HILL EARNS HEAT WIN and EIGHTH-PLACE FINISH IN MAIN

MINNEAPOLIS – (Saturday, April, 13, 2013) – Dodge’s Josh Hill earned his first Heat Race win of the season en route to his second consecutive top-10 Main Event finish Saturday night to lead RCH Racing at Round 14 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series.

A packed Hubert H. Humphrey Dome welcomed riders for the first time since 2008 on a chilly day in Minnesota. Riders and mechanics had to brave the outdoor working conditions that saw the ambient temperature drop into the 20’s by time the gate dropped for the evening session.

Hill’s comeback continues to be the feel-good story inside the 450SX Class paddock as the defending event champion had his most impressive ride aboard his Suzuki this season. The numbers tell the story as Hill was sixth in both afternoon practice sessions to earn the third gate for his Heat. He used a slick maneuver early in the eight-lap qualifier to claim the lead and never looked back, leading all eight laps. He edged Chad Reed by 1.131-seconds to secure RCH Racing its first qualifying race win of the season.

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“I was fourth (after the gate dropped), a decent start for me,” Hill said. “I set myself up where I could get one clean shot on those guys and I made a pass on all three. I was in the right place at the right time and took advantage of what was in front of me. Reed was coming fast but he made a small mistake and I was able to hold him off. It was cool. I got the jump on (Ryan) Villopoto and just pinched him off a bit. It was a solid ride. It was cool.”

With the second gate selection for the Main Event, Hill was able to bang handlebars with the leaders early, riding as high as fourth on Lap 8 in the 20-lap Main Event until falling off the lead-pack pace in the second half of the race.

“It’s been a long road,” he added. “I’m getting closer to where I want to be, happy about the stepping stone the last few weeks. I still have years of work to do to get to where I want to be. A few good weekends, for sure. I’m going in the right direction. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point and it would be stupid to give up now. I’m just going to keep working as hard as I can and keep challenging the best riders in the world.”

Teammate Broc Tickle finished outside of the top 10 for the first time since Round 11 in Toronto. He finished 13th in Saturday night’s Main Event. His fate was determined early as a pack of riders went down, blocking the racing line and slowing the pace. Tickle was 15th after Lap 1. He managed to gain two positions over the final 19 laps.

Tickle Minneapolis

“After the whoops section, some guys crashed and went down,” said Tickle. “I had nowhere to go. By the time I could react, I just basically ran into the guys in front of me. There wasn’t much I could do; three of us got together. I think it was (Phil) Nicoletti who went down, not quite sure. Just a tough deal.”

Hometown favorite Ryan Dungey was the event winner, beating two-time defending series champion Ryan Villopoto by a mere 0.903-seconds. Davi Millsaps, Justin Barcia and Chad Reed rounded out the top-five.

The series heads west for the final three races of the 2013 season. Next week, riders visit Century Link Field in Seattle.

Racer X 450 Words with Josh Hill

Momentum is finally starting to build for Dodge/Sycuan RCH Suzuki’s Josh Hill. For the first time since 2010, he’s finally able to ride and train and practice consistently, and he’s been making the races and making the mains. The results are trending up, too, and he finally delivered a top-ten on Saturday night in Houston with an eighth. Could have been seventh, too, but he was passed in the very last turn by BTOSports.com KTM’s Andrew Short. Still, for what Hill has gone through, eighth is good, and he thinks he has more.

For Hill, much of his story keeps revolving around where he’s been and what he’s gone through. We found him in the RCH rig after the race and, instead, we chatted about where he is, and where he’s going. Forget the past—he’s looking to the future.

Racer X: It did seem like you were just that much closer to the front or feeling better. That’s the way you felt?
Josh Hill: Today was… all day just kind of was good. I’ve been riding really well at the practice tracks. All the test tracks, out at Ricky’s, everywhere, I’ve been riding really well. I just haven’t been putting it together on the weekends. I’ve been coming out and tucking my tail between my legs and not riding like I know how. I still don’t think this weekend I rode to the best of my ability, or even close. But it was definitely a step in the right direction.

And that started right at the beginning of the day. You’re not just talking about getting the best result of the year in the main, but even practice and stuff.
Yeah. I was ninth in the first practice, eighth in the second, third in the heat race, eighth in the main. Should have been seventh. [Andrew] Short got me in the very last corner. I wanted to kill him for like five seconds, but then I realized it is racing. But it was good. If the tables would have been turned I would have been really happy with myself for the pass that he made on me. So, I give him that.

