Vurb’s 2023 Team Previews: Rockstar Energy Husqvarna

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 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing and you will find the full schedule below.

Who’s In:
#24 RJ Hampshire – 250SX/MX
#27 Malcolm Stewart – 450SX/MX
#28 Christian Craig – 450SX/MX
#38 Jalek Swoll – 250SX/MX
#339 Talon Hawkins -TBD 

Am-Pro Contract
Casey Cochran

Who’s Out:
#15 Dean Wilson
#40 Stilez Robertson

Last Season’s Supercross Results:
RJ Hampshire – 2nd 250SX East
Malcolm Stewart – 3rd 450SX
Christian Craig – 1st 250SX West
Jalek Swoll – 10th 250SX West
Talon Hawkins – Did not race. 

Last Season’s Motocross Results: 
RJ Hampshire – 5th 250MX
Malcolm Stewart – 19th 450MX
Christian Craig – 5th 450MX
Jalek Swoll – 14th 250MX
Talon Hawkins -33rd 250 MX

Offseason Grade:  A+

The Rundown:
If it seems redundant that I may never give a team a bad grade, well then you’ll have to read each preview because I will at some point. However, this is not the time to do that! Rockstar Energy Husqvarna went out and grabbed Christian Craig fresh off of a 250SX West Region title to race their 450 full-time in 2023 and 2024. We’ve obviously seen what Craig can do on a 450 over the years. He’s been in the position to almost get an overall win outdoors and is obviously dialed indoors as well. His whoop speed is on another level. Have we even gotten to see all that Craig has to offer? Christian turned 31 in July and seems to be in the prime of his career, which was evident in 2022. He’s also now adding the Aldon Baker program, which could definitely put him into the conversation as a podium guy each weekend. 

Malcolm Stewart returns to the team in the final year of his contract. Mookie finished third in points in Monster Energy Supercross in 2022. At one point during last Supercross season it wasn’t a matter of IF he was going to win, it was WHEN. Although he was never able to notch that first win, Mookie progressed yet again. If he has a season where he gets a 450 win then you would expect it to come in 2023. Stewart keeps building each season and his prime is now. 

Riding the 250s for the team will be familiar faces RJ Hampshire and Jalek Swoll. You have to wonder if RJ is ever going to figure this Supercross title winning stuff out! He’s now one of the veterans in the 250 class and has had the speed to win for years. Maybe this is the year he cuts out those bad races and ends up on the podium every week? Also, he won the overall at Budds Creek and with Jett Lawrence moving up to 450s this summer the 250 class is looking for a new champion. 2023 is all about championships for RJ. 

Jalek Swoll is back with Husqvarna for 2023 and it’s nice to see a team stick with him. The team is hoping that Swoll will put in his best season and be a top five and podium contender more often than not. He has the potential, but then again so does everyone else inside of the top 15 of the 250 class. 

The addition of Craig, Mookie’s SX season, and then the addition of Casey Cochran and Talon Hawkins are truly the reasons I gave Rockstar Energy Husqvarna an A+. Husky is investing in the future of the team with Cochran and Hawkins. Hawkins dabbled in some Lucas Oil Pro Motocross this past summer. He raced three nationals and his best finish was 18-14 for 17th overall at Pala 2. With another year of development in 2023, Hawkins is already one of the favorites for the Horizon Award at Loretta’s. 

Cochran could very much be the next big thing in the sport. His transition into the Pro Sport classes will be interesting to watch when he makes the jump in a year or so. Cochran came through the ranks with the RM Army and raced GASGAS last season before jumping on with Husqvarna support this season. He won two titles at the Ranch this summer in 125 Jr. (12-17) BC and Schoolboy 1 (12-17) B/C. Winning four out his six motos earned him the AMA Youth Racer of the Year Award. His future is bright as he will jump on a 250 and race the B classes in 2023. The Rockstar Husqvarna team parts with longtime member and fan favorite Dean Wilson, who is moving over to Firepower Honda. Dean-O will be missed, but having Craig and Mookie around the pits will keep the fans coming to the truck. Stilez Robertson, who came into the pro ranks on the Husqvarna amateur program, makes the switch to Star Racing Yamaha. He has plenty of potential and maybe a fresh change will be good for him.

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

Team Preview Schedule:
10/27 – Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/ GASGAS Factory Race Team

11/3 – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

11/9 – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Team

11/16 – Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory Racing

11/23 – HRC Honda

11/30 – Bar X Suzuki

12/7 – Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki

12/14 – H.E.P. Motorsports Suzuki

12/21 – Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha

12/28- Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

1/3 – Team Solitaire

Main image: Husqvarna

Written by Troy Dog

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