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.
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.
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.
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. “
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!
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!
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.