RCH Has Mixed Results At Anaheim 2

On a night celebrating 40 years of Supercross history, RCH Racing Soaring Eagle came away with a mixed bag of results from Anaheim 2. Seeing team principal Ricky Carmichael take to the track for a nostalgic hot lap with arch rival Jeremy McGrath had to be the highlight of the season, while a bounce-back heat race win and top 10 finish in the main for #75 Josh Hill were offset by #20 Broc Tickle getting taken out in a crash and possibly suffering a concussion.

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After a performance in Phoenix last week where Josh Hill couldn’t catch a break missing the transfer from his heat race, semi and LCQ by one position each time he bounced back in a big way at Anaheim 2. Even before the racing started, Ms. Supercross Dianna Dahlgren, brought the personable rider from Oregon up on stage to get a progress report. “I did well in the afternoon qualifying sessions today, finishing 12th and 10th fastest in the two sessions.”

Hill looks to have worked through some of the issues with his injured back and is feeling positive about where things go from here. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and finishing on top of the podium before it is all said and done,” Josh told the pre-race crowd.

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Further enhancing team visibility, Broc Tickle was the second rider announced in the opening ceremonies by virtue of his place inside the top 10 in standings after the first two rounds. Both RCH Soaring Eagle Riders were gated in Heat Race #1 and both were in contention to transfer straight to the main, running 4th and 5th respectively much of the heat. With two laps to go, Tickle charged past his teammate for the qualifying spot, only to have his front end wash out a couple of turns later. That left it to Hill to carry team colors and he looked on track to take the final transfer spot until Ryan Dungey made an extremely aggressive move and stuffed Josh in the final turn to steal the transfer position.

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However, Hill was undeterred by the last turn racing incident. After a patented Mike Alessi holeshot, Josh blew past Alessi with three laps to go, and went on to win his semi in convincing fashion. “I wasn’t sure I was even going to be able to race this weekend because I was in so much pain from back issues,” said Josh from the podium. “I’ve got to give it up to the team for making it possible. I spent much of the week at Dr. G’s office and he tuned me up.” Feeling no pain in the main, Hill started within the top 10 for the final race of retro night. Appropriately enough the 40th Anniversary celebration was made complete when veteran rider Chad Reed channeled his hero Jeremy McGrath and won a surprising victory over “the kids” while Josh, in the words of legendary former SX announcer Larry Huffman, was all over Weston Peick “like a hare krishna on an airport traveller!” Despite dicing the entire race, Hill just could not make pass on Peick stick and had to settle for 8th place. “I’m not overly happy with tonight, but it’s a step in the right direction after this back injury. I am happy to win the semi and most importantly, I put a smile on my grandpa’s face,” said Hill. Of course when you race for “The Greatest Of All Time” as Ricky Carmichael is known, the bar is set pretty high to start with. “Getting up into the top 10 is a good place to build from… I’ll take an 8th and keep moving forward. “

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Speaking of moving forward, despite the crash and consequent concussion-like symptoms, Broc is still in the top 10 in points. As a precaution, he went directly to the hospital for evaluation, but the team hopes he will be medically cleared to ride this week. “Broc had a hard crash,” tweeted team principal Carey Hart. “He will be okay, get ‘em next week, bud.” “The semi started well, but on the first lap I landed on the tuff blocks and it highsided me to the right and slammed me hard.” Hard isn’t the word, you could hear the entire crowd groan when Broc bouncing on the arid track was replayed on the Jumbotron. “It’s all good, I’m okay and just gonna need a couple days to rest.” In addition to winning a semi, the entire RCH Racing team were winners in the pits. A sick little boy and his family enjoyed a day at Anaheim Supercross as the special guests of Ricky Carmichael, Carey Hart and the RCH Racing team. Three-year-old Valentino Ricciotti from nearby Dana Point suffers from OMS, a rare auto-immune disorder that makes it tough for him to enjoy life. RCH Racing with the help of Sycuan Casino, Strider, Feld and others was able to put a smile on little Valen’s face by making him the third RCH Team Rider for the day!
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Looking to build on the mixed results of A2 and win one for Valen, the RCH team heads to the infamous Oakland Coliseum for Round 4 on January 25. Come race day in the East Bay, 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!
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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.

