After a weekend off from racing, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team made their way to Daytona International Speedway on Saturday for Round 9 of the 2021 AMA Supercross World Championship. It was a monumental day for rookie Stilez Robertson, who earned a career-first podium finish in the 250SX West Main Event with an explosive performance in Daytona, Florida.
Leading more than half of the physically demanding Daytona Supercross race isn’t an easy feat, especially for the young rookie who just made his professional supercross debut at the last round. Robertson, the seventh-place qualifier, put himself into a sixth-place position off the start of 250SX Heat 2 and he worked his way into fifth by the second lap. He continued charging up to podium contention, ultimately securing a solid third in the heat. In the Main Event, he shot off the line to overtake the lead position right away on the opening lap. He held off a hard-charging group of riders for the first eight laps before getting passed on lap nine. He held strong in the final six laps to claim an impressive runner-up finish at one of the most iconic tracks on the supercross circuit.
“My first qualifying was not that great but the second one came around and I was feeling good,” Robertson said. “In the heat race, I actually felt pretty good and made the decision to go back to the knobby for the Main Event and I ripped a start! I put down a good eight minutes out front and started thinking about it too much and that’s when Mcadoo got around me. I didn’t want to make any rookie mistakes so I decided to settle into second and learn.”
Teammate Jalek Swoll had a great start in 250SX Heat 1 as he settled into third on the opening lap. He made a mistake and dropped to fifth on lap two and from there he battled in a pack of riders to ultimately secure a seventh-place transfer spot. In the Main Event, Swoll got a top-10 start and charged his way up to fifth early on. He maintained a solid top-five position for the first half of the race but a mistake into the haybales caused him to drop a few spots mid-race. He worked hard to salvage positions late in the race, making a last-lap pass to secure eighth on the night.
“It was kind of a poor performance on my end, to be honest,” Swoll said. “I had to line up really far on the outside, which was not the best start. I worked my way up to fifth for a while but I got into some haybales, which lost me three positions and couldn’t find a flow after that. I’m going to take the steam from this race and use it next weekend to hopefully get on the box.”
Jason Anderson had an unfortunate start to 450SX Heat 2 as he got pushed wide into the slick grass, causing him to go down in the first turn. He quickly got up and pushed forward to secure an eighth-place transfer position. In the Main Event, Anderson started off ninth and he battled around eighth for most of the race. With a few laps to go, Anderson upped the pace to overtake the seventh spot, where he ultimately finished for the night.
“My night was pretty mediocre all around,” Anderson said. “I was P7 in qualifying today and in the heat race, I fell in the first turn and got up to eighth. That gate position didn’t put me in a good spot for the main but I made it up to seventh and that’s where I ended up.”
It was another long night for Dean Wilson, who took a detour to the last chance qualifier (LCQ) after suffering a late-race crash in the heat. He was able to secure his third-straight LQC win to claim a spot on the 450SX Main Event starting line. With a not-so-favorable gate pick in the Main Event, Wilson didn’t get the best start as he rounded the opening lap in 15th but he pushed himself into a top-10 battle within the first few laps. Battling a tough Daytona track, Wilson ultimately secured a season-best finish of 10th.
“My night was a bit eventful,” Wilson said. “I was in qualifying position in the heat race and I tried to make a pass in the last corner and crashed in the rhythm section before the finish, so I had to go to the LCQ. I was far outside gate in the main and didn’t get a good start at all but I just plugged away and ended up with a top-10. It’s not great but it’s a starting point and we’ll just try to build and get better from there.”
Team rider Zach Osborne missed the Daytona Supercross due to a back injury sustained during the week leading up to the last round. After racing through the pain in Orlando, Osborne made the tough decision to sit out as he continues to recover and strengthen his body.
“I’ve undergone some treatment this week and I feel that I’m on a good path to recovery as well as eliminating this from happening in the future,” Osborne said. “I look forward to being back with my team as soon as I’m fully fit and ready to race again.”
Next Event (Round 10): Saturday, March 13 – AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Round 9 Results: Daytona SX
1. Eli Tomac (KAW)
2. Cooper Webb (KTM)
3. Aaron Plessinger (YAM)
7. Jason Anderson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
10. Dean Wilson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
250SX West Results
1. Cameron Mcadoo (KAW)
2. Stilez Robertson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
3. Pierce Brown (GAS)
8. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
450SX Rider Point Standings
1. Ken Roczen – 199 points
2. Cooper Webb – 197 points
3. Eli Tomac – 75 points
8. Zach Osborne – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 123 points
11. Jason Anderson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 116 points
14. Dean Wilson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 70 points
250SX West Rider Point Standings
1. Cameron Mcadoo – 49 points
2. Justin Cooper – 45 points
3. Garrett Marchbanks – 39 points
5. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 34 points
7. Stilez Robertson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 28 points