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Did it help even just having better gate picks and all that, going into the main and stuff?
I’m not trying to disrespect anybody but when you’re starting next to [Davi] Millsaps and [James] Stewart and the top players, it feels better than starting on the very outside, barely making it in the main. You go up to the line with the sense of “I belong here.” When you barely make the cut, you’re just all, “Well, 20 laps, starting from last. Let’s get this going.”

Just take me through that pass with Short, in the last turn. Did you even touch? He was squeezing in there.
He threw an elbow in on me, but it was a good pass. I rode too protective the last lap and just kind of didn’t go fast enough. I didn’t go fast enough on the last lap. I was too timid through the whoops. Made a mistake right before the mechanics area, gave him too much room. And I still thought I had it for sure. I thought he was going to try to swing to the outside and rail past me, so I protected the inside. Kind of went a little slow so I could jump out and kind of take the line away from him. And he just ran it in, stuck his elbow, and pretty much just out-muscled me for that 7th spot. Like I said, I was actually kind of out of line and stuffed the hell out of him after the finish. I had to take a deep breath and realize that what he did was great racing, and it wasn’t dirty; it was just a great racing pass. I came out on the short end.

Let’s talk about your riding in general. How close do you feel you’re getting to your potential? You said you still didn’t quite feel like your racing as well as you can ride. Are you close? Or do you think you’ve got a lot more to give?
I’ve got so much more to give. I felt like I rode… I’m telling you, right now I can go to the practice track and I feel as good as I ever have. I get on the Suzuki, the bike works like a dream. And when I’m in the flow on this bike I don’t know how many people could beat me. It’s just when I come to the races, it’s so foreign to me again. I’ve just got to keep racing. I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do. I don’t have an outdoor ride right now, but I have to keep racing. I’ll go to whatever country will give me an opportunity to ride a good dirt bike.

You just need to go over starting gates?
I just need to keep racing. I just want to race. Or maybe it’s a regional series. If I have a bike, that’s what I’m doing. I need to ride because I know I can get back up to the level I was. Just got to keep going. Other than the little wrist thing at the beginning of this season, this is the first time I’ve been able to ride consecutively for months. Every other time, I was riding three weeks, trying to go out and race. After that type of injury that’s just not ever going to happen, it’s never going to work. We’re gaining some momentum now and I’m hoping by the time Vegas rolls around I’ll be knocking on the door for a top five, or on a perfect scenario, a podium, if I ride like myself.

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Does the ankle, foot and all that hurt by the end of the night or anything like that? Or is that totally behind you at this point?
No, I don’t feel it so it doesn’t hurt! It’s completely numb. I mean, it hurts; I take that back. When I wake up Sunday morning and I’m walking through the airport I look like I got ran over. But in the race it doesn’t affect me unless I have an extremely hard landing or someone runs into it, which that doesn’t bother me. But it’s numb. I can’t move my toes and I don’t feel the thing. I can just rock my ankle that many degrees and make it work. But with modern-day suspension and boots, I can make it work.

And on a 450 you don’t need to shift that much, right?
No, not too much.

But you can do it when you need to.
I just throw the butt shift, like the 65 class.

Ah, when they’re learning to shift.
Yeah, I’m throwing the butt shift out. Watch it; you’ll crack up. I’ll go off a little jump, my whole ass just goes forward.

So you look like a guy just learning how to shift a bike.
That’s what I look like, yeah.

RCH RACING RIDERS EACH EARN TOP 10 FINISHES IN HOUSTON

HOUSTON, Tex. – (Saturday, April, 6, 2013)

Dodge riders were well represented at Round 13 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series on Saturday night as Josh Hill and Broc Tickle each scored top-10 Main Event finishes.

“It was a great day,” Hill said. “I was top 10 in practice and that really got my day starting off on a good note. My Heat Race was really good. I got a fourth-place start, ran second for a while and finished third.

Hill’s eighth-place finish – his first since his last full season in 2010 – led the Dodge riders with teammate Broc Tickle right behind scoring 10th.

Everything is considered bigger in Texas and the characterization certainly played true inside the enclosed Reliant Stadium. An estimated crowd of 40,000 watched the world’s greatest Supercross riders attack a huge 80-foot whoop section and gnarly obstacles atop the soft sandy-based Texas dirt.

