Hill Set to Return in San Diego

February 7, 2013 10:55am

RCH Press Release

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – RCH Racing’s Josh Hill doesn’t hide the excitement when talking about his return to competition this weekend in Round 6 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

Hill missed most of the last two seasons due to injuries. He was dealt another setback in this year’s season opener at Anaheim five weeks ago when he sustained a fractured right hand in practice. The talented 28-year-old Oregon native has now been sidelined the last 39 SX Main Events.

That changes Saturday when Hill returns to the seat of the No. 75 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki RM-Z 450. Team owner and 15-time champion Ricky Carmichael is pleased his rider is healthy again and ready for competition.

“I’m excited to get Josh back on a bike, said Carmichael. “I know it’s been a long month for him. He had a fantastic off-season.

“When you get back on the track, it’s a great feeling because you have something to work for. You’re not just sitting there twiddling your thumbs at home and recovering. It’s almost like therapy for a rider.”

The upbeat Hill has used the last five weeks aggressively rehabbing his injured hand with various bone strengthening and traditional recovery techniques. Two days of practice on the bike this week will serve as a final tune-up for Saturday’s event.

"I may have some fatigue in the hand,” he said. “I think just being able to have that grip for the whole 20 laps might be the only issues. I hope that I don’t have to compensate anything to make sure that the hand will be OK for the whole 20 laps.

San Diego will be the perfect setting for Hill’s return. In his two previous starts at Qualcomm Stadium, he posted top-10 finishes including runner-up in 2010.

“I’ve always liked racing in San Diego,” said Hill. “The dirt is like the stuff that we practice on.  It should be a good race for me. I’d like to get a west coast race underneath my belt before we head east. Just to have that comfort level of riding on the same type of soil that I’ve been practicing on and have the bike setup for is cool.”

Teammate Brock Tickle (No. 20 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki RM-Z450) is looking to break into the top 10 in the 450SX Class point standings. Back-to-back finishes of eighth (Oakland) and ninth (Anaheim) have vaulted Tickle to within one point of 10th.

Timed qualifying and Heat Race finishes will be areas of focus this weekend. Through the first five rounds this season, Tickle has yet to have a Main Event start inside the top 10. His season best of 11th came last week at Anaheim.

Tickle looks to improve off his 18th-place finish in last year’s Main Event -- his first outing at Qualcomm Stadium.

“Our game plan won’t change much,” said Tickle. “We need to continue to work hard in practice to get a good gate selection for the Heat Race. We’ve been so-so in practice and I need to improve early in the day on track. I need to have a better start in the Heat Race. I haven’t had one all year. I want to have a good Heat Race and, hopefully, carry that over into the Main.”