ATLANTA (March 2, 2015) – In the ultra-competitive world of Monster Energy Supercross, there’s one sure bet. The pendulum swings both ways and stays in perpetual motion. On the surface, the fourth- and eighth-place finishes may not represent a tremendous shift, but for RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing, the way those two finishes played out speaks volumes.
For Broc Tickle, rider of RCH’s No. 20 Suzuki RM-Z450, Saturday night’s fourth-place effort in the Georgia Dome matches his career-best 450SX finish and represents continued forward progress since being sidelined for one race following an ugly crash in Oakland, just over a month ago.
Tickle finished fifth in his heat Saturday night but went on to pick up his second semifinal win of the year. His solid showing in the main proved the semi was no fluke. The Holly, Mich., rider remains 10th in the 450SX Championship standings and now trials ninth-place Andrew Short by a slim four-point margin.
“Like I said after last weekend, Atlanta just has good vibes for me,” explained Tickle following Round 9. “It felt like I was almost riding effortlessly. The track was coming to me really easily. I knew I just needed to have a good flow and ride smart. That’s what my mechanic Ritchie (Matchett) and I worked on all week. We focused on not clipping things and riding clean. I think that helped me on Saturday. That’s why I was good in practice and in the main event. Towards the end, I tightened up a little bit because the track started getting blown out so I just tried to clean everything up and push through the last five or six laps. We’ve built some great momentum over the last two weeks. We’re in a good place. It feels good.”
On the flip side, Ken Roczen fought his way through an ankle injury to finish eighth, but continued concern about his ankle sent the 2014 outdoor champion for an MRI Monday morning. Roczen suffered a pair of incidents two weeks ago at the Georgia Dome, and he aggravated the same ankle during Saturday’s final qualifying session. Still, the 20-year-old German powered through the pain to notch a respectable eighth-place finish.
Roczen is still third in the standings but now trails second-place Trey Canard by 13 points and leader Ryan Dungey by 43.
“Obviously, our night didn’t go as planned,” commented Roczen. “There are some things that I have to figure out. I have to get an MRI on my ankle this week so we know what we have to do, pushing forward. We need to figure out if I can keep riding and keep training or if its better to take some time off and let it heal. It wasn’t that great of a night. We’ll figure it out and be back as strong as ever.”
While both of his riders finished in the top 10, RCH co-owner Carey Hart knows plenty of work remains to be done. Hart was obviously pleased with Tickle’s performance but, at the same time, perplexed with Roczen’s last two outings.
“It couldn’t have been a much better night for Broc,” said Hart. “He rode really strong all day long. He’s been putting in the work and it’s showing. I couldn’t be happier for him. At the same time, it’s been a tough couple of weeks for Ken. We spent a lot of time together after the race, trying to figure out how to get that program back on track. I think we know what we need to do to get him back in the same frame of mind that he had at the beginning of the season. We’re going to hit the reset button this week and go from there but first things first. He needs to get his ankle checked out. After that, we’ll have a better idea where we’re at.”
Monster Energy Supercross travels to the World Center of Racing this weekend for the Daytona Supercross by Honda. Round 10 of the 2015 Supercross Championship will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 Saturday, March 7 beginning at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, 7:30 p.m. Eastern.