Consistency and courage played a major factor for riders as they constantly searched for the preferred acing line on one of the most interesting track layouts this season. Conquering the 10-turn circuit was a challenge, finding speed and surviving the whoops was chore.

In the Main Event, Hill leveraged his third-place finish in the Heat and capitalized on a solid gate pick to score his best finish this season. The Oregon native never raced outside of the top-10 the entire 20-lap feature race. Hill rode in seventh for the final nine laps only to lose one position on the white flag lap and score eighth.

“I got a great start in the Main Event, a top 10. I ended up picking off a few guys and rode all the way up to seventh and stayed there pretty much the entire moto after (James) Stewart fell,” Hill added. “But Andrew Short got me on the last lap and we ended up eighth.”

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Hill used two solid afternoon qualifying sessions, each inside of the top-10, to seed himself fourth in Heat 1. When the gate dropped on the eight-lap Main Event qualifier, Hill broke second and was able to miss a multi-rider pileup that stacked field in front of him in the eight-lap qualifier. With a comfortable cushion on the field, Hill was able to set a ride a solid pace and score third – his best Heat finish this season.

“I felt great all day,” he added. “I’ve known that I could be a top-10 rider since the very first round. After I got hurt in Anaheim, coming back was tough. After missing so many years of racing, to get hurt in the first race really took the confidence out of me. I had to re-build myself as a racer. It was tough. I’m accustomed to racing for a podium and wins. When I came back in San Diego that was out of the question.”
Broc Tickle earned his 13th consecutive Main Event of the season after scoring ninth in Heat 2. Tickle restarted fifth after the Heat was red-flagged on Lap 3 but couldn’t maintain his early momentum falling four positions over the final five circuits.

Tickle overcame an 18th-place starting position for the Main to power the No. 20 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki RM-Z450 eight positions despite another handlebar exchange with rival Andrew Short.

“I just felt off all day and I’m not sure why,” Tickle said. “I don’t know if it was the track of what, I just didn’t feel comfortable on the track. My bike was working well; it just wasn’t clicking for me today. We got away with a 10th and we’ll take it. It’s not the finish that we wanted but we’ll have to take it. We salvaged points and we’re still top-10 in the rider standings.”

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Ryan Dungey won his fifth consecutive 450SX class race this season edging Ryan Dungey and Trey Canard on the podium. With the win, Villopoto extended his point’s lead to 21 over second-place Davi Millsaps. The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to Minneapolis next Saturday night for Round 14 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Racer X 450 Words: Tickle is Serious

The story is the same every year, even down to the exact same words. “You know me,” Broc Tickle will say. “I start slowly and keep working and eventually things start to come together.”

It was his plan since well before anyone knew him. Back in the day, Tickle was just a random amateur in the crowd, known more for his funny name than for serious results. He kept improving, though, until he was a threat for top tens, top fives, podiums, and finally in his last year at Loretta Lynn’s, he grabbed a championship.

He built slowly as a professional, too. He’s the rare story of Star Racing Yamaha sticking with a rider long enough to finally get the rewards. His first career Lites SX win, also the first-ever for Star, took place in Seattle in 2010, his fourth professional season.

Then Mitch Payton and Pro Circuit called, and Tickle delivered the West Lites title in 2011. His transition to the 450s, though, was slow in developing. Struggles last year—he had just one top-ten finish in the first nine rounds of 450SX—seemed to leave him in a funk. In St. Louis, I found Tickle outside the Pro Circuit truck, and he was bummed. He said he kept riding tight, he couldn’t get into the right place, mentally. But he would keep trying. It all led into his familiar credo, about starting slowly, working hard, and eventually things will come together. Tickle kept repeating it, week after week, until he didn’t need to anymore. By the Nationals, things really were coming together.

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With the switch to Dodge/Sycuan RCH Suzuki this year, and the speed he showed on a 450 last summer, many were expecting Tickle to take a huge leap forward in 2013. So far, his season has been solid, but certainly not a breakout. But guess what? It’s coming together, slowly. His run in Toronto for eighth was his best of the season.

“I’ve was consistently scoring 10th and 11th at the beginning of the season but my numbers are trending upward now…8th, 9th, 10th,” Tickle said in an RCH report last week. “I feel like I’m riding really well, hitting my spots, making good passes and I feel strong. The only way to get better is to get on the bike and train.”

Tickle’s work ethic has never been in question. For the last month, he’s been in Florida at Ricky Carmichael’s track, grinding away. He took a brief trip up to Michigan for the weekend to spend Easter with his wife’s family, and then headed right back down to RC’s farm this week.