TICKLE LEADS RCH RACING CLAIMS 8TH PLACE IN PHOENIX

Broc Tickle gets his 2nd consecutive top 10 finish and moves up to 7th in overall points

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Photo Credit – Simon Cudby

Carlsbad, CA (January 12, 2014) – RCH Racing Soaring Eagle rider, Broc Tickle, earns his second consecutive top 10 finish of the Monster Energy Supercross season, finishing eighth at Chase Field in Phoenix on Saturday, and moving up to seventh in overall points.

Tickle had a strong night from the start. After dialing in the track and finishing 6th in timed qualifiers, he went on to nab one of the top four spots in his heat, giving him a direct transfer to the main event. Tickle overcame a slow start in the main – which had him buried as far back as 13th – and was able to move his way up into the top 10, finishing eighth ahead of Chad Reed and Will Hahn.

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Photo Credit – Simon Cudby

“Today was great. Practice went really well and I felt aggressive and solid. I qualified to the Main directly out of my heat race which was also good. The Main event was great other than my first couple laps,” said Tickle. “I’m looking forward to working on my starts this week because that’s the main thing keeping from a better result.”

Teammate Josh Hill did not have the night he was hoping for on the track.

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Photo Credit – Simon Cudby

“I’m obviously disappointed and embarrassed at the outcome of tonight’s race,” said Hill.

Things looked promising for Hill in the LCQ. He moved his way up to fifth and was head to head with Chris Blose in the final lap, battling it out for the final qualifying spot. Unfortunately, Blose edged out Hill for the 4th place finish, preventing Hill from advancing to the main event.

Hill and the team are working diligently to get him back to 100% of where he needs to be on the track. He looks forward to racing this coming weekend at A2.

The Monster Energy Supercross Series heads back to the Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA for Round 3 on January 18th.

To 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.

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. For additional information contact Justyn Amstutz at Justyn@NFC-Mgmt.com.

RCH Racing Soaring Eagle kicks off the 2014 Monster Energy Supercross Series

Carlsbad, CA (January 6, 2014) – RCH Racing Soaring Eagle kicked off the 2014 Supercross season in front of an excited crowd at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. The team sported new yellow and blue Fox Racing gear for the 2014 series, and the new Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort logos made their official debut as the team’s new title sponsor.
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Both riders qualified to the Main Event through the Semis – Hill found his flow and finished 4th in Semi One while Broc Tickle took 2nd in Semi Two behind Ken Roczen to advance.
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In the Main event both Hill and Tickle battled it out against the stacked competition. It was a solid start to the season for Tickle, who opened the year with a top 10 finish, taking 8th overall.
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“The race went good and all in all it was a good night,” said Tickle. “I have more to prove to myself and the team. I got arm pump midway through the race and instead of pushing too hard, I rode through it. I’m looking forward to improving on my results in Phoenix.”

Josh also started the main but pulled off halfway through due to a sore back and finished 18th.

“I’m not too happy with the way everything went this weekend,” Hill said. “The team and I have worked way too hard in the off season for these results. I tweaked my back a little four days before the race which threw a wrench into Saturday. But there are no excuses; I’m going to keep my head down and work hard to get the results we deserve. I’m looking forward to this weekend in Phoenix.”

The team heads to Phoenix for Round 2 on January 11th at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ.

As always, the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle pit will be active with plenty of entertainment attractions for the fans to engage with including the Suzuki Hole Shot Experience, autograph signings by the team at 3pm local time and the chance to enter and win a 3 night/4 day all-expenses paid getaway to Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, MI. We hope to see you there!

To 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

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. For additional information contact Justyn Amstutz at Justyn@NFC-Mgmt.com.

FMX-Mas Big Whip Invitational

The Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, California played host once again to the FMX-Mas Big Whip Invitational with RCH Racing, and some of the gnarliest whip throwers in the game made the trip down to San Diego County to battle it out for the huge cash prize in this year’s competition. Lance Coury, Todd Potter, Brett Cue, Billy Laninovich, and Destin Cantrell took to the ramps in the mid-afternoon sun, but at the end of the day it was San Diego’s own Laninovich that walked away with the win and the hefty stack of Benjamins. To top the show off, fans were also treated to a Harley Davidson wheelie demo by UNKNOWN Industries and the UNKNOWN Riders, and following the show the competitors and the entire RCH Racing crew, including Carey Hart, Ricky Carmichael, Broc Tickle, and Josh Hill, greeted fans inside the casino to sign autographs and raffle off prizes.

