In honor of military appreciation night at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, this week’s Supercross broadcast went out live through the American Forces Network. Team RCH Soaring Eagle’s racer Josh Hill’s heroic comeback was witnessed by nearly 1 million American military personnel in 16 military installations in Afghanistan, 175 territories worldwide, 287 U.S. embassies and consulates and 140 ships… not to mention a sold-out stadium. Not to be outdone, teammate Broc Tickle finished inside the top 10 on a night when both riders rode through the pain to make the main.
Tickle was a man on a mission in qualifying. In the first session, he finished 8th, ahead of last week’s winner, Chad Reed. Proving his consistency and speed, Tickle was 9th in the second qualifier, just a couple tenths of seconds off the pace of polesitter James Stewart. Getting taken out at the start of the first heat race meant Tickle had to race the semi, where he showed his afternoon qualifying speed was no fluke. Mid-pack starts saw Hill and Tickle running 6th and 7th, respectively at the mid-way point and then going on a charge to finish 3rd and 4th to ensure both RCR Soaring Eagle racers were in the main event!
Hill’s triumphant return to racing after broken collarbone suffered just three weeks ago in Oakland was the stuff of legend. “I’m pumped to see Josh out there racing this weekend,” says team principal Ricky Carmichael. “Big heart! adds the Greatest Of All Time in reference to #75 coming back so quickly from the surgery and doing so well despite the medically enforced layoff. Hill also earned plenty of fans by sporting the camo team uniform from Shift in the semi.
Actually as great a night as Josh Hill had personally, it was his younger brother Justin stealing the limelight when he won the 250 main event on his lime green Kawasaki. “People didn’t believe me when I said I would be back to racing in time for San Diego,” said an elated Josh. “Of course they are the same people who didn’t believe me when I told them Justin was going to win!”
A slick multi-line track called for controlled aggression in the main event. Mid-pack starts saw Tickle in 12th and Hill 13th after two laps. Consistent charges put them up to 10th and 11th at the halfway point. Tickle then took advantage of the battle of attrition to finish 8th, while Hill dropped off the pace a little and finished 11th.
“Tonight was great,” said Tickle of his well-earned top 10 finish. “It felt really good to get that momentum rolling again. In the main event I pushed and felt like I rode to my potential.” Headed deep into the heart of Texas for the next race, Broc has his marching orders: “The start in the main is what hurt me and we know what to work on this week to keep the ball rolling.”
“It was a tough day,” added Hill. “I crashed in the first practice and landed right on my broken collarbone!” This was only having two weeks after surgery to repair the damage done at the Oakland SX. “I debated not racing tonight, but I’m glad it made the decision to do it. I can’t be too bummed with 11th… I gained more experience and hopefully will be stronger next week,” said a spent, but happy Hill.
After saluting San Diego, the RCH Soaring Eagle team heads to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas for Round 7 on February 15. As always, the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle pit will be the place to be! In addition to the Suzuki Hole Shot Experience, the team will be signing autographs at 3pm. Fans can also win a 3 night/4 day all-expenses paid getaway to Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort on the spot… big shout out to Sean Owens, winner of the Soaring Eagle package in San Diego.
Photo Credit: Simon Cudby
About RCH Racing Soaring Eagle:
RCH Racing is in its second season of the partnership between Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart. Ricky Carmichael merged his Suzuki relationship and technical development with the established five year marketing giant of Hart & Huntington Racing in 2013. The RCH Racing Soaring Eagle Team continues its partnerships with Suzuki, Fox, Dodge, Sycuan Casino, Yoshimura and Bel Ray. stay up to date on all RCH Racing Soaring Eagle news, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @RCHRacing and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hartandhuntington.