Roczen Earns Second Win of the Season, Tickle Fifth at Angel Stadium

ANAHEIM, Calif. (January 18, 2015) – RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing kept the momentum rolling Saturday night when Ken Roczen picked up the win and Broc Tickle finished fifth in the Monster Energy Supercross event at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

The win was Roczen’s second of the season and third career at Angel Stadium. Tickle’s fifth-place finish was his best effort of 2015, less than a year removed from a potentially career-ending injury he suffered last March in Toronto.

Despite Roczen’s first- and second-place finishes, respectively, in the first two races, the 20-year-old 450SX sophomore standout was cautiously optimistic before the gate dropped on the third main event of the year.

“My day started out a little bit rusty,” commented Roczen, who is undefeated at Anaheim this season. “The track was really special and not easy to ride. I knew, going into the track walk, not to get stressed about the first or second practice. The track really came around in the main. It was pretty tricky. We had some ruts out there and it was a big track with long lap times. That definitely made it interesting. We got good starts when we needed them, and I think everyone can see that my Suzuki RM-Z450 works awesome. We had a great heat race so I was very confident going into the main. I didn’t get the holeshot but I was still near the front after the start and that was all I really needed.”

Roczen was second fastest in both of Saturday’s qualifying sessions and, coincidentally, finished second to Ryan Dungey in the first 450SX heat race of the program. The solid effort in his heat guaranteed the German rider a spot at the starting gate for the main event. While he settled for second in the preliminaries, that wouldn’t be the case when the money was on the line. Jimmy Albertson won the holeshot but it took Roczen less than a lap to pass Albertston, Davi Millsaps and, ultimately, Andrew Short for the top spot. From there it was all Roczen, all night, where he led all 20 laps en route to the fourth big-bike win of his young career.

“Shorty (Andrew Short) is a hard guy to pass,” said Roczen, who extended his point lead to 12. “I didn’t really want to get tangled up behind him so I had to make the move. After that, I needed to ride smart but stay focused on intensity because everyone was really fast. My bike worked awesome. It felt great and that’s all that matters. We put in a few strong laps but I couldn’t rest because Ryan (Dungey) got a bit closer sometimes during the race. Overall, it was a really good night. It was good to fight back after last weekend. We’ll keep going and hopefully, just inch away with the points lead. As long as we’re winning, we’re good.”

Tickle had a solid weekend overall. The Holly, Mich., rider was solid in both of the weekend’s qualifying sessions but a sixth-place finish in his heat race forced Tickle to race his way through the first 450SX semifinal of the night.

If confidence breeds confidence, then Tickle’s path to the main event was just what the doctor ordered. After winning the holeshot in the semi, the 2011 Supercross West Coast Lites Champion led every lap and cruised to an easy victory. That performance catapulted Tickle to his best finish of the year and offered the 25-year-old a welcome sigh of relief after a tough outing last weekend in Phoenix.

“Everything went pretty good,” explained Tickle after Round 3. “The semi set the tone for the night. Honestly, I haven’t gotten a holeshot in a couple of years. And winning the semi was important. All that confidence carried over into the main. All I did was go out there, try to ride 20 solid laps and it paid off. There was a lot of carnage midway through the race so I just tried to keep my pace going and look forward. (Justin) Barcia was close to me and I knew if I stayed close to him that I would leave a gap behind me. That was my goal and that’s kind of what happened. (Cole) Seely started catching me at the end but I still had some left in the tank, so I opened it up a little bit and gapped him just enough where I could cruise the last couple of laps. It was an awesome main event. It gives me goose bumps getting off the bike after a finish like that. I really appreciate everyone who stuck with me after the injury last year.”

RCH co-owner Carey Hart was on hand in Anaheim when the dust settled and was obviously proud of both his riders.

“The whole night is really bittersweet,” said Hart. “With Ken getting the win and to see Broc come back and finish fifth after the year he had last year is just awesome. I’m not sure who I’m happier for.

“I’m excited about next week,” continued Hart. “We’ve got a lot of momentum. Broc did great. He’s really getting his starts down. The win was a good boost for Ken to keep his confidence up. We’ll get back on the test track this week, put in the work and come into Oakland next weekend, rolling.”

Team manager Kyle Bentley was also pleased following the event but he was quick to credit the ongoing team effort that provides Tickle and Roczen with Suzuki RM-Z450s that perform at the highest level.

“I’m super excited,” said Bentley. “I couldn’t be more proud of Ken. He puts in the work during the week but I’m even happier for Broc. I’m super stoked for the whole team. We’ve put in a lot of work and a lot of effort. It’s a team deal. I also need to give credit to Ivan Tedesco for helping us during the week and getting our bike setups dialed in. I’m almost speechless. It’s a long season so we just need to keep rolling.”

