450 Words: Ken Roczen

It wouldn’t seem possible that a rider would be looking for a new bike with a different feeling on the heels of winning the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship 450 title, but Ken Roczen has apparently been looking to try something different for awhile. Roczen—who was raised racing Suzukis—is indeed leaving his old employer, Red Bull KTM, to ride for Soaring Eagle Casino/Jimmy John’s RCH Suzuki for 2015-2016. Roczen explained all in a press conference at Red Bull Straight Rhythm.

Racer X: How much can you say about the beginnings of this? When was the first time you started thinking about riding Suzukis?
Ken Roczen: I was thinking about it for a very long time just because I was at a point where I struggled a bit with the bike in 2013 and before. I’ve done my duty together with KTM. I love them, love the team, and everything, but KTM has their very own characteristic, the bike. At one point I was just like, you know what? I don’t believe in my bike anymore as much and I just felt like it was time for a change. We’ve been together for like four years or something. Luckily we have done a fantastic job this year and got the outdoor title. It was good to finish it off like that, but for me it was just time in my head for a change. I chose Suzuki because I like the RCH image, and I think together me and RCH we can do something big. I have 100 percent faith in the bike because you take them out of the box already and they’re just so good. I have a lot of good memories on Suzuki. My decision when I went with RCH, people were like, “It’s not factory.” Yes, we are factory. It doesn’t even matter; I have so much faith in the bike I’m like whatever. Just give me the bike and I’ll make it work.

Isn’t it about finding a bike and settings that work for you specifically, not necessarily about having factory parts or whatever? You can make it worth it if you’re comfortable on it?
For sure. It’s important. We have done some amazing changes to the engine and stuff. We got that way, way better, which helps out a lot. But I think in my eyes you can buy a Suzuki, I don’t even know if you need engine work really…more is not always good. It’s about putting it on the ground. I think if you have the right suspension guy, the guy you can trust, and I even have one in Germany. A guy that I’ve been with him since I was little, and he’s absolutely amazing. If I would have to I would buy a bike, get my suspension done with him, and I will be good to race.

Is that who we saw at Salt Lake a year ago? I think there was a guy that came out, no team uniform…
Possible. I think he was at a few races.

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I knew you when you were on Suzuki before and it was 250, smaller bike. How much of a change is it to jump to the 450?
It is. Obviously it’s been a very long time since I’ve ridden a 250 Suzuki, but that bike was trick. We had so many cool parts. KTM was always the fastest engine over there, but I had such a good chassis and such a good suspension, I didn’t need that engine. It would have been better if you would have more, but I just made it work. I’ve always loved my bike.

How much of a difference is it on this one now? I know nobody’s going to sign up for a new team and say, “Man, this is terrible,” but how do you like the bike, and how are you settling in on it?
It’s amazing, the characteristics that are different. It’s crazy how much you notice it and we have only had a few days of testing and we already have the bike where I’m like just leave it like this right now and I’ll ride it and ride it and ride it and get confident on it. I think we just have to do some little changes, meaning once I’m good and confident. I’ve been taking five-six weeks off completely. I just want to get my fitness back. I think at one point when I start riding the bike a little harder I think I can go a bit stiffer on the suspension, but for right now I’m already really comfortable.

Where are they going mount the electric start for you?
We’ll see by A1 what happens.

How long does it take you to get that feeling back and get comfortable and settled in on it?
It depends. If you’re riding an outdoor track not long, it’ll take a day or two. But for supercross you have to be so precise. In general if you come back from an outdoor season and do supercross everything kind of feels weird, it feels super stiff. It’s just so much different. Right now, especially we started testing really early, so now with the bike I have I really just have to put in time. Like I said, in supercross it’s a little bit more difficult. You have gnarly tracks plus a totally different bike, so it’s difficult. But it’ll just take a little bit of time. I’m not even worried because I have three months right now and you don’t need three months to get ready. I think we’re on a good schedule.

A lot of racers over the years, anybody who’s raced for a period of time and stick with one particular brand for a few years, when they switch things seem just amazingly better a lot of the times just because it’s different. It brings something new. How much of that are you dealing with too? Like, first time you threw your leg over it, it feels different. Maybe it’s wider in a spot or narrower?
That’s the thing, the Suzuki is a really good bike. It’s very narrow. I think I prefer the characteristic of an aluminum frame just because the frame is stiffer. Where the KTM, it’s a wider bike, it has a lot of power, and it just bends weird. It flexes very weird. Plus the suspension, it’s more of a dead feeling. For some supercross tracks it seems good, but if you take a Suzuki off the stand, it’s so free and it’s so plush, and that’s comfort. That’s a pretty big thing that I was looking for because that’s the stuff I’ve been telling KTM the whole time; I need more comfort. So the change is done now and I’m super happy about it. Like you said, it’s a lot mentally so it’ll be just fine. I’m 100 percent sure.

