Daytona Beach, FL (March 11, 2014) – The Daytona Supercross round was held on a home field for the RCH Soaring Eagle Supercross Team, literally. Team principal Ricky Carmichael built the track and hosted his Amateur SX Championship on the track held in the infield of the “World Center Of Racing” Daytona International Speedway. Broc Tickle #20 and Josh Hill #75 headed south immediately following their season-best showing at the Indy SX last weekend looking forward to building on the momentum in Florida.
Rainy weather during the week saw the team testing mud tires and wet weather set-ups at Carmichael’s compound on Monday and Tuesday just in case Daytona turned out to be a mudder. However race day dawned warm and dry, perfect conditions. The personal instruction from the Greatest Of All Time (as RC is known in racing circles) really paid off for Josh Hill as he qualified 7th overall, just a hairsbreadth off the fastest qualifier of the day, Dean Wilson. Teammate Tickle also posted a top-20 time in afternoon qualifying (top 40 fastest make it into the evening racing program, the rest park their bikes and head to the grandstands).
Heat #1 on the hybrid outdoor national/indoor Supercross track that is uniquely Daytona saw Tickle take a terrible start, but by lap #2, he had moved into 7th and even drew some TV time from Fox Sports live broadcast as he battled with Justin Brayton. speaking of TV time, the evening broadcast began with Carmichael taking his RCH Soaring Eagle Suzuki on a lap around the tough track… how often do you get a tour of the race track from the saddle of the guy who built it? “Things started out really rough for me and I struggled with qualifying and the Heat,” Tickle. Brayton never “let Broc bye” so Tickle was headed to the Semis.
Heat #2 was Hill’s turn to finish in 7th and move to the Semis as well. Hill grabbed a great start in 5th, just one position out of qualifying and battling with James Stewart’s younger brother, Malcolm most of the race as they chased Andrew Short for the final qualifying position. This was the first time the Stewart brother’s ever raced 450s together, so the human interest angle was there when “Mookie” qualified, but that meant Hill had to head to the Semi.
Consisting of 16 riders battling for 5 laps to see the top 5 advance to the main, 450 Semi #2 saw both Soaring Eagle Suzuki’s squaring off against each other as Tickle had the #3 gate pick and Hill had the #4 slot. “We had a chance to test and prepare for this and I thought we had a couple of great days,” Carmichael told the TV viewing audience from the Fox broadcast booth. “Josh is riding good but Broc is off the mark today… which is weird to me since Broc has had a great couple of weeks the last couple of Supercross rounds.” Both RCH riders had the TV cameras focused on them at the line for the start of Semi #2 as RC was talking and then during the course of the Semi… great plugs for sponsors Shift and Fox as well as Soaring Eagle and Sycuan. Speaking of sponsors, Soaring Eagle even featured the team in a TV ad that aired just before the start of the 250cc Main event.
Both riders got a good jump on the start as Hill was 6th and Tickle 7th, however Hill went on an immediate charge, slashing his way to 3rd with the first few turns. By the start of the second lap, Tickle starts riding more fluidly and moves into 4th. “He was mad at himself after qualifying… I tried to help him and give him as much advice as I good,” said Carmichael of Tickle. Some of what RC had to say must have sunk in as Tickle ripped off some of the fastest laps of the heat races. Although he couldn’t quite catch his hard-charging teammate Hill, Tickle finished 4th and Hill had 3rd to easily transfer to the Main event. “Great turn-around for RCH Racing’s Broc Tickle… nice, bud,” offered an elated Carmichael.
The 450 Main was a mixed bag for the RCH Soaring Eagle Suzuki Team as Tickle took one step closer to SX glory and Hill took a tumble. Tickle finished a career best fourth place on the 450, while Hill had a Main event he would rather not talk about. “Crashes and run ins with tuff blocks hampered my night,” said Hill. “I rode great, but the black cloud just seemed to follow me to Daytona. Looking forward to Detroit were I want to put the Soaring Eagle Suzuki on the box in front of our great sponsors.”
“The track was brutal,” added Tickle. “It was really demanding and I knew the Main was going to be about being consistent and hitting your marks. I started around 10th on the first lap, but I rode my lines and passed a couple of people early to get into 7th. When Malcolm Stewart and Justin Barcia came together and went down, I went up into 5th”!
Fast qualifier Dean Wilson was struggling toward the end, so Tickle took another spot with three laps to go to finish in 4th overall for the night. “I’m super pumped! The team worked awesome together today and I got more comfortable for the Main,” he explained. “I’m looking forward to this week and next weekend in Detroit.”
Co-owner Carey Hart was stoked to see Tickle turn it around. “Awesome work tonight by Broc Tickle and the whole RCH Racing crew! Thanks everyone!” RC added, “I’m really impressed with the turn-around Broc had and how he rebounded from what had not been a very good day. I’m happy for him and the team… everyone’s hard work has paid off the past three weeks.”
The RCH Racing Soaring Eagle Team pits were also featured in the TV broadcast from Daytona this week. A huge Bike Week crowd saw the action at the Suzuki Holeshot Experience proving to be very popular. The team probably signed more autographs in Daytona than they have at the last three races combined! Vacationeers also appreciated the opportunity to win an all-expense paid trip to the Soaring Eagle Luxury Resort. Sierra Merchant was swamped with people signing up for the Soaring Eagle trip. From the beach to the Motor City, next week the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle team heads back indoors to Ford Field in Detroit for Round 11 on March 15.
Photo Cred: Simon Cudby
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.