The 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross heads up the Pacific Coast to Oakland next weekend when Roczen, Tickle and the rest of the RCH contingent trek to northern California for the first of two annual visits to the San Francisco Bay Area. The fourth of 17 races on the 2015 Supercross schedule will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 Saturday, Jan. 24, beginning at 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
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Copyright © 2015 RCH Racing, All rights reserved.

Roczen, RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing Kick Off New Season in Style

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DOMINANT, EMOTIONAL WIN AT ANAHEIM OPENER FOR KEN ROCZEN, RCH SOARING EAGLE/JIMMY JOHNS/SUZUKI FACTORY RACING
Broc Tickle Turns in Top-10 Performance in Supercross Return

ANAHEIM, Calif. – (January 4, 2015) – Ken Roczen and RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing turned in a dominant performance in Saturday night’s opening round of the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross season. Roczen parlayed his sizzling performance into a breakthrough, first-time 450SX win for the team co-owned by Freestyle Motocross pioneer Carey Hart and 15-time AMA National Champion Ricky Carmichael.

“It’s been a long time coming,” commented an emotional Hart following the event. “We’ve been at this eight or nine years and honestly, it’s very bittersweet. I have to give it all up to Mark Johnson, Kyle (Bentley) and the whole technical team. Ivan Tedesco did a ton of pre-season testing for us and that paid off in a big way. Ken put his head down and rode solid from the time the gate dropped. At the same time, Broc Tickle rode an amazing race. That was his first time back after breaking his back last year in Toronto and to get out of here with an eighth-place finish is an important accomplishment for him. I just could not be happier for my crew and all my guys.”

Not surprisingly, Roczen, last year’s opening round winner, was first- and second-fastest respectively, in both of Saturday afternoon’s qualifiyng sessions. After the gate dropped on the 450SX Main Event, he dispatched of holeshot winner Mike Alessi and took over the lead from Andrew Short before completing the first of 20 laps, never looking back. Over the remaining 19 trips around Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the 20-year-old, German-born rider would strech his lead to just over four seconds.

“Great weekend,” explained Roczen. “It was our first race together so it was cool to actually get going. The night couldn’t have gone any better. To come out with the win and obviously, the first for the team, I take a lot of pride in that. That makes me really happy and proud. It just shows how hard we have worked. We’re going to keep going from here. There’s more to come. It’s just good to get this first one out of the way. Now, we’ll go home and keep working.”

Tickle was consistently inside the top 10 during 450SX qualifying and maintained that consistency thoughout the night’s program. After finishing ninth in his heat race, the Holly, Mich., rider had to race his way through the semi final. True to form, Tickle finished third in the evening’s second 450SX semi, locking down a spot at the gate for the 450 Main. After getting a decent jump off the starting line, Tickle settled in and picked off spots one at a time, ultimately recording an impressive eighth-place showing.

“I’m somewhat frustrated, but as I sit back and think about it, the fact that I haven’t raced in eight months helps keep it in perspective,” said Tickle. “I’m actually pretty pumped about it. We’re starting a lot like we did last season. We built on it every week and once we got out to the east coast and back to Dallas, we started stringing together some good finishes. I got a little tight toward the end of the race so I need to ride more and get some intensity during the week. I think that will help.”

For his part, Carmichael was all smiles after the race. After spending the night in the television booth calling the race for FOX Sports 1, the five-time Monster Energy Supercross titlest was eager to get back to the pits and congratulate both of the team’s riders.

“I’m really happy for the team, Ken, Broc and all the people who have made the sacrifices that it took to put RCH in this position,” said Carmichael. “We’re like the Bad News Bears sometimes but we’ve got great personnel, great riders and a great technical staff. It’s really cool to see all the work and the plan come to fruition. Carey and I sat down three years ago and mapped out our plan but we weren’t exactly sure it would all be possible. We set our goals very high. I’m really proud of the guys in the shop who bust their tails every week. That’s who I’m most proud of.”

“I’m really happy for Broc,” Carmichael went on. “We all know he had a horrific crash last year and injuries that were almost career-ending. For him to bounce back from that and to come to Anaheim and finish eighth, I’m pretty darn happy for him.”

Roczen’s win proved to be a collective sigh of relief for the entire organization, especially Hart, the team’s founder.

“It was the longest 18 minutes and change of my life,” continued Hart. “I was watching the laps click off and every lap felt like hours. After about lap 12, I had a big grin on my face and was doing my happy dance. We came into A1 like it was just another race or another day at the test track. Everyone did their homework, stayed cool, calm and postive. This is a 17 race battle. This win wasn’t a one shot pony, by any means. We’ve got 16 races to go. We’re taking them one by one. We’ll keep picking away and take the good with the bad.”