Racer X Monday Convo with Carey Hart

Carey Hart owned his H&H SX team for a number of years with some success on the track and a terrific job of marketing off. There was nothing wrong with the way he had been going about it but for 2013 he stepped it up by partnering with Ricky Carmichael, getting factory Suzuki help, signing Broc Tickle and for the first time and competing in all 12 rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Clearly he’s not one to stand still, as we found out recently the team just missed out on getting Chad Reed’s signature for next year.

Hart’s down in Australia with his wife touring, but took the time to call us up and detail his 2013 season and what’s next for the RCH squad.

Racer X: First of all, the big news is that you guys were talking to Chad Reed but he decided to stick with his own team for 2014. Can you talk about that deal and your thoughts on that?

Carey Hart: I don’t want to get too into it but basically we were talking. We talked about bringing Chad on the RCH program. He was at a pretty major crossroads with what he’s built with his team, and going back to being a racer without his own team. So at the end of the day he made a choice and it was strictly on the fact that he wanted to keep the team going. We went down the path pretty far with him. Honestly at the end of the day we wish him all the luck in the world. We almost had him, but obviously he wanted to keep TwoTwo going and I can totally respect that.

Chad being Chad, you probably loved the social media part of him Tweeting about it and then Ricky was chiming in.
I’m actually completely surprised that we kept it as much of a secret as it was. It wasn’t a complete secret; it was in circulation a bit. But we did a pretty good job.

So next year are you going to go with the same two guys?
All I can say is we have a two-year deal with Tickle so he’s definitely coming back next year. I feel extremely confident that we’re going to be bringing Josh Hill back, extremely confident. And we’re also looking at some other options. I know that’s extremely vague, but this time of the year you can’t really show your hand. And we’re also talking with a couple other key people.

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Broc Tickle will return to RCH next season.
Simon Cudby photo

As far as this year, you teamed up with Ricky, you got works Suzuki’s. I would say the program once again took another step up. What are your thoughts on it? How’d you enjoy being a little bit of a co-owner, taking a little bit of a step back?
I thought we had a great year. We set out what we wanted to do. Going back to Monster Cup when me and Ricky unveiled our program we said our goals were going to be at the end of each series between fifth and tenth and we achieved that. These days with how stacked the field is there’s nothing wrong with an eighth place in supercross and eighth place in outdoor. And honestly we fine-tuned our program. We had a brand new relationship with Suzuki that we had to kind of start working on there and putting some time into.

Honestly it was a brand new year, considering we went through the change with bringing on Suzuki and with my partnership with Ricky. I can say at the end of the day there wasn’t a single negative. From a race team owner you always want to do better results but the field is stacked and Broc was extremely consistent out there and didn’t miss any races and plugged away each race.

If you could wave a magic wand and improve something about Tickle’s year, I’m guessing you would pick starts?
Yeah, 100 percent. That’s really what it comes down to is the starts. It’s just too gnarly of a field right now to think that you’re going to go out and get a mid-pack start or a 20th place start and work your way through to the pack and get fifth. I think those days, aside from Villopoto, I think those days are kind of over for everybody. Hopefully in the off-season we’ll get him pounding starts and get a little more aggressive. Not only out the gate, but maybe those first couple laps. But his fitness was amazing. He was putting down his fastest laps the last couple laps of each moto. So there’s something to be said. He’s in shape

The faith you showed in Hill when he was injured looks to be paying off. The second half of the supercross season he looked like his old self, or very close to it. You have to be stoked on his little comeback.
Yeah, I really am. I took quite a bit of a tongue-lashing over the last couple of years for him.

And, being honest, a bit from me too as I wondered about the choice as well.
From the keyboard warriors to the industry people. At the end of the day it’s not even necessarily about me or the race team; I’m just glad to see Hill starting to get back to showing glimpses of what he was in the past. He’s still a young kid. As long as he stays healthy I think he’s got nowhere to go but up. He actually just got to Australia. He’s racing for our Hart and Huntington Supercross team in Australia. We’re going to try to get a title over here, try to go win the championship in the Aussie series. That way he’s got a little bit more race time under his belt and try to come out swinging next year.

Your team did the nationals for the first time and you yourself were at the motocross races for the first time in over a decade. How was it coming back to the outdoors? What was the good and the bad from doing the nationals?
Honestly the return, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m kind of a fan of the outdoors. From my perspective it runs very swiftly. The day starts early but we’re there by 7:00 and we’re out of there by 4:30. I like that. It’s very thorough. At the end of the day it could always have better attendance or better… the TV package is great. I think all in all they’re doing a great job.

