SEATTLE – (Saturday, April, 20, 2013)
Broc Tickle led the Dodge/RCH Racing team at Round 15 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series with an impressive performance in Saturday night’s Main Event at CenturyLink Field. He finished seventh while teammate Josh Hill was 12th.
Rain Friday and Saturday made for very sloppy track conditions and forced organizers to condense the schedule. The untimed practice schedule was eliminated leaving only two timed sessions for the riders to dial in their bikes before the evening program.
Tickle (No. 20 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki Z450) rebounded from a disappointing 10th-place finish (only the top nine finishers advance to the Main Event) in his Heat Race with a strong performance in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) to earn one of two transfer spots into the Main Event. His 15th-consecutive Main Event start of the year was secure.
“I was frustrated that I had to go to the LCQ because you never know who will be in it,” said Tickle. “I rode really well in the LCQ. For six laps, anybody can hang on and step up to beat the field. I just focused on getting a good start and made sure that I rode clean for six laps.”
The wide starting position wasn’t too much to overcome in the 20-lap Main Event. The Michigan native busted out of the gate13th. The determined Tickle went to work and emerged from a four-rider battle to take 11th on Lap 10. Despite the rutted-up track surface, Tickle continued the pressure, gaining three more spots by Lap 14 and used one last pin of the throttle to claim seventh at the checkered flag.
“It was a pretty good Main tonight,” Tickle said. “It always stinks when you have to go through the LCQ. My main goal was to get into the Main. I knew that the track was going to deteriorate. I like rutty tracks. My goal was just to go out there and ride hard for 20 laps and I felt that I did that tonight. I made one mistake in the middle of the race by following somebody and two guys got around me. I recovered pretty well. I think that I had a top-five bike tonight. I’ll take it. This was my best race of the year under some tough circumstances.”
Hill led RCH in the first timed qualifying session, recording the sixth best time on the hard-back and modestly fast race surface. Slower high-banked corners allowed for riders to brake-slide the 180-degree corners. Hill was ready for the challenge. A gnarly start straightaway section made the race start critical. Throttle control was mandatory on a circuit where full power wasn’t necessary to be fast.
Hill was impressive in his Heat race, finishing fourth in Heat 1 with a steady, workman-like ride.
In the Main Event, Hill couldn’t take advantage of his eighth position on the gate. He and Chad Reed collected each other in Turn 1. That dropped the Oregon native all the way down to 19th. He used the next nine laps to climb seven positions and held the spot, finishing 12th.
“I went into the first turn and came in a little hot,” Hill said of his charge from the gate in the Main Event. “I thought that I was going to get the holeshot; it was me, (Justin) Barcia and (Justin) Brayton all going at it. I thought that I had it. Brayton squeezed me off just a little bit. I grabbed some front brake, had nowhere to go and ran into the tuff blocks which took some guys out behind me. From there, it was tough because I had some clay stuffed in my clutch – I had no clutch. I tried to start my bike and I had to find neutral without using the clutch, which was tough. I started 25-seconds from the last guy on the track and just had to ride my guts out.”
“I feel like I am riding really well right now. I passed a lot of bikes tonight. If I had just a few more laps, I think I would have caught the two guys in front of me and thrown it in the top-10. I just ran out of time”
Barcia was the 450SX Class race winner, edging series point leader Ryan Villopoto by 3.885-seconds. Davi Millsaps was third.
The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to Salt Lake City for Round 16 next Saturday.