RCH Suzuki Factory Racing riders Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle endured a night of mixed fortunes at the weekend’s Monster Energy AMA/ FIM World Supercross at Georgia Dome in Atlanta as Roczen suffered two crashes and Tickle fought for a hard-earned sixth position in the 450 Main Event.
RCH Soaring Eagle/ Jimmy Johns/ Suzuki Factory Racing rider Tickle turned-in a solid overall performance by winning his semi-final then raced to an impressive sixth-place finish in the Main aboard his RM-Z450. Team-mate Roczen, however endured a pair of cringe-worthy incidents over the course of the day to finish 18th in the Main.
Said Tickle: “I’m always stoked to race in Atlanta. Last year I set a good tone for myself and I always seem to have a good vibe when we race in the Georgia Dome. I just wanted to have a good weekend. We went through practice and it was OK and my semi, I just kind-of pulled it together. I got my flow down and put some good, solid laps together. That gave me some confidence.
“I worked on my starts last week but I didn’t have it for the Main. My start ruined me. I think I could have been a little better, results-wise, with a better start. Overall though, I’m pretty pumped with my finish. I think I was 11th or 12th after the start and passed my way all the way up to sixth. I think that’s the best I rode all year so I’m stoked about that. My bike was working really, really good. I’m going to go down to Kenny’s (Roczen) farm this week and plan to work on my starts some more. I’ll work on more of what I practiced last week and see if I can improve.”
Roczen, however, was flung-off his bike on two separate occasions - once in qualifying and then again later in the night during the Main – but fortunately, the 20-year-old escaped serious injury, but the disappointing result cost him one position in the championship standings: Roczen slipped from second to third in the points and now trails second-placed Trey Canard by six with nine races remaining on the 2015 Supercross calendar.
Said Roczen: “The whole night, actually the whole day, was kind of gnarly. I felt like we had the bike figured-out pretty good. In the Main, my bike worked really good and I feel like I could have made up a lot of ground. I went in the whoops and caught one of the tough blocks somehow. It wasn’t a problem with the bike or anything like that. Obviously, I just made a mistake. It just happened.
“The automatic thing, when you tuck the front end, or have a problem like I did, you end-up holding it wide open because you’re almost crashing. I just ‘whiskey-throttled’ and crashed really hard. I got lucky that I didn’t get hurt. After that, the handlebars on the bike were bent really bad so it was hard to really do much after that. There’s no give-up in this team. I’m really lucky that I didn’t get hurt and still picked-up three points. It could have been a lot worse.”
RCH co-owner Carey Hart was on hand in Atlanta and kept things in perspective. A veteran of not only Supercross but Freestyle Motocross as well, Hart knows sometimes you have to take the good with the bad that comes with competing at a high level.
“Our night was good and bad,” explained Hart. “Broc had a great night and rode really, really solid. He fought all the way to the end and ended up sixth. Ken just had a rough day. Things just kind of started to crumble when he had that nasty get-off in the second timed practice. Maybe he just didn’t rebound. Still plenty of season in front of us so we’ll get back after it next weekend.”
Monster Energy Supercross returns to the Georgia Dome this weekend for an encore performance in ‘The Big Peach.’
Atlanta 450 Supercross Results: 1. Chad Reed (Kawasaki), 2. Ryan Dungey (KTM), 3. Trey Canard (Honda), 4. Cole Seely (Honda), 5. Weston Peick (Yamaha), 6. Broc Tickle (RCH Suzuki), 7. Jason Anderson (Husqvarna), 8. Blake Baggett (Yoshimura Suzuki), 9. Andrew Short (KTM), 10. Josh Grant (Kawasaki). 18 Ken Roczen (RCH Suzuki).