Ken Roczen, is one of the youngest and most exciting European talents to emerge since Christophe Pourcel. The German will compete in the AMA 250 West Supercross series for the Red Bull/Teka KTM team this year.
Roczen burst onto the GP scene back in 2009 (as soon as he passed the GP’s 15-year-old age limit). In his first full season in the 2010 competition he sent out plenty of signals that he will be a force to be reckoned with.
The 16-year old German racer made an indelible impression on the 250 World Championship in 2010 to finish in second place behind his now KTM teammate Marvin Musquin. After warming up in the 2010 AMA 250 West Supercross series, Ken will return to Europe to race alongside new KTM teammate Jeffrey Herlings as the Red Bull/Teka KTM Factory Team fields two of the best young riders in the 250 World Championships.
To further sharpen his already impressive skills, Ken has been in the USA training with the Orange lineup under the guidance of Roger DeCoster. “The Man,” as DeCoster is affectionately known, is a legend in the sport after a distinguished racing and management career. He heads the American KTM factory team of Mike Alessi, Andrew Short, Marvin Musquin and Ken Roczen (250 West only).
Ken first sat on an motocross bike at just two and a half years old and rode his first race at three. Born in 1994, he first entered the racing record book in Germany when he won the German Outdoor Junior competition in 2000 and 2001. He won the ADAC MX Junior Cup in 2006 and was second in the Junior Worlds in the same year. One year later he claimed the Junior World Championship title and was firmly on the radar of the talent spotters for senior competition.
“Kenny” as he is affectionately known at home in Germany went on to capture the German Supercross title in Dortmund Germany in 2009 and earned the title of “Prince of Dortmund.” Even racing only part of the season because of the age limit restriction in 2009, he still finished in fifth place in the 250 World Championships on a Suzuki. Then in 2010, he turned up the gas to take 10 victories in the MX2 World Championship to finish second behind Marvin Musquin in what was a closely fought battle right down to the final races.
No observer of the sport could not fail to be impressed with the talent of this young rider and all evidence points to some fantastic performances in the 2011 season. It is expected that his even younger teammate, Jeffrey Herlings, will be the next GP rider to make the move to the USA. The Two KTM teenagers are the odds-on favorites to win the 250 world title (currently held by KTM rider Marvin Musquin?who will race the AMA 250 Nationals, when he heals from a recent knee injury that kept him out of the 250 West this year).
Ken Roczen will go down in the record books as the rider who had an AMA rule rewritten especially for him. Under recent AMA rules, riders would have had to be 18-years-old to race with the AMA in 2011. Guess what? When Suzuki expressed an interest in signing 16-year-old Roczen (because he raced for Team Suzuki Europe last year in Europe), the 18-year-old rule magically disappeared. Then, DeCoster left Suzuki and moved to KTM?Roczen immediately followed suit. More amazingly, Roczen not only left Suzuki, but he took their Teka sponsorship with him to KTM.
Kenny. Photos by Milan, G.