“With it being Easter weekend, these guys have been in the grind since well before the season started back in January and this would be a goodtime for a rider to take off,” said Carmichael. “Some guys do and it works for them. Some guys like to stay in the grind and that’s what Broc’s doing, riding down at my place this week. We’re moving up in points and he had a really strong charge in Toronto after a tough start.

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“What I’m seeing the last five weeks out of Broc is that he’s been more consistent,” said Carmichael. “You can see his confidence; he’s racing and battling with guys. He’s around guys that he needs to be racing with. Some guys are falling out of the point’s battle because of injuries. This is the toughest part of the season. If you can stay to the grind and keep pounding it out, you can take advantage of the guys who are beaten and battered. It’s an important time of the season and his riding is coming into form which gives me a lot of confidence in him.”

“I felt that I rode really well in Toronto,” said Tickle. “I’ve been down at Ricky’s, and it’s been good, quality work, and I think it’s starting to pay off.”

Day In The Life With BMX’er Heath Pinter On Crooked World

Many people know Heath as a stylish dirt jumper and trail building perfectionist, but his roots in snowboarding go way back. Before he was making a dime in the BMX world Heath was throwing down in Tahoe and still loves shredding Bear with the homies! Guest appearances by Mike Escamilla, Andrew Lazaruk, Jared Eberwein, TJ Ellis and Corey Bohan!

Coury Connects with Fans by Freeriding the Hills

Freeriding , which was formerly known as play riding or riding natural terrain in the hills, has been making a big comeback lately and seems to be gaining more popularity in the industry and among riders these days.

Street skating, backcountry snowboarding and backcountry skiing have increased the exposure of skateboarding, snowboarding and freeskiing thanks to some of the most skillful athletes in those sports. That has ultimately led to those athletes getting paid to make a living doing what they love to do while developing a subgenre within their respective sport.

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In freestyle motocross, though, freeriding is not anything new. Not yet its own officially recognized sport, freeriding holds importance amongst the riders and helps build their street credit. It’s good to use freeriding, combined with social media, as a way for a rider to establish his name and affix a tracking light on himself amid the motocross industry’s wider radar screen.

This is the case for Lance Coury. Part of the new breed, Coury didn’t get the opportunity available in the earlier days of FMX when qualifying competitions led to the big events. Nowadays, breaking into the big-time events comes by invitation only to elite riders. Taking advantage of the new social media era, Coury is focusing on continuing to grow and establish himself amongst his riding peers that his talents are the real deal.

“I feel like your everyday rider can connect more with pro riders riding in the hills, versus riding ramps,” Coury says.

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XGames.com recently spoke with Coury to discuss the challenges of reaching the next level of FMX.

John SandersLance Coury doesn’t want to be labeled a “ramp kid.”
XGames.com: So what is it about riding in the hills right now that seems to have everyone so excited? It seems like the Instagram era has made everyone a freerider.
Coury: I think at the end of the day, both riding ramps and freeriding are pretty gnarly. However, riding ramps has gotten to a point where you have to be either the gnarliest guy out there, doing the newest tricks, or else you are replaceable. Where in the world of freeriding, it is a much more accessible way to ride for your everyday dirt bike rider.

The coolest part of it all is; the average person can connect more with us riding in the hills versus seeing us riding ramps. They can actually go to those hills we are on, whether it’s Ocotillo [Wells], Beaumont, etc., and they can do smaller jumps working up to the bigger ones, like we do. They can understand and relate to what we’re doing. They are able to relate to those pictures posted on Instagram and in return, get more stoked to go out and do it themselves.

I am not saying freeriding is in any way easy. From the small bumps, to the big hits, freeriding forces you to show your bike skills in many ways. You have to be a good, talented rider in order to handle the natural terrain. So it takes more than just balls, it takes balls and talent. Having the talent to ride outdoors shows what level you are on riding a bike, and the veterans of FMX out there know what it takes.

We rode on a film trip recently and you did really well, is there any correlation between that and your racing background?
Definitely. I’ve practically been on a bike since I could walk, so it is second nature to me. When I’m on my bike, it’s just natural. Riding from such a young age allowed me to learn to control my bike in any situation. Freeridng is about controlling your bike. When we were riding on the film trip, some instances brought me back to being 15 years old, and hitting a kicker, which could throw you left or right, and having to be able to control your bike is definitely something I learned from a young age.

