While visiting the Joe Gibbs Racing/Yoshimura Factory Suzuki Racing test track in North Carolina this week, Racer X saw Broc Tickle logging laps on the team's RM-Z450. Tickle, the 2011 250SX Western Regional Champion, is slated to return to racing at the Tampa Supercross on February 15. Tickle spent the off-season putting together his own privateer effort on Husqvarnas, with support from AEO Powersports.
JGR and Suzuki are in need of a 450 rider with both Joey Savatgy and Fredrik Noren out with injuries. We've reached out to the team regarding Tickle and they could only confirm that they have been testing with him, but nothing has been signed. Tickle told us he felt comfortable on the Suzuki after spending many years on an RM-Z450 with the RCH Suzuki team. No word from either side on when or if this deal might become official, however.
Tickle last raced at the Seattle Supercross on April 7, 2018. The following week, he was notified by the FIM that he had been provisionally suspended from competition following an adverse finding of 5-methylhexan-2-amine, a specified substance under Section 6 (Stimulants) of the 2018 FIM Prohibited List, in a urine sample collected from him at the San Diego supercross on February 10, 2018. The Red Bull KTM team parted ways with him on May 15, 2018. Tickle then spent a lengthy time in limbo waiting for information on when he would be eligible to return. He was finally notified in May of 2019, more than a year after he was told he failed the test, that his suspension would last two years from the date of his original test. That makes him eligible to return on February 10. The Tampa event on February 15th is the closest race to that date.
Tickle explained during his suspension that he feels 99% of the comments he has heard from fans has been positive. He could provide a shot in the arm for a team that won’t even compete in the 450 class this weekend in Oakland, California.