T-Dog’s Takes: HEP Suzuki is Making the Biggest Moves in the Sport

Notice that this column now has a sponsor? That’s right! Troy Dog joined the Blu Cru and you should too! Have you seen the new 2024 models with the special livery? Go look right now! It’s amazing.

The HEP Motorsports Suzuki team has been on the rise since their inaugural season in 2018. It’s no surprise either, considering who is behind the team’s efforts, but in my opinion no other team has made so many gains in such a short period of time. 

The 2023 season will go down as the biggest turning point for the team’s success, but 2024 should be the most pivotal year for them. Team manager and owner Dustin Pipes has led the charge in every aspect since the inception and his father Aaron has been there every step as well. They’ve hired a great group of team personnel to ensure the team is firing on all cylinders. This year they brought on Larry Brooks to be the team manager and work with Dustin in coming up for a game plan. Brooks brought a lineage of managerial success with him to give HEP’s newest signee Ken Roczen everything they had to offer.

The Roczen signing was last offseason’s biggest chess piece. Kenny had fun trolling social media, having people guess what bike he was going to ride next. He tried the HEP Suzuki and saw potential in the bike and team. It’s no secret that the Suzuki has been the same bike for years without any major upgrades. It’s also no secret that the bike has a very good base and riders who have ridden the bike always remark on how well it handles and turns well. So what, it’s the only bike with a kickstarter? Kenny proved that the bike can win anyway and he has that Indy kickstarter in his trophy case. 

In talking about the bike, the team truly put all of their resources together to create the best possible package they could to present to their 2023 roster. They accomplished this by hiring Kyle Chisholm to a two-year contract to be rider/Lead Bike Developer.

I’m not sure Chiz has an official title, I just think that he’s more than just a “test rider” to the team, so I coined a new term. You’re welcome! Chiz was on the Squad Pod last week to discuss everything that he helped the team accomplish this year. He was able to bring Active Ride Suspension onto the team. Then he was able to help create a great base setting for the other riders on the team to work from.

According to Chiz, when each rider went to that base setting, that’s when the team started to have their best rides of the season. Kenny got his win, Chiz put it in the top ten, and Shane led laps and got his career best 450 finishes highlighted by a fifth in Denver. You can listen to the whole breakdown now on the Vurbmoto Podcast Network. 

The gains that were made this season by HEP were huge. As the season went on, they got better and it wasn’t just Kenny coming alive either. Freddie Noren tied his career best 8th place finish overall in the 450MX points standings. The 2024 season is shaping up to be something special for this team. They knocked their first podiums and wins out of the way in 2023. When you have a rider like Kenny Roczen on your team, riding the best he’s ridden in years, you have got to think that you’re going to contend for a supercross championship next year. 

The goal checklist is being rewritten as we speak. Ken signed another one-year deal with the team, Chiz is signed to one more year on his current contract, and Suzuki re-signed for a few years. Now we await to see who else joins the team, but while we do we know one thing; HEP Motorsports is going to have their best season yet.  

Main image: Suzuki

Written by Troy Dog

Faster than Slaw Dog. Editor-in-Chief

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