Is it two years?
Yes.

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What was it about RCH versus Yoshimura or some other team? What was it that attracted you here?
I don’t think Yosh was ever an option. One of the biggest things was Red Bull. All the teams they come with options. Obviously if you go to Factory Kawi you have to be Monster; there’s no way around it. I could have had my own gear deal, but here I have my own gear deal, energy drink, plus the image of the team with Carey and Ricky.

Free concert tickets…
Free concert tickets, free singing songs on the phone, I’ll just call in and start singing…plus I know Suzuki, and I think for me that was just the right direction to go and Red Bull was a big, big part of it. The last thing I wanted to do is drop Red Bull. I’ve been with them for so long, and they’re so solid that there was no way for me to leave them out.

You’re a very big guy on social media. How hard was it to stay off there during that time from the end of the season to now?
Super hard. Especially once I started riding. That was the worst part. I’m like, “Man, I want to post something so bad!” The first couple of days I posted so much because I already had pictures and stuff. It was hard. At one point I enjoyed not being on social media too much because it takes up way too much time of my day, but that’s what makes you happy, so you should do it.

RCH Racing Weston Peick has another solid performance!

Weston went 10-5 for 7th overall at Unadilla this past weekend, and maintains 7th in the points standings. Gotta love his effort week in and week out. Looking for another big weekend coming up.
Here are a few photos from behind the lens of Simon Cudby.

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RCH Racing takes on Washougal MX

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That’s a wrap Washougal MX! Weston rode a solid 7-6 for 6th overall today. The track was rough and he rode like a beast. Many thanks to our sponsors Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Suzuki Fox Racing Sycuan Casino Dodge Bel-Ray Company, Inc. for all the support

RCH RACING SOARING EAGLE SIGNS WESTON PEICK

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The RCH Racing Soaring Eagle has signed top privateer Weston Peick to race the Lucas Oil Pro Motorcross Championship for 2014. Peick will continue to contest the remainder of the Feld Motor Sports® 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship series as a privateer, before joining the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle effort.

Answering the question posed in Racer X Magazine and all over the Internet, “Why Not Weston?” RCH team principal Ricky Carmicheal says why not, indeed. “I’m glad to have Weston a part of the team.” Peick earned seven amateur titles without support from factories and raced a privateer since turning pro in 2009… until now. “We are excited to give him the opportunity and look forward to working with him to help him achieve his goals,” claims Carmichael.

“He has a great work ethic that will mesh well with our team personnel to get the best result possible,” adds Carmichael. “It should be a lot of fun!”

Despite being a self-professed “goon” at Supercross early in his career, the former high school football player has shown marked improvement in the stadiums this season, including Top 5 at Anaheim 3 and the San Diego rounds. However he is really looking forward to returning to the outdoor nationals. “This is a great opportunity to be surrounded by one of the best riders of all time and one of the best factory teams to help me get to the next level,” said an elated Peick.

Loyalty is important to Peick and his father, and they requested to finish the Supercross season as a privateer in order to honor their sponsor commitments. This is a request that RCH Racing Soaring Eagle certainly respects and is one of the reasons why Peick was offered the opportunity. “I want to Thank all my current sponsors for their outstanding support for the Supercross series… without them, this opportunity wouldn’t be possible,” says Weston.

“We are so happy to have the opportunity for Weston to work with RCH Racing,” says his father Louie who has been working on Weston’s bikes throughout his career. “Thanks to all our sponsors that helped us get to this level.”

Look for Weston Peick to make his debut on the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle Suzuki RM-Z450 at Glen Helen on May 24th when the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship kicks off.

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About RCH Racing Soaring Eagle:

RCH Racing is in its second season of the partnership between Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart to campaign the Feld Motor Sports® 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship series as well as the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motorcross Championship. 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.

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

RCH RACING SOARING EAGLE HITS HOUSTON SUPERCROSS

A season best 7th at St. Louis for Josh Hill and the great news that Broc Tickle was out of the hospital and on the mend at home had the entire RCH Racing Soaring Eagle Team flying high and ready to hit Houston for round 14 of the Monster Energy Supercross series. Hill was on fire all day, setting a blistering top five qualifying time and then winning his Heat race to transfer straight to the Main… and that was just the beginning!
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Photo Credit:RCH Team

As they say, everything is bigger in Texas, especially the whoop sections. “I wish I was racing tonight,” said team principal Ricky Carmichael. “Those are my style of whoops. Remember 2002 Houston? Like riding on tough blocks!” Because the whoops were so challenging, riders had to find another way to win. The secret to success on the tough Texas track was going big… literally! Hitting the big quad jump going into the final turn was Josh Hill’s secret line (only he and the days fastest qualifier Ryan Villopoto jumped that quad). The quad not only helped Hill qualify less than fraction of a second behind defending champ Villopoto, but also worked in his Heat race.

