Pit Pass: Redbud With RCH

RCH Racing had a huge presence in the pits at the Redbud National this past weekend, and team co-owners Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart were hanging out to meet with fans, sign autographs, and even jump into a little of the amateur racing action. We had a chance to stop by and talk with Hart, team rider Broc Tickle, and even team manager Kenny Watson, and ask them about the weekend and their Redbud experience.

BROC TICKLE EARNS FIFTH CONSECUTIVE TOP-10 FINISH

BUCHANAN, Mich. (Saturday, July 6, 2013) – Since 1974 the national events at RedBud MX have produced some of the most ferocious motos on the 12-race Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship schedule. The rough and tough design with its deep-rutted corners and elevation obstacles make it a rider and fan favorite.

Ram/RCH Racing’s Broc Tickle (No. 20 Ram/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing Suzuki RM-Z450) rode to a 10th-place overall finish Saturday afternoon after 11th-place efforts in each moto. Tickle’s solid day earned him his fifth consecutive top-10 overall finish. He remains eighth in the 450MX rider standings.

“It was a decent day,” said Tickle. “The first moto didn’t go that well. I kind of got pumped up (arm pump) and rode tight. The race didn’t flow too well. I may have just pressed too hard and got tight.”

Broc Tickle Red Bud

The event on the rich farmland in southern Michigan launched the second half of the 2013 MX series schedule. Once again the event drew a huge crowd to see riders sky over enormous jumps, including the infamous LaRocco’s Leap – a 100-foot long triple jump that sends riders and machines 30-feet into the air. Deep, rutted-up corners and a gnarly sand section also challenged riders. Stab the corners too hard and RedBud showed its fangs, punishing riders physically as they searched to find a consistent racing line.

In Moto 1, Tickle started ninth but never raced inside the top 10, falling five spots on Lap 1 after a poor start. The Michigan native pushed hard, gaining three spots to 11th before suffering arm pump. He managed to hold the position the remainder of the moto.

“I have to get better starts,” Tickle added. “I need to get off the gate better. I can see the guys riding fifth, sixth…the whole lead pack when the gate drops, I’m right there. These motos are so close – I would say from fifth back to 12th the lap times were really close. I need to keep working on my speed and hanging it out there. I kind of struggled with that today. I’m doing it down at Ricky’s (Carmichael) farm during practice sessions. I can feel it. I’m starting to transfer it over to the race.”

Tickle started ninth in Moto 2 and again struggled at the gate, falling to 15th on Lap 1. He spent the next 15 laps regaining lost ground picking up four positions, his last on the final lap to finish 11th.

“The second moto I felt a lot better on the bike,” he said. “I didn’t ride tight and the race flowed well but still got the same result. It’s frustrating but you can’t beat taking 20 points home and being consistent.”

Series point’s leader Ryan Villopoto was dominant again, sweeping both motos including a 27-second win over James Stewart in Moto 1. Stewart was runner-up in both motos with Josh Grant rounding out the overall podium finishers.

The 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take a week off before returning to action for Round 8 on July 20 in Washougal, Wash.

RAM TRUCK RACER BROC TICKLE NINTH OVERALL AT SOUTHWICK

Michigan Native Now Eighth in 450MX Rider Standings

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (Saturday, June 29, 2013) – Historic Southwick Motocross 338 in New England was the site of Round 6 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship where warm temperatures and the unique sandy track surface presented a stern challenge for riders at Saturday’s Moto-X 338 National. RCH Racing’s Broc Tickle finished 11th in Moto 1 and 10th in Moto 2 for an overall finish of ninth. He moved up one spot to eighth in the 2013 450MX rider point standings.

Commonly known as ‘The World’s Fastest Sandbox’, success at Southwick is all about stamina and carrying momentum in the pure sand. Finding the right racing line is imperative. Ride too aggressive and Southwick’s notorious big holes and long ruts will devour a bike.

Tickle (No. 20 Ram/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Suzuki RM-Z450) posted the ninth best time overall during timed qualifying practice. James Stewart was quickest in the first practice session while Ryan Villopoto was tops in the second.

