Wheely big deal as Hill jumps on board

DARWIN’S historic first round of the Australian Supercross Championship has changed its name to the Josh Hill Show.

The US Supercross champion will today be announced as the star attraction at the September 14-15 combined supercross-superbikes round at Hidden Valley.

Sports Minister Matt Conlan said the Darwin motor- bike spectacular would mark 24-year-old Hill’s first appearance in Australia.

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US Supercross champion Josh Hill will be making his Australian debut at the combined supercross-superbikes round at Hidden Valley.

“When it comes to superross riders around the world, Josh Hill is about as big as they come,” Mr Conlan said. “So we’re absolutely thrilled he’ll be making his Australian debut right here in Darwin.

“Josh is signed to Carey Hart’s team – the husband of pop megastar Pink – who happen to be one of the biggest teams in America.”

Event promoter and International Entertainment Group director Yarrive Konsky said that Hill’s inclusion in the Darwin supercross round was “incredibly huge”.
“We’re delighted to be able to bring Josh to Darwin and Hidden Valley,” Mr Konsky told the NT News.

“Josh had a bad crash two years ago which made global headlines and there were fears he would never race again. But he’s back better than ever and excited to be coming to Australia for the first time, where Darwin will be his very first stop.

“This guy is a huge name in supercross and his appearance will make the championships at Hidden Valley a world-class event.”

Hidden Valley is hosting a QBE Australian Superbike Championships (ASBK) and Australian Supercross Championship round.

“The double program in Darwin will be a great opportunity for Territorians, visitors and rev heads to get down to Hidden Valley and see not one but two different types of motorcycle sports at the one venue,” Mr Conlan said.

“It will be a double dose of speed, agility and athleticism and it’s going to be Hidden Valley like Territorians have never seen it before.”

The NT Government and Mr Konsky’s organisation have sourced 10,000 tonnes of dirt to build the supercross track with jumps and obstacles in the middle of the Hidden Valley circuit

H&H FMX Visits The MDP Block Part: Uno

The Hart and Huntington FMX team is at the MDP Block on Larry Linkogle’s property for a nice shred session. Bobby Lee, Lance Coury, Mike Mason, Garrett Ahlf, Jeff Griffin and Cassidy Loser were all having some fun hanging out and getting some sick shots with the beautiful winery landscape. Interviews and more to come from these guys in Part 2! Stay tuned!

Pit Pass: Redbud With RCH

RCH Racing had a huge presence in the pits at the Redbud National this past weekend, and team co-owners Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart were hanging out to meet with fans, sign autographs, and even jump into a little of the amateur racing action. We had a chance to stop by and talk with Hart, team rider Broc Tickle, and even team manager Kenny Watson, and ask them about the weekend and their Redbud experience.

BROC TICKLE EARNS FIFTH CONSECUTIVE TOP-10 FINISH

BUCHANAN, Mich. (Saturday, July 6, 2013) – Since 1974 the national events at RedBud MX have produced some of the most ferocious motos on the 12-race Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship schedule. The rough and tough design with its deep-rutted corners and elevation obstacles make it a rider and fan favorite.

Ram/RCH Racing’s Broc Tickle (No. 20 Ram/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing Suzuki RM-Z450) rode to a 10th-place overall finish Saturday afternoon after 11th-place efforts in each moto. Tickle’s solid day earned him his fifth consecutive top-10 overall finish. He remains eighth in the 450MX rider standings.

“It was a decent day,” said Tickle. “The first moto didn’t go that well. I kind of got pumped up (arm pump) and rode tight. The race didn’t flow too well. I may have just pressed too hard and got tight.”

Broc Tickle Red Bud

The event on the rich farmland in southern Michigan launched the second half of the 2013 MX series schedule. Once again the event drew a huge crowd to see riders sky over enormous jumps, including the infamous LaRocco’s Leap – a 100-foot long triple jump that sends riders and machines 30-feet into the air. Deep, rutted-up corners and a gnarly sand section also challenged riders. Stab the corners too hard and RedBud showed its fangs, punishing riders physically as they searched to find a consistent racing line.

In Moto 1, Tickle started ninth but never raced inside the top 10, falling five spots on Lap 1 after a poor start. The Michigan native pushed hard, gaining three spots to 11th before suffering arm pump. He managed to hold the position the remainder of the moto.