Starts have been an Achilles’ heel for Hill this season — he has the speed to race with the best, but has found himself having to fight his way through the entire pack more often than not. However a phenomenal top 5 qualifying time that was just .016 of a second off Villopoto’s top time, gave Josh a great gate pick in Heat race #2. He lined up next defending champ RV and red hot rookie Ken Roczen. Andrew Short took the surprise holeshot, but Hill was right behind him third off the start. By the end of the first lap, Josh got by Short, even without being able to use his hot line through the quad.
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Photo Credit: Simon Cudby

Meanwhile Villopoto used the hot line to catch up to Hill and managed to get by, briefly. An uncharacteristic mistake by the current points leader had RV crashing out and Hill taking a commanding Heat race win and a transfer spot straight to the Main event. Along the way, he captured plenty of TV time for the RCH Soaring Eagle team this week. Josh was the focal point for leading the race and then the podium interview for winning… his first Heat race win since the Indianapolis SX back in 2013. Fox Sport trackside reporter Jenny Taft also interviewed Josh Hill right after Heat Race #1 where he fessed up that the quad jump was the key. “I could hit that all night!” he told Taft on national TV. “I waited until the end of qualifying to do it.”
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Photo Credit: Simon Cudby

It isn’t just a secret line that has Hill doing well, though.

“I’m finally feeling good, I came into the season with a back problem and then broke my collarbone at the Oakland Supercross,” said Josh from the podium after leading a Suzuki sweep of the Heat races (an ailing James Stewart held it together to win the first Heat). With only a week off after getting the collarbone plated, Hill had been fighting through the pain all season long. However a Heat race win and three consecutive Top 10 Main event finishes in a row, had Josh feeling no pain at Reliant Stadium in Houston… at least until the first turn of the Main event.
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Photo Credit: Simon Cudby

Josh lined up next to Ryan Dungey for the start of the 450 Main putting the KTM rider in a Suzuki sandwich with James Stewart. Unfortunately in the drag race to the first turn Stewart’s Suzuki clipped Josh, grounding the Soaring Eagle rider instantly! Although there was some additional carnage in the second turn, Hill was dead last. By lap 10 of the 20 lap Main, Hill had battled his way up to 15th. Despite being a lap down from leader Villopoto, Josh continued to charge, up to 13th with 8 laps to go, and then into 12th with two laps to go, where he eventually finished.

“The heat race went well,” said a disappointed Hill. “I felt really confident in practice… I was jumping some section that not many people were doing and just felt great. It is unfortunate to have a fall in the first turn! I really wanted to get the holeshot, but ended up running out of real estate — me and James kind of bumped and I hit the deck.”

Unfortunately Heat race wins don’t count in the points standings, but his gritty 12th place finish in Houston has Hill up into 10th overall in the points standings with three races left. While he is healing up and unable to race, Broc Tickle still holds onto 8th place in the standings. This is a true testament to the talent of the RCH Soaring Eagle teammates since they are both in the top ten in points despite missing several races (5 total for Tickle and 3 for Hill).

As always, the team sponsors were at the epicenter of the action in the pits as the Suzuki Holeshot experience proves to be popular with the fans. Also attracting a crowd is the sign up for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid four-day/three-night get away to Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort. A new addition to the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle vibe is the new RCH Racing Fanwear collection from team riding gear sponsor Fox Racing. Show your support for both Broc Tickle and Josh Hill by flying the Soaring Eagle colors: http://bit.ly/RCHxFox

So how does a Soaring Eagle fare in Seahawk territory? Yoncalla, Oregon, native Josh Hill is looking forward to a homecoming as the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle team flies to Seattle for the April 12th race at CenturyLink Field. “It’s on to next weekend… again,” he says. “I really think I can get up on the podium, so that’s what I’m going to keep working toward.”
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Photo Credit: RCH Team

About RCH Racing Soaring Eagle:
RCH Racing is in its second season of the partnership between Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart to campaign the Feld Motor Sports® 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship season. 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.

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

Making A Statement At The St. Louis Supercross.

After a tough weekend in Toronto that saw team leader Broc Tickle suffer a season-ending injury, the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle team headed to the “Show Me” state of Missouri determined to show the world what they are made of. Lone eagle Josh Hill was ready to fly the team colors in St. Louis at round 13 of the Monster Energy Supercross series. Mission accomplished as Hill had his best finish of the SX season!

