TOUGH NIGHT FOR RCH SOARING EAGLE/JIMMY JOHNS/
SUZUKI FACTORY RACING IN OAKLAND
Tickle Sidelined Early, Roczen Battles Back to Finish 16th
OAKLAND, Calif. (January 26, 2015) – If adversity builds character, then RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing left Oakland steeped in fortitude.
RCH Suzuki RM-Z450 riders Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle had hard-hitting nights and left the fourth race of the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship, bruised and battered but ultimately, none too worse for the wear.
Both Roczen and Tickle fell victim to the challenging Oakland race course at O.co Coliseum, taking a hit in the final race rundown as well as the 450SX points. Roczen, who came into the event with a 12-point lead in the championship, now trails new leader Ryan Dungey by four, while Tickle slipped from seventh to 12th in the standings.
Much to everyone’s chagrin, the RCH duo’s collective night started out on the polar end of the spectrum from where it finished. Roczen picked up his first heat-race win of the year and Tickle finished third in the same heat, guaranteeing both riders choice spots at the starting gate for the main event.
Unfortunately, Tickle was caught up in a multi-bike melee heading into the first corner. Although the Holly, Mich., rider was able to recover quickly from the initial incident, he came up short on a triple later during the opening lap, forcing him back to the paddock and an early exit.
“I’m super-bummed on the way the night ended up,” said Tickle. “I had an awesome second practice qualifier and a great heat. The racing was awesome and the track felt great. Unfortunately, I crashed on the start in the main and was in the back of the pack. I got back going but I came up short on that triple and jammed my back. I was hoping to tough it out and salvage as many points as I could but my body was telling me something different. We’ll regroup this week so I can be at Anaheim next weekend ready to rock.”
As a precautionary measure, Tickle made a voluntary trip to nearby Sutter Eden Medical Center following the incident where he was examined, released and cleared to travel home with the team.
For his part, Roczen got a great jump out of the gate to start the main event and was solidly inside the top three for the opening circuits. But after setting up and making the pass for second on two-time 450SX champion Chad Reed, the 20-year-old German rider misjudged the same triple as Tickle, landing on the face of the jump and taking himself out of any chance for the win. Shaken but not broken, Roczen picked up his Suzuki, finished the race and earned a respectable 16th-place finish.
“My heat race was really good,” explained Roczen. “I got off to a great start in the main. Battled with (Chad) Reed and Shorty (Andrew Short) … Made the pass on Reed. And I just totally brain farted. I’m so mad at myself. I tried to triple and came up short. I hit my face and my goggles on my handlebar so I had to stop and just check myself for a minute. Luckily, I got back up and kept going. Those are important points.”
“We had a rough night,” commented team manager Kyle Bentley following the race. “Things aren’t always going to be perfect. Broc came up short on the same triple Kenny did. That’s racing. We’re just glad they’re both healthy. We’ll move on and regroup and be ready for Anaheim next weekend.”
Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship, returns to Anaheim next weekend for the series’ third and final visit of the year to Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Race five of the 17-race Supercross schedule will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 Saturday, Jan. 31 beginning at 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.