ANAHEIM, Calif. – The new-look Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki RM-Z 450 racing team had an evening of mixed results during Round 1 of the 2013 Monster Energy Supercross Series season Saturday at jammed-packed Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.
Former AMA Lites champion Broc Tickle (No. 20 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki RM-Z 450) was on pace for a top-10 finish when a mid-race mishap with two-time defending series champion Ryan Villopoto dropped the first-year RCH rider 10 positions and out of race contention. He finished 18th.
Tickle started 12th in the 20-lap Main Event. He broke inside the top 10 by Lap 5 and was racing bar-to-bar with Villopoto in a battle of Suzuki against Kawasaki when misfortune struck on Lap 8. The RCH rider found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and couldn’t avoid the havoc in front of him.
“I didn’t see much until I got right up on him,” said Tickle. “He must have hit the tuff block when he landed because they were all across the track. I dodged one, dodged his bike but ran into Villo (Villopoto) and crashed. It’s a bummer for everyone on this No. 20 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki RM-Z 450 team. We’re outta here healthy and I’m looking forward to next week in Phoenix. We’re making positive progress.”
The Michigan native was solid throughout the event aboard the Tony Berluti-tuned Suzuki. He rode mid-pack in both afternoon practice sessions and finished sixth in his Heat Race for an automatic transfer to the Main Event. Tickle’s was impressive in his heat, rebounding after getting pinched in Turn 1 which dropped him five positions in the eight-lap race. He regained four spots over the final four laps on the ultra-fast Anaheim track.
“We had a really good day until the Main Event,” said Berluti. “Broc was running about 10th; he and (Ryan) Villopoto were battling hard for a few laps. Villopoto hit a tuff block and knocked it out of place and Broc had nowhere to go. It took Broc a few seconds to get back going. By then, he was all the way back in 20th. We ended up 18th.”
Teammate Josh Hill (No. 75 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki RM-Z 450) suffered his second-consecutive, season-opening disappointment after the Oregon native wobbled his Suzuki during the first qualifying practice, cross-rutting a portion of the rhythm section which sent him to the dirt.
Hill’s head-banging tumble forced the second-year RCH rider to sit out the remaining event schedule. He was evaluated by medical personnel for precautionary reasons. Hill suffered a broken left leg at last year’s season opener which sidelined him for the majority of the season.