Little known fact, the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis was the site of RCH Racing Soaring Eagle team principal Ricky Carmichael’s last Supercross victory back in 2007. “It is a very technical track and there will be some great racing in St. Louis tonight,” predicted the Greatest Of All Time after qualifying. “First through 10th were separated by just over half a second!” With four wins, Carmichael is also the all-time winner in the Edward Jones Dome, so he knows a thing or two about this event.  He was able to transfer some of his insight to the team’s rider Josh Hill.

A week of practicing starts and yet another solid top 10 qualifying session had Hill positioned where he wanted to be in Heat race #1, lined up next to second fastest qualifier of the afternoon, Ryan Dungey. As expected Dungey took the holeshot and Hill was fifth off the start (top four transfer straight to the Main from the 6-lap Heat races, the rest have to ride the Semis). By the halfway point, Hill had moved up into 4th for a qualifying position when an unfortunate crash caused the race to be red-flagged and re-started. On the restart, and slower riders conspired to have Hill back in 11th. Despite a valiant charge that had Hill all the way up to 7th on the last lap, he was still three positions out of a direct transfer to the Main.

Another tough start for Hill in Semi #2 allowed him to demonstrate just how fast he is. Suzuki-mounted holeshot artist Mike Alessi snagged the lead on the start and never looked back, while Josh made the Main the hard way. In the short 5-lap semi, he charged from 7th up to 2nd . Shades of last week as Alessi and Hill outpaced the field and easily made the Main event. “I have the speed to run with the leaders and proved it again in the Semi, but like we said last week, gotta get a start!”
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Photo Credit: Simon Cudby

Teammate Tickle Tweeted from home where he is recovering from his crash in Canada: “Good luck today @soaringeagleresort @Rchracing and @joshill75 you got this! Keep that momentum up!”  Broc was referencing the fact that Hill earned back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time since last year. Proving that he might be down, but definitely not out, Broc was just released from the hospital yesterday. “Everything is getting better day-by-day and I really appreciate all the support and fans that I have behind me.”

Tickle added, “I still have a lot ahead of me to get healed up. I’m blessed and really can’t thank everyone who is behind me enough. I will make a 100% recovery and be back when the time is right. I’m motivated to get through this and get back where I left off. I was building great momentum and getting more confidence each weekend this Supercross season.” First things first, though.”First off I want to thank my wife Jessica for taking care of everything,” says Broc. “I also want to thank my family for the awesome love and support, everyone at RCH Racing and all my sponsors — you guys are awesome and I consider you my family, too.

For the multitude of fan requests, Get Well cards can be sent to Broc Tickle at P.O. Box 100, Holly, MI 48442.
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Photo Credit: Jessica Tickle

The 450 Main saw RCH Soaring Eagle ready to fly… until he had his wings clipped at the start. Josh was back in 14th place and having to fight traffic for the first three laps of the 20-lap main event. Then he began another of his patented charges through the pack. He was up to 11th by lap 5, and into the top 10 by lap 8. Despite a collision with privateer Weston Peick, he continued to charge all the way to the end. Hill was 9th with 6 laps to go and then on the last lap picked up two more positions!

“I’m not that happy with 7th,” said Hill. “Coming from the back of the pack is getting really old. If I get my starts where they need to be, I really feel like I can be a contender.” However the team is happy with the progress Hill has made and three consecutive Top 10 finishes in a row.

“Good ride for Josh tonight,” said team principal Carey Hart who was  on hand with his wife singer Pink to support Hill. “He made big gains throughout the day and rode to a solid  7th place finish.

By virtue of his 7th place finish at the Edward Jones Dome, Josh Hill jumps up into 11th overall in the points standings with four races left in the season.  Injuries suffered earlier in the season have had Hill trying to play catch-up all season long. Despite not being able to race, Broc Tickle still holds onto 8th place in the standings.

Between having Pink and the Suzuki Holeshot experience going on, the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle Team pits were rocking. Fans were drinking in the energy of a real rock star in addition to having a chance to win an all-expenses-paid four-day/three-night get away to Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort. The party in the pits at any Monster Energy Supercross makes the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle
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Photo Credit: RCH Social Media

With St. Louis in the rearview mirror, it is time for the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle team to head to Houston. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the expectations for the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle Team on April 5th at Reliant Stadium.

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About RCH Racing Soaring Eagle:
RCH Racing is in its second season of the partnership between Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart to campaign the Feld Motor Sports® 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship season. 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.

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

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.

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.