I think since they are separate from Feld and from that program I think they just really need to focus on not falling into the same routine and rules and politics that we have with supercross. We had some issues this year just with sponsor activation based stuff, more from a strictly team side of things. I feel like they have to get better activation policies. If they do that, get all the teams on their side, I think they have nowhere to go but up on this thing. Like I said, we had a great time and it’s a very dedicated fan base. It’s not like supercross where everyone’s just showing up for the nightlife aspect of it. I had a great time.

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Carey Hart (pictured) partnered with Ricky Carmichael last off-season to form RCH.
Simon Cudby photo

Supercross can almost get away with that stuff because of the exposure. And you’re saying outdoors, you got to help us want to be here.
Exactly. I wish there were 50,000 people there, but at the end of the day it’s a very committed fan base. They made their way through the pit. They’re a loyal fan base. I think they’ve done a good job with taking care of the fans.

Can you talk a little bit about how and you and Ricky got along and managed the team?
Honestly, with me and Ricky, there wasn’t a single issue this whole entire year. We’re both extremely hands-on but we also both know it’s a group effort, and that’s not just between me and Ricky; that’s between Kenny Watson, and Mark Johnson, and Kyle Bentley. No one just makes a decision and runs with it. At the end of the day we all kind of have a say on it. We also kind of understand our roles. Ricky’s extremely active on the development side and working with the riders and the relationship with Suzuki. I’m more so on the sponsor side, the marketing side. But we’re actually kind of teaching each other both sides. I’m getting a little bit more involved on the technical piece and he’s getting more involved on the marketing piece, so we’re more well-rounded owners. But we hit it off this year. Not a single issue. We’re both extremely hands-on. We talk at least six or seven times a week. It’s almost daily. Main thing is for the race team. And lucky enough for me I’m not going to be on tour next year. My wife ends her tour in December so I’m going to be at a lot more events.

And you brought Mark Johnson on who’s got a ton of experience in the industry and knows his stuff. Can you talk about what adding Mark did to the team?
Mark has been such a crucial piece. The knowledge and history and experience that he has, not only in two-wheel but four-wheel, he’s just the biggest asset we have at this point. Just the moves forward we were able to make this year. We were on extremely limited testing and developing because by the time we got into racing and we were doing our thing, we were just a click behind the 8-ball, not too bad. But just the movements that we made throughout the course of the year, and now we’re getting ready to start testing already for supercross. We’re full steam ahead. With his resources from not only his moto days but from four-wheel we’ve got some pretty exciting things we’re going to try this year and kind of look outside the box a bit. It’s kind of nice to be able to have a program like that where we’re able to kind of just run with our own dynamic.

Since you’ve started the team that’s probably been the weakest part, the technical aspect, the testing and all that. And this has been the last key thing for you to get for your team?
Exactly. 100 percent. In the past Mitch Payton was a great partner of ours but it wasn’t really testing; it was just grab it and bolt it together and go racing. So now it’s just a whole different ballpark. Now that we are a factory team and now that we’re able to even do some of the testing and development on our own.

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Carmichael (pictured) is co-owner of RCH.
Simon Cudby photo

Your setup’s tremendous and you’ve got a lot of outside the industry sponsors. What makes you guys be able to do this so well while some other teams struggle?
I can’t tell you my secret!

But you seem to be ahead of the curve from a lot of teams in the pits. I think that’s a good thing, obviously.
I do want to kind of keep some stuff for ourselves because it’s kind of program. We just look at it from a different perspective of just slapping a sticker on the bike and trying to chase the podium. If everything goes as planned for next year we’re going to see some pretty major, exciting changes at the RCH camp. Let’s just say that if everything goes as planned there’s going to be a big change-up, which is going to be pretty exciting.

As long as all this involves Watson staying on the team.
Oh yeah, Watson’s not going anywhere.

Wheely big deal as Hill jumps on board

DARWIN’S historic first round of the Australian Supercross Championship has changed its name to the Josh Hill Show.

The US Supercross champion will today be announced as the star attraction at the September 14-15 combined supercross-superbikes round at Hidden Valley.

Sports Minister Matt Conlan said the Darwin motor- bike spectacular would mark 24-year-old Hill’s first appearance in Australia.

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US Supercross champion Josh Hill will be making his Australian debut at the combined supercross-superbikes round at Hidden Valley.

“When it comes to superross riders around the world, Josh Hill is about as big as they come,” Mr Conlan said. “So we’re absolutely thrilled he’ll be making his Australian debut right here in Darwin.