Tickle scored 11th in Moto 1 after fighting back from a log-jammed first turn that dropped him to 18th after Lap 1. Tickle used patience to gain five positions by mid-race and collect another two the back-half of the moto, just missing a top 10.

Tickle Southwick 3

“I was18th on the first lap after a bunch of guys went down in front of me,” Tickle said. “I worked my way up to 12th, then 11th but couldn’t crack the top-10. We just lost too much time on the first lap and let the guys pull too much ground on us. I felt good. I felt strong. We made some changes on the bike for the second moto and that seemed to work.”

Ryan Dungey was the Moto 1 winner, edging Andrew Short by 0.634 seconds with Justin Barcia third.

In Moto 2, the Tony Berluti-tuned Suzuki started 11th and Tickle again found himself in a torrid battle for track position heading into Turn 1. He was 12th after Lap 1 and broke inside the top 10 on Lap 3. The Michigan native used the next 23 minutes – plus two laps – to race as high as eighth before falling two spots with under 10 minutes remaining in the moto. Tickle took the checkered flag 10th.

“I gave it everything I could today,” Tickle added. “This place is tough on bikes and tougher on riders. We were up there battling for eighth place but just lost it a little bit on one lap. That cost us a couple of positions. I raced as hard as I could today. I gave it everything.

Tickle Southwick 2

“I thought that I settled into a really good rhythm in the second moto. My lap times felt consistent on the Suzuki; I almost cracked the two-minute range. We made some adjustments to the bike after the first moto and they helped. Overall, we were able to get ninth overall today and move up to eighth in the rider standings. We’ll just keep getting after it and trying to improve every week.”

Villopoto won Moto 2 with Dungey second while Dungey claimed overall honors.

The 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to the RedBud National in Buchanan, Mich. next Saturday afternoon for Round 7.

TICKLE FINISHES SEVENTH OVERALL AT BUDDS CREEK

Fifth in Moto 2 Best Performance of Season for Michigan Native

MECHANICSVILLE, Md. (Saturday, June 22, 2013) – The on-track performance met expectations for RCH Racing’s Broc Tickle Saturday afternoon at Budds Creek Motocross Park, the fifth stop in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.

Tickle (No. 20 Ram/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Suzuki RM-Z450) was 10th in Moto 1 but came back with his strongest performance of the outdoor season with a solid fifth in Moto 2. That gave him an overall finish of seventh, also a season high. The top-10 overall finishes was his third straight.

In Moto 1, a slow start left the RCH Racing/Ram rider outside the top 15 after the first lap. Tickle battled back with an aggressive ride over the second half of the event to earn the top-10 finish.

“The start of the first moto was actually pretty good. I let off a little too early and got ping-ponged around a little bit,” said Tickle. “I really don’t know exactly what place I came around on the first lap but I’d say somewhere between 15 and 20. I slowly started picking guys off and thought I rode decent in the first moto. I felt like I could have had a couple more guys because everybody was pretty close there towards the end of the race. So the first moto was pretty good.”

Tickle tried a more aggressive strategy at the gate in Moto 2 but it turned out his conditioning proved to be the key factor in securing a top-five finish.

“The second moto I decided to go further inside on the start because that’s where it seemed like the holeshot was coming from,” he said. “I didn’t get too good of a jump; I think I came out about the same as I did in the first Moto, maybe a little bit better. I just started picking guys off. I think the heat got to some guys. I felt like I was flowing really good and riding like I should.

“Today was awesome. The whole team was pumped. I was happy. It was really good to finally ride like I know how to ride.”

Tickle knows with a good start, better results are within grasp. “If I had good starts today, I probably could have been around fourth overall,” he said. “With that being said, I mean, that’s a lot better than seventh. Those starts are going to help throughout the rest of the season.”

Broc Tickle Budds Creek

Ryan Dungey scored the overall win after dominating Moto 2, his second win of the season. He held off Ryan Villopoto for the victory. In Moto 1, Villopoto collected his eighth moto win of the season with Dungey finishing second.