“I have to get better starts,” Tickle added. “I need to get off the gate better. I can see the guys riding fifth, sixth…the whole lead pack when the gate drops, I’m right there. These motos are so close – I would say from fifth back to 12th the lap times were really close. I need to keep working on my speed and hanging it out there. I kind of struggled with that today. I’m doing it down at Ricky’s (Carmichael) farm during practice sessions. I can feel it. I’m starting to transfer it over to the race.”

Tickle started ninth in Moto 2 and again struggled at the gate, falling to 15th on Lap 1. He spent the next 15 laps regaining lost ground picking up four positions, his last on the final lap to finish 11th.

“The second moto I felt a lot better on the bike,” he said. “I didn’t ride tight and the race flowed well but still got the same result. It’s frustrating but you can’t beat taking 20 points home and being consistent.”

Series point’s leader Ryan Villopoto was dominant again, sweeping both motos including a 27-second win over James Stewart in Moto 1. Stewart was runner-up in both motos with Josh Grant rounding out the overall podium finishers.

The 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take a week off before returning to action for Round 8 on July 20 in Washougal, Wash.

RAM TRUCK RACER BROC TICKLE NINTH OVERALL AT SOUTHWICK

Michigan Native Now Eighth in 450MX Rider Standings

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (Saturday, June 29, 2013) – Historic Southwick Motocross 338 in New England was the site of Round 6 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship where warm temperatures and the unique sandy track surface presented a stern challenge for riders at Saturday’s Moto-X 338 National. RCH Racing’s Broc Tickle finished 11th in Moto 1 and 10th in Moto 2 for an overall finish of ninth. He moved up one spot to eighth in the 2013 450MX rider point standings.

Commonly known as ‘The World’s Fastest Sandbox’, success at Southwick is all about stamina and carrying momentum in the pure sand. Finding the right racing line is imperative. Ride too aggressive and Southwick’s notorious big holes and long ruts will devour a bike.

Tickle (No. 20 Ram/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Suzuki RM-Z450) posted the ninth best time overall during timed qualifying practice. James Stewart was quickest in the first practice session while Ryan Villopoto was tops in the second.

Tickle scored 11th in Moto 1 after fighting back from a log-jammed first turn that dropped him to 18th after Lap 1. Tickle used patience to gain five positions by mid-race and collect another two the back-half of the moto, just missing a top 10.

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“I was18th on the first lap after a bunch of guys went down in front of me,” Tickle said. “I worked my way up to 12th, then 11th but couldn’t crack the top-10. We just lost too much time on the first lap and let the guys pull too much ground on us. I felt good. I felt strong. We made some changes on the bike for the second moto and that seemed to work.”

Ryan Dungey was the Moto 1 winner, edging Andrew Short by 0.634 seconds with Justin Barcia third.

In Moto 2, the Tony Berluti-tuned Suzuki started 11th and Tickle again found himself in a torrid battle for track position heading into Turn 1. He was 12th after Lap 1 and broke inside the top 10 on Lap 3. The Michigan native used the next 23 minutes – plus two laps – to race as high as eighth before falling two spots with under 10 minutes remaining in the moto. Tickle took the checkered flag 10th.

“I gave it everything I could today,” Tickle added. “This place is tough on bikes and tougher on riders. We were up there battling for eighth place but just lost it a little bit on one lap. That cost us a couple of positions. I raced as hard as I could today. I gave it everything.

Tickle Southwick 2

“I thought that I settled into a really good rhythm in the second moto. My lap times felt consistent on the Suzuki; I almost cracked the two-minute range. We made some adjustments to the bike after the first moto and they helped. Overall, we were able to get ninth overall today and move up to eighth in the rider standings. We’ll just keep getting after it and trying to improve every week.”

Villopoto won Moto 2 with Dungey second while Dungey claimed overall honors.

The 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to the RedBud National in Buchanan, Mich. next Saturday afternoon for Round 7.

Hart and Huntington FMX Visits The MDP Block (teaser)

The 2013 Hart and Huntington freestyle team was lucky enough to get invited to the place where FMX originated, The MDP Block, or better yet the OG section on Larry Linkogle’s property in the wine country of Temecula CA. It was a Day filled with photos video and hot girls spread all over the compound. Have a look at the first of the 3 part series with the likes of Bobby Lee, Mike Mason, Lance Coury, Garrett Ahlf and Jeff Griffin.

TICKLE CLAIMS FIRST TOP 10 OF SEASON AT MUDDY CREEK

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (Saturday, June 1, 2013)

Broc Tickle scored his first top-10 finish of the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship with a 10th-place finish Saturday afternoon in the Tennessee National at Muddy Creek Raceway.

