Husqvarna

Written by Troy Dog

Faster than Slaw Dog. Editor-in-Chief

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