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What excites you about riding in the hills the most?
Riding in the hills is exciting for a couple of reasons. One, you’re going out riding with your buddies. Second, every time you ride, it is a different experience. The jumps change, the terrain changes, and there is always room to go bigger. At the end of a good day of riding, everyone’s proud of each other and there is an overall good vibe out there.

How important is it amongst your peers nowadays to be respected as a good freerider?
Yes, it’s very important to have that respect, otherwise you are categorized as just a ramp kid. If you are labeled as one … you just don’t want to be.

Do you think having that credit or reputation can lead to increased exposure or increased sponsorship deals?
Definitely. I think that the magazines, Motocross Action, Racer X, Transworld (the three heavy hitters in the industry), would rather post a photo of you hitting a dirt jump in the hills than a ramp shot. I think the average person reading those magazines would rather see a person hitting those jumps in the hills.

At the end of the day, the more media of you that is out there, the more happy your sponsor will be. The more their logos are seen, the more valuable you are to them.

How much weight do you think social media is going to play in supporting that model of creating content to put out in the media, in hopes of increasing your value?
I think the Instagram world, the Twitter world, as well as the Facebook world have all helped everyone’s careers. I can do something cool and within 2 seconds the world can know about it, you know. And with that, chances are sponsors logos are in the picture or video I post. The majority of people have a social media site, so they’re going to see what a rider, or myself, puts out there and trust me, sponsors know about it.

By doing so, people are able to correlate what they see to what they will possibly purchase. For example, if a young kid sees a photo of me riding my Suzuki Hart & Huntington bike, and then goes to purchase his first dirt bike, the possibility of him remembering me on a yellow bike, and buying a Suzuki, are better because of the world’s access to social media.

John Sanders”When I’m on my bike, it’s just natural,” Lance Coury says.
Can you give me any examples of social media benefiting you in some way through a sponsorship deal or a film trip invite?
Yes, it has. Social media has allowed me to put my progress in the sport out there for the public viewing. Whether it is viewed by fans, or a possible sponsorship, it has made me accessible. It is a great way to stay current in the sport, and fresh in people’s minds.

And, I think if you are current, you definitely get more people calling wanting to go ride with you. For example, recently I was invited to Twitch’s Dirt Bike Kidz film trip. He must’ve seen some sick ass s— I just posted and needed my style in his video, you know?

I know ultimately your goals are to have the credit of being an accomplished X Games competition athlete but in between those select few invites, how important is it to you to be out freeriding?
Well, I know when I did a couple X-Fighters, and Dew Tours, some of the courses had a lot of small technical jumps that went into the ramps. With that being said, the more practice and opportunity you have out there freeriding, the more you’d be able to control your bike with those obstacles. The better rider you are, the easier time you are going to have riding that course, getting to those ramps, turning those corners, and being smooth. Being in those competitions is not just about what you do in the air, but how you handle the course as a whole.

Where do you think freeriding is going down the road?
I think all riders want to see freeriding progress as its own sport. If it were to become, say, like the world of freeride snowboarding, freeridng on a dirt bike would let the riders have more control of their careers in a way that they aren’t dependent on being invited to an exclusive event.

I mean, there is a handful of snowboard athletes that have a solid career just on venturing out on film trips, etc., breaking boundaries around the world with new innovations, bigger tricks, things that create headlines and write the books of history in their sport.

I believe the same thing can be done in the world of freeriding on a dirt bike and I don’t think the events should be the end all of a career if the rider is capable, passionate and talented on a bike.

I rode the Great Ride Open and that was a two-week trip, with six different spots. There were four or five riders on that trip and to this day, whatever event I go to, be it a Supercross race or FMX event, I’m known as Lance from the Great Ride Open. People know it because they watched it so much. Kids love that show, and whether it was racers, surfers, whoever was watching Fuel TV, they watched this show and they appreciated us riders jumping 200 feet over a mountain. People want to see that!

So there’s no reason why dirt bike riders can’t do that if we get the outlet to get it out there. There would be no reason why people wouldn’t watch it.

You raised a good point, there’s a total of four (summer) X Games a year that last four days, that’s 16 days out of the year you can watch FMX, what about the other 349 days of the year?
Well then it’s clear to see how important and relatable freeriding is! The other 349 days of the year that FMX riders aren’t seen performing, we are out there, in the hills, just like you. We are practicing, having good times on our bikes. Those times could definitely be captured for the worldwide audience who also love moto and action sports.