Tickle finished 13th in Moto 1 and was 11th in the second. Consistency paid dividends, giving him a finish of 10th overall.

“In the first moto, I got off to a better start than I did at the first two races this year,” Tickle said. “Getting up there with that group of guys was good but we’re all really close, so it’s hard to make moves to get around them. The track was kind of tight today. It was a decent finish, but I feel like I should have been in the top 10.

Tickle Muddy Creek

“I got tangled up in the first corner in the second moto, but I came out alright as some guys went down next to me. From there, I tried to be smooth and smart with my lines. I used the entire track trying to stay out of the ruts and away from the bumps. I thought I was going to get (Andrew) Short there at the end for a top 10.

Tickle climbed two positions in the rider standings, moving up to 11th place, two points behind 10th-place Ryan Sipes and two ahead of 12th-place Kevin Strijbos.

The day got off to a good start for Tickle with two solid practice sessions on Saturday morning. The results of those two sessions gave him the ninth-place starting position for Moto 1.

“The first practice went really well,” Tickle said. “I was sixth and felt I left some on the table. The second practice, we made some changes to the bike and I think I was trying a little too hard to go fast. I had about the same times in the first and second practice. We transferred in ninth, the best weekend I’ve had so far.”

The event was the first AMA Motocross event held in the southeastern United States since 1997 and the first motocross in the Volunteer state since the series visited Nashville in 1977. Muddy Creek Raceway was chosen in large part because of its natural-terrain motocross course with great dirt and a long history of hosting quality events.

Ricky Carmichael, RCH Racing co-owner, raced at Muddy Creek early in his career and was impressed by the event, especially the attendance.

“To see this facility get an outdoor national says a lot for Sam Gammon, the promoter,” Carmichael said. “He’s done a fantastic job. This is a really good market for the sport. It’s going to be a good event for the fans, the sponsors and the sport. At the end of the day, that’s what it is about. We have beautiful weather and look at the crowd, this place is packed. It’s great to come back to this place and see all the people.”

Ryan Villopoto was the easy winner in Moto 1 to remain unbeaten in the outdoor season but the streak ended at five when Ryan Dungey claimed Moto 2 to emerge as the overall winner of the event. Justin Barcia finished second in both motos.

Villopoto remains the leader in the season standings with a 10-point advantage over Dungey.
The 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa., for Round 4 next Saturday afternoon.

Mason and Coury to compete in Barcelona Speed and Style

MEDIA ALERT:

May 14th, 2013

Hart and Huntington Rider Update –

Lance Coury and Mike Mason will compete in Barcelona, Spain, for the second stop of Global X Games from May 16th – 20th. Lance Coury is fresh off a Gold Medal performance at X Games Brazil, and is hoping to repeat that success in Barcelona. “I had a great time winning gold at X Games Brazil and I look forward to competing again at X Games in Spain!” said Coury.

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Lance may be a newcomer on the X Games scene, but he is no stranger to the Hart and Huntington team or the motocross world. He has been part of the Hart and Huntington team for over 4 years now, first riding for Hart and Huntington clothing, and now under the RCH Racing tent riding a Dodge/Hart and Huntington/Sycuan/Suzuki as well.
“We are really excited and proud of Lance for bringing home a gold medal for the Hart and Huntington team while competing in Brazil as a rookie. This is a true testament to all of Lance’s mental and physical dedication and training efforts in his private facility in Wyvern, Ca. Lance will be tough to beat in the upcoming Speed and Style event in Barcelona, and we’re expecting some additional hardware to come home with him May 17th!” commented Josh Merrell from Hart and Huntington.

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Unlike Coury, Mason is no stranger to the X Games circuit. He won a gold in this event Last year in LA and a silver medal in 2011 and has had a total of six top-5 finishes since 2006. After a year hiatus, Mason has rejoined the team for 2013. “I’m pumped to be back on the Hart and Huntington crew. These guys have been like family to me for the past 7 years and I now realize this is where I belong. We got a good group of kids on board to make the FMX team as strong as it has ever been. I’m really excited for this next year to do my thing and hopefully bring the H&H crew a gold at X games, as well as keep building this program and get the H&H name out to as many markets as we can and make this thing grow more than it already has!”

The action gets under way in Barcelona on May 16th, with Speed and Style scheduled Friday May 17th. Team owner Carey Hart is “Really excited that two of our athletes are going to be battling for the gold medal in Barcelona. I hope both of them come home with medals at the end of the event.”

