2019 Red Bull Straight Rhythm Race Report

125cc, 250cc, and 500cc two-strokes at the sixth annual RBSR.

Ken Roczen went undefeated on the day in the 250 class and took home the title.
Ken Roczen went undefeated on the day in the 250 class and took home the title.Brown Dog Wilson

In his first appearance at Red Bull Straight Rhythm since 2015, Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen took home the 250cc title after winning every matchup and going undefeated on the day. The two-stroke-only format saw Roczen pay homage to Jeremy McGrath, as he rode "The King's" factory 2006 CR250R while wearing a retro Fox Racing kit inspired by McGrath's 1996 gear.

“I’m so stoked!” Roczen exclaimed. “I had such a blast and am so excited to come away with the win tonight. I’ve never raced a two-stroke before so to be able to ride Jeremy McGrath’s actual bike from 2006 and get the win is awesome. Nothing but good vibes and hopefully this translates into many more for the season to come. I have to give it up to the entire team, who put so much work into this whole event. It was always supposed to be super fun, but I know it was also a lot of work, so I have to thank the guys.”

In his debut with the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM team, Brandon Hartranft clinched the runner-up spot in the 250 class.
In his debut with the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM team, Brandon Hartranft clinched the runner-up spot in the 250 class.Brown Dog Wilson

In his debut ride with the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM team, Brandon Hartranft raced with a Evel Knievel-themed gear set and graphics, and finished second overall on his 250 SX. “Red Bull Straight Rhythm was awesome,” Hartranft said. “It was my first time racing it as well as my first race with the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM team. The two-smoker was on point all day and I fought hard until the end, finishing second.”

Josh Hansen rounded out the podium in the 250 class.
Josh Hansen rounded out the podium in the 250 class.Brown Dog Wilson

Josh Hansen rounded out the podium in the 250cc division and was one of the few riders to hit the larger rhythms during the evening. “Third is not the way we wanted to leave this place, but I’m glad if I didn’t win, my dude [Ken Roczen] did,” Hansen shared. “It would have been cool to race the second-place guy at least once tonight as well. I truly want to thank Red Bull for an awesome event. Massive thank-you to Bill’s Pipes for making my bike run as good as it did and building [it] so I can be competitive; not bad for a 14-year-old bike. Also, thank you everyone at Honda for the support and help to let me be able to do this.”

Tyler Bowers (43) raced his personal Kawasaki KX500 and beat Travis Pastrana in two of the three final races to take home the 500 class title.
Tyler Bowers (43) raced his personal Kawasaki KX500 and beat Travis Pastrana in two of the three final races to take home the 500 class title.Brown Dog Wilson

Tyler Bowers took the win in the 500cc class after beating Travis Pastrana in two of the three final races. “I’m happy we lived through it and put on a really good show,” Bowers said. “At 10 years old, if you would have told me I would be racing a Supercross track with no turns in a straight line against Travis Pastrana on a 500cc motorcycle, I would have been like, ‘What?’ It’s a dream come true for me. [Pastrana] is nuts. I’m trying so hard and he’s just flipping beside me and keeping right up with me. I race on a weekly basis and he’s been out of racing for a while now; it’s just insane how he shows up and does what he does.”

Pastrana backflipped his way to second place in the 500 class, much to the delight of the crowd.
Pastrana backflipped his way to second place in the 500 class, much to the delight of the crowd.Brown Dog Wilson

In typical Pastrana fashion, he put on a show for the fans, doing a backflip during the races and taking one of the final race wins as well. “I wasn’t doing the backflip for style points,” Pastrana admitted. “I was actually doing it because [the jump face] is so steep that when I hit it, it’s just easier to lean back! I really thought I could have got [Bowers] in the whoops, but [he] just absolutely went for it, so cheers to [him]. It’s been so fun coming to this [and] it’s good to be back on a bike. I’m pretty disappointed, but it was a lot of fun!”

The 125 class title was clinched by Joey Crown.
The 125 class title was clinched by Joey Crown.Brown Dog Wilson

Joey Crown was fastest in the 125 class timed qualifying and beat Michael Leib in the final round to take the title. “Coming into this event I knew I was capable of winning, but there are a lot of good guys,” Crown said. “[Practice] was really sketchy and embarrassing to be honest; it was really rough. My dad was already throwing in the towel like I didn’t have it, but I got better with time and a little more dialed in on the bike. I’m really stoked to come away with the win, for sure.”

Michael Leib raced a 2002 Honda CR125 dressed up to look like Ernesto Fonseca’s.
Michael Leib raced a 2002 Honda CR125 dressed up to look like Ernesto Fonseca’s.Brown Dog Wilson

Michael Leib raced a 2002 Honda CR125 that was done up to look like Ernesto Fonseca’s and finished in the runner-up spot in the 125cc class. “I had a blast,” Leib said. “A major thank-you to Varner Motorsports and Lainer Suspension for helping me throw this thing together, Canvas MX for the gear to look the part, Stephen Heighton for the bike to ride, Rocket Exhaust for building the [bike], and many other people that contributed. A 150 is a must for next year. I hope Ernesto Fonseca would be proud!”

AJ Catanzaro paid homage to Travis Pastrana with a KTM 150 SX painted to look like a Suzuki RM125 and even wore a chest protector outside of his jersey like Pastrana did in the early 2000s.
AJ Catanzaro paid homage to Travis Pastrana with a KTM 150 SX painted to look like a Suzuki RM125 and even wore a chest protector outside of his jersey like Pastrana did in the early 2000s.Brown Dog Wilson

AJ Catanzaro competed on a KTM 150 SX that looked very similar to the Suzuki RM125 that Travis Pastrana raced back in the early 2000s. In the semi-final round, Catanzaro’s feet came off the pegs in one of the rhythm sections and he launched high into the air off one of the wall jumps, but luckily stayed on the bike. He was defeated by Crown in that semi-final and rounded out the overall podium. “I did my best to embody the legend [Travis Pastrana], whether it be intentional or non-intentional,” Catanzaro said. “I’m glad I’m alive!”