LAS VEGAS (Saturday, May 4, 2013)
The 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series concluded its 17-race season Saturday night in Las Vegas. Dodge/RCH Racing was led by Broc Tickle (No. 20 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki Z450) who finished 10th while teammate Josh Hill (No. 75 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki Z450) slowed late in the race and ended up 14th.
“A real physical ride tonight,” said Tickle after the Main Event. “The start was really tricky, the entire track was tough tonight. I felt pretty good in the Main. I was there with a group of guys and kind of lost them for a bit. I regrouped with them near the end of the race and brought home a 10th.”
Sam Boyd Stadium, home to the University of Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels, is known for its huge SX layouts and the season finale continued the tradition. Riders were challenged by the ultra-fast “Monster Alley” – a section with a sweeping left-hand turn that took riders outside the stadium and back into a long straightaway where speeds reached 60 mph. The highly-technical rhythm section and gnarly 180-degree turns added to the challenge. Riders willing to grab a handful of throttle were rewarded.
Hill and Tickle were among the eight fastest riders during the afternoon timed practice session which provided better gate selections for the Heat Races. Tickle was seeded fourth for Heat 1, Hill fifth in Heat 2.
Tickle raced as high as fifth in the eight-lap qualifier but a slip on Lap 4 dropped him to sixth were he finished to earn his 17th consecutive Main Event start this season.
“I felt really solid on the bike,” Tickle added. “The track was really hard-packed and kind of tough to figure out for the Main. You had to focus on getting into a good rhythm and not make a mistake.”
Hill’s fate in Heat 2 was nearly disastrous. He jumped the start causing his front tire to lodge against the starting gate, pinning his Suzuki while the other 19 riders rode off into Turn 1. Despite the hiccup, Hill stormed back and gained 13 positions over the next seven laps to finish sixth and advance to the Main.
“Just a little too aggressive, Hill said. “I had a great gate selection and just tried to anticipate the gate drop.”
In the Main Event, gate selection and the race start were once again key factors in the outcome. Tickle overcame a sluggish start (14th after Lap 1) but quickly regained a fast race pace and was running 10th by Lap 10. He would advance no further over the final 10 laps.
“It was a solid run,” said Tickle. “We were able to move up to ninth in points.”
Hill got a fast start but got caught in slower traffic that inhibited his preferred racing line. As a result, he was shuffled back to 11th by midrace and fell three more positions after a late-race incident.
“I made a little mistake and fell back to 10th where Broc (Tickle) and I were banging handlebars a little bit,” Hill said. “Once he got around me, I was trying to pace myself and right around Lap 19 I crashed coming over the ski jump. My front tire felt like it went flat. It knifed out and I went sliding sideways like I was road racing. It just wasn’t a good race. It was miserable. I was trying so hard to get to the front that I just beat myself up.”
SX Series champion Ryan Villopoto earned his 10th Monster Energy AMA Supercross win of the season edging Ryan Dungey and Davi Millsaps. The three-time champion led the final 19 laps to win by 2.843-seconds.