Carmichael, Hart model business blueprint after NASCAR

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Through three seasons in the Camping World Truck Series, Ricky Carmichael didn’t approach the sterling results he posted in a career many consider the greatest in motorbike history.

But off the track, the NASCAR foray in 2009-11 might have yielded an intangible benefit: Business savvy.

After watching how stock-car teams pay the bills through creative sponsorships, Carmichael is applying those lessons to his second career as a team owner in motocross, which has been slower to adopt NASCAR’s team economic model after being fueled by money from manufacturers for years.

“After being on both sides of the fence and learning the NASCAR program, I knew this was the way motocross and Supercross were probably going to go,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “I’m thankful I learned so much in NASCAR, and I’m trying to bring that mentality over to the two-wheel side.”

Carmichael, who won a record 15 championships (10 in motocross; five in Supercross), became a partner last October in RCH Racing, which was founded by freestyle motocross pioneer and entrepreneur Carey Hart. After finishing ninth in the Supercross standings with rider Broc Tickle, the team will begin its Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship campaign Saturday in Sacramento, Calif.

Though expectations of results in the 12-round series are modest — Tickle won’t have a teammate until next year — the team still will be distinctive if it doesn’t improve on last season’s fifth-place points finish.

In its third season of sponsorship from Chrysler (its Ram truck brand will sponsor the outdoor season after the Dodge Dart was promoted during Supercross), RCH is proving it’s possible to be a viable organization without being tied solely to money from factories — such as Kawasaki, Honda and Yahama — that are endemic to the sport.

While Carmichael brokered a sponsorship deal with Suzuki that brings critical technology and R&D to the team, RCH remains primarily funded by non-racing sponsors (including Syucan Casino). It’s a necessary arrangement with motorbike sales down since the economic downturn, and the manufacturers less inclined to shell out cash as during Carmichael’s era when the factories paid the entire freight. It costs about $5 million annually to fund a championship rider for a full year of Supercross and motocross.

“Now they can’t sustain that kind of business anymore,” Carmichael said. “(The support) is coming back, but it’s nothing like when I was racing.

“Suzuki thinks our program is the way motocross and Supercross are going. This is the future. I think we can get the same amount of return and results for them for substantially less. We have the best program for pure marketing, and we have a great race program as well.”

While Carmichael handles the competition side of the team, the business side is handled by Hart. The husband of entertainer Pink has been a successful businessman in launching tattoo franchises and a reality TV program, and he sees plenty of marketing potential for sponsors in racing motorbikes.

“What’s really strong with Supercross, looking at it as an underdog. NASCAR is a much older demographic,” Hart told USA TODAY Sports. “The model of NASCAR is so strong, and it’s not getting soft, but people have educated themselves on those programs and now they’re looking at our footprint, too. I think Dodge did a great job of opening that door up as the first big corporate company to get involved with our team. Everyone is testing the waters now, and I think you’ll see a lot more in the future.”

According to demographics supplied by the series, 80% of motocross fans are in the coveted 18-35 age bracket, and its audience numbers are climbing as its exposure increases (after a record 11 Supercross events were live on Speed this year; all 12 motocross rounds in 2013 will be on live TV, starting Saturday on Fuel TV and also on NBC and NBC Sports Network).

In 2013, Supercross averaged a record crowd of 49,911, and its attendance is up 12% since 2000. Last season, motocross averaged 20,750 fans (up for the fourth consecutive year and 5.3% from ’11) and 65,000 live streams per event (775,000 over the 12-event season, an increase of 64%).

Though those numbers still are dwarfed by NASCAR’s fan base, Hart said motorbikes still allow for a more intimate level of access.

“When we’re getting 20,000-plus people per race coming through the pits, they’re having an opportunity to grab a poster, take a picture with Ricky’s motorcycle, or jump on our Suzuki simulator,” he said. “It’s very interactive and touch and feel.”

Hart is confident of re-signing Dodge to another three-year extension when its original deal expires after this season.

But he hopes to add more sponsors when the team expands to two riders in 2014 because “the sport isn’t getting any cheaper. Each year it gets more expensive. And these bigger (sponsors) are expecting more of a return on the investment. A big part of the business is the traction in the pits, and that consists of getting people’s information to really take advantage of (fans) being there to sell them product. You’re going to see more teams like ours.”

Sponsorship, though, also is driven by success, and Carmichael is focused on adding a marquee name for 2014 to pair with Tickle.

“Our sponsors have been in a while and want the winning results, and we’ve been recruiting since January,” Carmichael said. “We’re ready to do this.”