Richard James Hampshire: Red Plate Holder

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s RJ Hampshire entered Nashville with a fifteen-point deficit to Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Levi Kitchen.

Hampshire was coming off of a fourth in St. Louis, while all the momentum was in Kitchen’s favor. Kitchen had won three out of the last four races. Hampshire needed some momentum and quickly with only three rounds remaining in the championship. (Editor’s Note: RJ would have had more momentum had he joined the Squad Pod a month ago like we had planned.)

Well, Nashville happened and it’s amazing how quickly things can change in this sport. Hampshire grabbed the holeshot in the main event while Kitchen came together with his teammate Cameron McAdoo immediately in the first rhythm section. Kitchen wasn’t getting up quickly and for a minute there it looked as though he may not get back in the race at all.

The tides had changed.

Kitchen remounted a charge to 14th, while Rick dominated the main event and left Nashville with his own two-point lead.

“That six week break after I won Glendale, I struggled with that,” Hampshire said in the press conference. “I almost took it too easy. I lost my intensity and it showed. I had two crashes that were pretty big, they weren’t just tip overs. I showed up in Seattle thinking that I’d be back to where I was in Glendale and Levi smoked me there. Then I showed up to St. Louis to try and get it on track and I got beat bad again there. I was like, okay I need to change something, I need to be more present, I need my intensity back. I need to show up and do exactly what I did tonight.”

The West Region will get this weekend off as the series heads to Philadelphia before finishing off with two consecutive weekends in Denver and Salt Lake City.

Kitchen ended up going to the hospital after the race for further evaluation on his ribs. We’re still awaiting word on his condition, although he’s hinted that he’s going to race no matter what happens. He has to at this point. He’s two rounds away from potentially winning his first championship as a pro.

Hampshire did go on to say in the press conference that preparing during the week for the Pro Motocross Championship has helped him and his riding. He’s going to continue to ride outdoors a few days and jump on the SX tracks a couple days as well to finish out this championship.

“It’s only two-points, so it’s not like it’s much,” Hampshire said. “I still need to win. I need to go into Denver and carry that same amount of confidence that I had today and know that I can be the guy. I think I lost that a bit with the long break. I need to give myself a chance on the weekend and focus on my starts like I did tonight.”

Main Image: Octopi Media

Written by Troy Dog

Faster than Slaw Dog. Editor-in-Chief

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