“Josh is signed to Carey Hart’s team – the husband of pop megastar Pink – who happen to be one of the biggest teams in America.”

Event promoter and International Entertainment Group director Yarrive Konsky said that Hill’s inclusion in the Darwin supercross round was “incredibly huge”.
“We’re delighted to be able to bring Josh to Darwin and Hidden Valley,” Mr Konsky told the NT News.

“Josh had a bad crash two years ago which made global headlines and there were fears he would never race again. But he’s back better than ever and excited to be coming to Australia for the first time, where Darwin will be his very first stop.

“This guy is a huge name in supercross and his appearance will make the championships at Hidden Valley a world-class event.”

Hidden Valley is hosting a QBE Australian Superbike Championships (ASBK) and Australian Supercross Championship round.

“The double program in Darwin will be a great opportunity for Territorians, visitors and rev heads to get down to Hidden Valley and see not one but two different types of motorcycle sports at the one venue,” Mr Conlan said.

“It will be a double dose of speed, agility and athleticism and it’s going to be Hidden Valley like Territorians have never seen it before.”

The NT Government and Mr Konsky’s organisation have sourced 10,000 tonnes of dirt to build the supercross track with jumps and obstacles in the middle of the Hidden Valley circuit

Dodge/RCH Racing’s Josh Hill Earns X Games Silver Medal

RCH RACING’S JOSH HILL EARNS A SILVER MEDAL IN MEN’S MOTO X AT SUMMER X GAMES IN LOS ANGELES

LOS ANGELES – (Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013) – RCH Racing’s Josh Hill (No. 75 Dodge/RCH Racing/Suzuki Z450) earned Dodge its first-ever X Games podium finish with a silver medal performance Saturday in Men’s Moto X at Summer X Games 2013 Los Angeles. Hill led the first 19 of 20 laps in the Main Event before a last-lap pass on the final turn by event winner Justin Brayton.

“What a race,” said a jubilant Hill. “Justin was on my rear tire for the entire race. We were 1-2 almost the entire race and he got me on the lap that counted.”

Men’s Moto X Racing returned to the X Games for the first time since 2010 in grand style as the top riders from multiple moto cross genres took to the purpose-built, all-dirt course that featured huge jumps, rollers and whoops sections inside the famed Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Hill was fast all day, seeding third during afternoon practice aboard the No. 75 Suzuki. In the evening program, Hill broke clear of the 12-rider field early in Heat 1 and never looked back to secure the automatic transfer into the Main Event with a wire-to-wire win.

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“It was gnarly,” said Hill after his Heat 1 performance. “The track is so tight that you have to ride totally defensive when you’re leading. I was looking over my shoulder the last two laps to protect my position. You couldn’t run the fast line and lead the race.”

The mini Supercross-style event inside the home of the Los Angeles Lakers featured a 12-rider Main Event. Race starts were critical as early track position trumped any passing opportunities.

“The race start (60-feet long) was really everything,” said Hill. “It was such a tight course that if you didn’t break clean off the gate it was going to be tough to score well.”

In the Main Event, Hill broke first and avoided a multi-rider mishap in Turn 1 that allowed the RCH Racing rider to pull ahead early in the moto. Hill’s consistent pace and semi-defensive racing lines allowed the Oregon native to hold off the hard-charging Brayton who nipped at Hill’s rear tire all 20 laps. Hill was quick to point out how his “wide” riding style played a factor.

“He (Brayton) rode awesome,” Hill said. “He would have been faster if I wasn’t holding him up the entire time (laughs). It was an awesome race for me.”

Hill was flawless all day aboard the Suzuki, crediting his RCH team for preparing a fantastic race bike.

“Our team had a game plan to make my bike good on race starts and get me in position to break away and it worked tonight,” he added.

Tight racing had fans on their feet in the feature event with the Hill-Brayton battle taking center stage. Hill’s defensive racing lines late in the race forced Brayton to be aggressive in the final corner. He stuffed his front tire underneath Hill, pushing him up the track to gain the position.

“I needed to install a rear-view mirror on my bike (laughs),” Hill added. “It was a game of inches all day. If I railed the berm I could have carried a lot of speed, but there were times where I had to hold my line and race slower to protect the lead. It was great racing. We just come up short tonight. Justin made a great move on the last lap to get us.”

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.”

TICKLE 10TH AT VEGAS, FINISHES NINTH IN SX RIDER STANDINGS

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.”

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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.”

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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.