The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana hosted round number 14 of the 2012 AMA Supercross series on Saturday night (the eighth round of the Lites East championship), and Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen entered the event fresh off of a huge win in Houston two weeks prior. Needing another victory and a mistake by current series points leader Justin Barcia to keep his championship hopes alive, Roczen would eventually finish the evening in a hard-fought fifth place while Barcia did just enough to lock down his second-straight Lites East title.
With confidence on his side from the Houston win, Roczen got his day off to a great start in New Orleans as he dialed his factory KTM in early to set the quickest lap of the timed qualifying sessions (53.40 seconds). From there, Roczen kept the momentum flowing by exploding out of the gate in Lites Heat #2 to grab the holeshot and early lead, and proceeded to reel off six perfect laps en route to an easy win. With lap times dropping into the high 52-second range, Roczen’s total heat race time came in over five seconds quicker than Barcia’s heat one win.
The stage was set for an incredible Lites main event in The Big Easy, and Roczen lined up in the gate next to series points leader Barcia, who only needed a fourth-place or better to clinch the championship. With nearly 35 thousand NOLA fans on their feet, privateer Alex Martin grabbed the holeshot with Barcia close behind in second, and Roczen exited turn one just outside the top five. After working his way into fifth early on, Roczen threw down two textbook passes in a row to work his way into third by the end of lap seven, but unfortunately a mistake on lap nine lap forced him back two spots to fifth. Despite a solid effort to catch back up to the leaders, Roczen would eventually run out of time and finish the night in fifth place.
Up front, Darryn Durham took his first career win ahead of Blake Baggett in second and Justin Bogle in third, and Barcia’s fourth-place finish was all he needed to clinch the Lites East championship with just the Las Vegas finale remaining in the schedule.
Supercross Lites East Results
1. Darryn Durham
2. Blake Baggett
3. Justin Bogle
4. Justin Barcia
5. Ken Roczen
Follow Red Bull on Twitter for more news, updates and exclusive info.