Racer X: Let’s start at the beginning of the year. You were riding pretty well, but we didn’t get to see much because on Press Day for Anaheim I, you broke your jaw when you cased a triple harder than basically anyone in history. What happened? Broc Tickle: Basically, I broke my jaw, and they told me that it was as bad as it possibly could’ve been. And that wasn’t the only thing. There was also an infection that held me back another month, probably. It could’ve been a lot better. I shattered my jaw in three places, and I got an infection, and that’s pretty much it.
Was the infection from the surgery?
Yeah. I’m not really sure how it happened, but it was from where they put the hardware – the plate and the screw – so...
Most racers have plates and screws on collarbones and wrists and stuff, and you have them in your face!
What was it like getting back on a bike again after spending that much time off? Were you unsure about how it would feel getting jostled around and stuff?
Yeah, you know, I didn’t know how it was going to feel, but actually the first day I rode supercross, I actually felt pretty good, considering I was out for like 10 or 11 weeks, I think. I didn’t feel that bad, so I’m surprised, big-time.
You looked fine when you finally showed up to race, but you had some issues with starts and falls and things. How hard was that to sort out?
I just hadn’t raced supercross in two years, and I guess coming back to supercross was a lot different for me. I don’t know, Ryno [Ryan Hughes, his trainer] has been helping me a lot with my conditioning, but I told him I needed help with the mental side, and he was telling me things to help me mentally, which helped a lot, obviously, because of what happened. I went 8-8-DNQ-3. To get on the podium, that’s a big deal.
When did you talk to Ryno about the mental side of it?
He just came to me and said, “You ride a lot better in practice than you do in the race, obviously, because when I see you practice, you could get on the podium easily.” That’s what he was telling me. So he said he needed to talk to me about what was going through my head, and that I needed to be focused on the race. He’s raced before, and he knows what goes through your head, so he was helping me clean it up a little bit. I was able to focus a lot better this past weekend than I could every other weekend.
That showed. You didn’t get flustered. You were out front, and even though those two guys got past you, you never looked behind you, or worried about anything other than what was in front of you.
Yeah, that’s what he was basically telling me – just to ride like I do in practice, and don’t think about anything. Just go out and have fun. He said I was putting too much pressure on myself trying to go out there and try too hard, and that’s basically what it was.
You grabbed a podium, and looking at the photos on the podium, you were by far the happiest guy up there, and Christophe Pourcel won the race and the title!
I was so excited! That’s what I’ve been working for ever since I turned pro. That’s been my goal last year and the year before, but it finally happened! I couldn’t believe it! It doesn’t feel like I was on the podium this weekend, you know what I mean?
So it hasn’t really sunk in yet...
Not really. I guess not.
It’s good to know you can do it now, though, right?
I really thought I rode like crap in the main event! I know everybody might not believe that, but I felt like I was riding so tight and nervous, but I think I handled it the right way.
Was it the track?
I don’t know. That’s my kind of track, with the ruts and all that other stuff...
Yeah, that’s true, because when I talked to you between practices, you said you liked it, while everyone else I talked to seemed to hate it...
I was just going out there and having fun – doing what I do in practice. I didn’t put any pressure on myself – no expectations – and I just went out there and did the best that I could. That’s what Ryno was getting at.
Now that you’ve gotten a podium, do your goals change?
Well, I know that I can ride a lot better than I did last weekend. I know I can ride a lot better than I did in the main, so I’m just going to see wherever that takes me. Now, whenever I get a good start, I’m not going to freak out. Really, I’ve never gotten a holeshot, ever, in my pro career, so that holeshot was kind of like, “Whoa! I got the holeshot.” Then, halfway through the race, I started making little mistakes and stuff, but I think this time I’ll be a lot more relaxed, and we’ll see where that takes me.
Going into that first turn with the holeshot, what was going through your head right then? That must’ve seemed like slow-motion to you...
I was like, “I finally did it! This is all I needed!” I just took it lap by lap. I wasn’t thinking about the end of the race, I was just making sure I was staying up on two wheels – that was the main thing. I didn’t want to go out there, get the holeshot and then fall down or something like that.
Did ending up on TV on the Price Is Right help at all?
No, not at all. I really don’t like being in front of a lot of people like that.
Funny you say that, because you picked a sport where you’re in front of 50,000 people every week...
Yeah, but I have a helmet on, so it hides me up a little bit. I’m really not comfortable in front of crowds. I’m a pretty quiet, private guy.
Who would you like to thank?
Division 7/Star Racing Yamaha, No Fear, Smith, Bell Helmets, Easton, Fox Shox, Vortex, Yamalube, Dunlop Tires, Ryno, my girlfriend Jessica, and everyone else that I forgot.