The 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross tour rolls on next weekend when Roczen, Tickle and the rest of the RCH contingent visit Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. The second of 17 races on the 2015 Supercross schedule will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 Saturday, Jan. 10 beginning at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

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RCH FACTORY RACING

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Healed and Hungry, Tickle Set Sights On Top of the Box

 

LAS VEGAS (December 16, 2014) – RCH Factory Racing has re-signed Broc Tickle to ride a second Suzuki RM-Z450 alongside Ken Roczen’s No. 94 for the team’s 2015 Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross campaign. Tickle, 25, showed great promise aboard the team’s No. 20 machine in 2013 and last season until being sidelined in March following a pratice crash at the Toronto Supercross where he sustained fractures of the T-6 and T-7 vertebra, two broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

 

Since then, the Michigan rider has fully recovered from his injuries, making it an easy decision for team owners Carey Hart and Ricky Carmichael to include Tickle as part of the organization’s 2015 rider lineup, giving RCH a potent one-two punch heading into next month’s season-opener in Anaheim (Calif.).

 

“I’m really excited to be back with RCH for 2015,” said Tickle, the 2011 AMA Supercross Lites West Champion. “We’ve had an awesome two years together and for Carey and Ricky to bring me back after my injury really shows what kind of guys those two are. They stuck with me and kept a spot for me. We were heading in the right direction until I got hurt in Toronto. I’m glad all that’s behind us and I feel great. I’ve been riding and getting ready for the Supercross season for the last month and I’m really pumped with the progress we’re making. All of the work the team has done building and testing with Ivan Tedesco over the summer and fall has definitely paid off. The bike is amazing.

 

“I’m also really excited that Thor, Bell, X Brand and Sidi will be my personal sponsors for 2015,” continued Tickle. “Some of the brands I’ve worked with in the past with great success and some are new to me. I’m looking forward to building strong relationships with all of them and having a breakout year with RCH Factory Racing.”

 

After winning the 2011 Supercross Lites West title for Monster Energy Pro Circuit, Tickle made the jump from the 250 to the team’s big bike the following season. A fifth-place finish in the final 2012 Supercross point standings and a ninth-place end result outdoors netted him a new opportunity for 2013 with RCH.

 

The new combination proved to be a consistent mix for Tickle and RCH, with a solid first season paying off in the form of eighth-place finishes in both Supercross and Motocross season-end points.

 

Last season, Tickle kick started the 2014 campaign with back-to-back eighth-place finishes at Anaheim One and Phoenix before a pair of incidents in heat races at A2 and Oakland kept him from competing in each race’s 450 SX Main Event. From there, the Holly, Mich., rider only finshed outside the top eight once over the next six stops, including a career-best fourth-place showing at Daytona International Speedway before the injury in Toronto.

 

“I’m very excited to be bringing Broc back for a third year with the team,” explained Hart. “He was showing major gains each week last year, leading up to the Toronto Supercross. We’re all looking forward to picking up where we left off, and having a very successful year of Supercross and Motocross.”

 

RCH Factory Racing has seen steady progress since Hart and Carmichael formed a joint venture in 2013 and achieved the pairing’s first podium finish in April of this year at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Always trendsetters in the paddock, RCH continues to show the way with unique marketing initiatives and partnership activations, consistently influencing the feel and dynamic of the pit area. Tickle’s No. 20 RM-Z450 will showcase sponsorship from Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, Jimmy Johns, Dodge, Sycuan Casino, Bel Ray, Suzuki and Rockford Fosgate.

 

“We’re glad to have Broc back with RCH for 2015,” said Carmichael. “We were really happy with the progress he was making last year. You could see his confidence building as he got better every week. We all know he got hurt in Toronto but, up until then, he put together some solid races and had the finishes to show for it. We’re looking forward to having him around this year so he can finsh what he started last season. I know that’s at the forefront of Broc’s mind, as well.”

 

The 2015 Monster Energy Supercross season kicks off Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. The first of 17 races on the 2015 Supercross schedule will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

 

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About RCH Racing …

RCH Racing is a professional Supercross and Motocross team co-owned by 15-time AMA Champion Ricky Carmichael and Freestyle Motocross visionary and entrepreneur Carey Hart.

RCH enjoys factory support from Suzuki and Yoshimura research and development as well as marketing partnerships with Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, Sycuan Casino, Jimmy Johns, Dodge, Fox, Bel-Ray and Hart and Huntington.

 

 

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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THE EVOLUTION OF CAREY HART

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Depending on who you are, the name Carey Hart can mean many different things. Privateer Supercross racer, freestyle innovator, tattoo shop owner, reality TV star, Pink’s husband, race team owner…the list goes on and on. We’ve been friends with Carey since the near beginning, when he was a struggling privateer riding a Kawasaki KX250 and wearing Fleshgear baggies. Seeing him evolve into one of the most important men in the sport has been a pleasure, and we jumped at the chance to catch up with Hart Luck and reminisce at the 2015 Suzuki RM-Z450 intro held earlier in the week. Enjoy!

http://motocross.transworld.net/1000164806/news/evolution-carey-hart/

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Hart may be “retired,” but his name still carries plenty of weight in motocross. As such, he is featured heavily in Fox Racing’s new MX15 media packet.
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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