The 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to Southwick, Mass., for Round 6 next Saturday afternoon, the Moto-X 338 National.

Hart and Huntington FMX Visits The MDP Block (teaser)

The 2013 Hart and Huntington freestyle team was lucky enough to get invited to the place where FMX originated, The MDP Block, or better yet the OG section on Larry Linkogle’s property in the wine country of Temecula CA. It was a Day filled with photos video and hot girls spread all over the compound. Have a look at the first of the 3 part series with the likes of Bobby Lee, Mike Mason, Lance Coury, Garrett Ahlf and Jeff Griffin.

Ricky Carmichael Competition Tuning Broc Tickle’s Suzuki

In this episode, Ricky spends the day with Broc Tickle at Southern California’s Glen Helen Raceway identifying improvements and the overall performance of Broc’s Suzuki RM-Z450 bike. The RCH Racing team fine tunes the bike with the goal of shaving time and making the riders faster!

TICKLE RALLYS FROM TUMBLE IN MOTO 1

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (Saturday, May 25, 2013)

Broc Tickle overcame a chaotic start in the first moto Saturday afternoon to score a respectable 15th-place finish overall at the Thunder Valley National, the second event of the 2013 Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship season.

Tickle started 10th in the timed 20-minute plus two-lap Moto1. The RCH Racing rider made contact with another competitor shortly after the start of the race. By the time he recovered, Tickle had fallen back to 30th in the running order. The Michigan native rebounded nicely, working his way through traffic to finish 14th at the checkered flag,

“Chad Reed washed out in front of me,” said Tickle. “I ran over his bike, lost control and fell over. That was a bit of a bummer but you know when you crash in the first corner, it gives you that extra little bump to push it that much further. I think that’s what helped me to get up to 14th

Broc Tickle Thunder Valley

Tickle scored a 15th-place finish in Moto 2 and was credited with 15th in the overall finish order. He never found his rhythm in the second race. With the finish, he’s 14th in the series championship standings, five points behind 10th-place Andrew Short.

“The second moto, we never really got going, Tickle said. “It took me too long to actually get going. The first couple of laps, I just didn’t make stuff happen whenever everybody was close. After five or six laps, everybody spread out and that’s how long I waited until I actually got on it. With that being said, it’s a bit of a bummer. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing. I know I’m working hard and I know the team is working hard. It’s frustrating but it’s bitter-sweet once you turn things around.”

Riders were greeted with Chamber of Commerce weather with temperatures in the low 80s. But according to Tickle, track conditions were another matter entirely.

“It was pretty rough out there today,” he said. “They laid sand on top of the corners and in a bunch of places. It was kind of difficult because it was sandy in some spots and rutted in others. It was kind of tough to get your bike set up exactly for what we were racing on. You had to kind of pick and choose and decide which way you wanted to go.”

Tickle Bike

The 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to Bristol, Tenn., for Round 3 tomorrow afternoon.

A Day In The Life: Broc Tickle RCH Racing Ep. 3

RCH Racing team rider #20 Broc Tickle invites you along on a day in his life. The day starts off at Yoshimura Suzuki where Broc picks up his practice bike and heads off to the Suzuki SX practice track to ride with teammate Josh Hill under the guidance of Ricky Carmichael. Next stop is the Rockwell Training Facility to build up strength and endurance. And that’s a day in the life of Broc Tickle!

Carmichael, Hart model business blueprint after NASCAR

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Through three seasons in the Camping World Truck Series, Ricky Carmichael didn’t approach the sterling results he posted in a career many consider the greatest in motorbike history.

But off the track, the NASCAR foray in 2009-11 might have yielded an intangible benefit: Business savvy.

After watching how stock-car teams pay the bills through creative sponsorships, Carmichael is applying those lessons to his second career as a team owner in motocross, which has been slower to adopt NASCAR’s team economic model after being fueled by money from manufacturers for years.

