CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (August 25, 2015) – RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing pulled out all the stops for last Saturday’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season finale and when the checkers waved on the Bud Light Ironman National, defending series champion Ken Roczen was credited with a second-place overall finish. Roczen’s RCH teammate, Broc Tickle, finished eighth overall as the curtain rang down on the 12-race, 2015 outdoor season.
The solid outing was Roczen’s third moto win and sixth podium finish of the year. Tickle earned 10th top 10 of 2015.
More importantly, Roczen was able to close the deal and finish second in the season-ending championship standings, besting his closest competitor Justin Barcia by a scant six points. The 21-year-old rider of the No. 1 Suzuki RM-Z450 scored a 3-1 finish, coming up just one spot short of the overall win after 2015 champion Ryan Dungey went 1-2 on the day.
“Saturday was really good,” explained Roczen. “The track got super, super gnarly. It was rough already in the first moto. Even in practice it was rough. I had some struggles in the first moto and didn’t have a good start. I had so much dirt in my goggles after the first couple of corners, and the dirt was so wet, that I had to ride with a glare the whole time. I ran out of tear-offs at one point, so that wasn’t so great. I was behind Barcia for awhile. I was faster than he was but it took me a long time to make the pass. I made a bunch of passes toward the end (of the moto) and that gave me a bunch of points. We finished that race in third so that was alright.
“Going into the second moto, I got a lot better start. I think I was fourth or fifth. Made some passes really early and got myself to the front. I found some clear track and rode my race. The track was really gnarly so there was no room for mistakes. I finished that one in first and it was really important for me to finish off the season that way. The last three races have been really good for me. Finishing off strong was a big point. Especially, getting second in the championship. That was huge. We’re going to fight back next year, definitely, for a championship.”
While Tickle’s day didn’t go exactly according to plan, the rider of the No. 20 RM-Z450 was pleased with his overall effort. After being sidelined for the entire 2014 Pro Motocross season with a well-documented back injury, the 25-year-old veteran came away from the final race of 2015 outdoor season with 15-4 finish and a smile on his face.
“I was excited to come to Indiana because I’d never raced there before,” explained Tickle. “The track looked great. It reminded me of Red Bud with the hills and the type of dirt but it was really rough. Overall, our day was awesome. First moto didn’t go as planned. I made a mistake on the first lap and crashed into the fence. Once I got going, I think I was 39th after the first lap. I was like 10 or 15 seconds back and just had to do some damage control so I could catch back up. I ended 15th in the first moto.
“I was pumped for the second moto so I could finish the season on a good note. We made some changes to the bike because these were the biggest bumps we’d seen all year. We had to adjust for that and it paid off. I felt really good for the second moto. I didn’t get a great jump on the first start but we got another shot at it because they red flagged it after (Kyle) Chisholm crashed. Second start, I came out sixth or seventh and made some good passes. I had some really good lines. I’m glad we ended on a good note. I’m bummed I didn’t get fifth in the points but it was a solid year to come back from my injury.”
Earlier in the day, race fans were treated to a quick trip back in time as RCH team co-owner Ricky Carmichael, along with 11 other former champions, race winners and fan favorites competed in the inaugural Legends Race. By the end of the first lap, Carmichael was out front for good. Still, the 10-time Pro Motocross Champion was quick to point out that it was anything but an easy win.
“K-Dub (Kevin Windham) and I had a plan,” commented Carmichael following the event. “We came here kind of half-cocked. We’ve been retired for a long time. All I really cared about was the fans. If the fans had a good time, then I’m content. Our plan didn’t work out exactly like it was supposed to, but the guys behind us were coming. It was a lot of fun. We had to ride a good pace because those guys were coming.”
After practically eight months straight of competing at the highest levels of both Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and Monster Energy Supercross, both Roczen and Tickle are looking forward to some downtime.
“I’ve got a bunch of stuff to repair on my body,” said Roczen. “I’m having back surgery. I’m not planning a bunch of stuff. I think I’m going to Germany at some point. I haven’t been there in two years. I’ll probably just do a bunch of things randomly. I think I’m going to Destin (Fla.) in October with my girlfriend, her family and a bunch of people. My vacation will be going to Germany to see some old friends and family and do a bunch of things there.”
“Next weekend we’re racing in the Edge of Summer race at Soaring Eagle,” added Tickle. “I think it’ll be good. There will be a bunch of up-and-coming kids who haven’t turned pro yet. I’m looking forward to it because it’s something different and it’ll be fun. After that, I’ll take a week-and-a-half off. Then we’ll start testing with the Japanese for the Monster Energy Cup. I’ll take some time off after the Monster Cup. I’m looking forward to relaxing a little bit.”