“After being on both sides of the fence and learning the NASCAR program, I knew this was the way motocross and Supercross were probably going to go,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “I’m thankful I learned so much in NASCAR, and I’m trying to bring that mentality over to the two-wheel side.”

Carmichael, who won a record 15 championships (10 in motocross; five in Supercross), became a partner last October in RCH Racing, which was founded by freestyle motocross pioneer and entrepreneur Carey Hart. After finishing ninth in the Supercross standings with rider Broc Tickle, the team will begin its Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship campaign Saturday in Sacramento, Calif.

Though expectations of results in the 12-round series are modest — Tickle won’t have a teammate until next year — the team still will be distinctive if it doesn’t improve on last season’s fifth-place points finish.

In its third season of sponsorship from Chrysler (its Ram truck brand will sponsor the outdoor season after the Dodge Dart was promoted during Supercross), RCH is proving it’s possible to be a viable organization without being tied solely to money from factories — such as Kawasaki, Honda and Yahama — that are endemic to the sport.

While Carmichael brokered a sponsorship deal with Suzuki that brings critical technology and R&D to the team, RCH remains primarily funded by non-racing sponsors (including Syucan Casino). It’s a necessary arrangement with motorbike sales down since the economic downturn, and the manufacturers less inclined to shell out cash as during Carmichael’s era when the factories paid the entire freight. It costs about $5 million annually to fund a championship rider for a full year of Supercross and motocross.

“Now they can’t sustain that kind of business anymore,” Carmichael said. “(The support) is coming back, but it’s nothing like when I was racing.

“Suzuki thinks our program is the way motocross and Supercross are going. This is the future. I think we can get the same amount of return and results for them for substantially less. We have the best program for pure marketing, and we have a great race program as well.”

While Carmichael handles the competition side of the team, the business side is handled by Hart. The husband of entertainer Pink has been a successful businessman in launching tattoo franchises and a reality TV program, and he sees plenty of marketing potential for sponsors in racing motorbikes.

“What’s really strong with Supercross, looking at it as an underdog. NASCAR is a much older demographic,” Hart told USA TODAY Sports. “The model of NASCAR is so strong, and it’s not getting soft, but people have educated themselves on those programs and now they’re looking at our footprint, too. I think Dodge did a great job of opening that door up as the first big corporate company to get involved with our team. Everyone is testing the waters now, and I think you’ll see a lot more in the future.”

According to demographics supplied by the series, 80% of motocross fans are in the coveted 18-35 age bracket, and its audience numbers are climbing as its exposure increases (after a record 11 Supercross events were live on Speed this year; all 12 motocross rounds in 2013 will be on live TV, starting Saturday on Fuel TV and also on NBC and NBC Sports Network).

In 2013, Supercross averaged a record crowd of 49,911, and its attendance is up 12% since 2000. Last season, motocross averaged 20,750 fans (up for the fourth consecutive year and 5.3% from ’11) and 65,000 live streams per event (775,000 over the 12-event season, an increase of 64%).

Though those numbers still are dwarfed by NASCAR’s fan base, Hart said motorbikes still allow for a more intimate level of access.

“When we’re getting 20,000-plus people per race coming through the pits, they’re having an opportunity to grab a poster, take a picture with Ricky’s motorcycle, or jump on our Suzuki simulator,” he said. “It’s very interactive and touch and feel.”

Hart is confident of re-signing Dodge to another three-year extension when its original deal expires after this season.

But he hopes to add more sponsors when the team expands to two riders in 2014 because “the sport isn’t getting any cheaper. Each year it gets more expensive. And these bigger (sponsors) are expecting more of a return on the investment. A big part of the business is the traction in the pits, and that consists of getting people’s information to really take advantage of (fans) being there to sell them product. You’re going to see more teams like ours.”

Sponsorship, though, also is driven by success, and Carmichael is focused on adding a marquee name for 2014 to pair with Tickle.

“Our sponsors have been in a while and want the winning results, and we’ve been recruiting since January,” Carmichael said. “We’re ready to do this.”