RCH Suzuki Factory Racing’s Brock Tickle matched his career-best finish with fourth position in Saturday’s Monster Energy AMA/ FIM World Supercross ninth round in Atlanta as team-mate Ken Roczen suffered, but persevered with an ankle injury to finish eighth.
RCH Soaring Eagle/ Jimmy Johns/ Suzuki Factory Racing’s Tickle continued forward-progress since being side-lined for one race following an ugly crash in Oakland just over a month ago: Tickle finished fifth in his heat Saturday night but went on to pick-up his second Semi Final win of the year. His solid showing in the Main proved the Semi was no fluke and the Holly, Michigan rider remains 10th in the 450SX Championship standings and now trials ninth-place Andrew Short by a slim four-point margin.
“Like I said after last weekend, Atlanta just has good vibes for me,” explained Tickle. “It felt like I was almost riding effortlessly. The track was coming to me really easily. I knew I just needed to have a good flow and ride smart. That’s what my mechanic Ritchie (Matchett) and I worked on all week. We focused on not clipping things and riding clean. I think that helped me on Saturday. That’s why I was good in practice and in the Main Event. Towards the end, I tightened up a little bit because the track started getting blown out so I just tried to clean everything up and push through the last five or six laps. We’ve built some great momentum over the last two weeks. We’re in a good place. It feels good.”
On the flip side, Roczen fought his way through an ankle injury to finish eighth, but continued concern about his ankle sent the 2014 outdoor champion for an MRI Monday morning. Roczen suffered a pair of incidents two weeks ago at the Georgia Dome, and he aggravated the same ankle during Saturday’s final qualifying session. Still, the 20-year-old German powered through the pain to notch a respectable eighth-place finish.
Roczen is still third in the standings but now trails second-place Trey Canard by 13 points and leader Ryan Dungey by 43.
“Obviously our night didn’t go as planned,” commented Roczen. “There are some things that I have to figure out. I have to get an MRI on my ankle this week so we know what we have to do, pushing forward. We need to figure-out if I can keep riding and keep training or if it’s better to take some time off and let it heal. It wasn’t that great-of-a night. We’ll figure it-out and be back as strong as ever.”
While both of his riders finished in the top 10, RCH co-owner Carey Hart knows plenty of work remains to be done. Hart was obviously pleased with Tickle’s performance but, at the same time, perplexed with Roczen’s last two outings.
“It couldn’t have been a much better night for Broc,” said Hart. “He rode really strong all day long. He’s been putting in the work and it’s showing. I couldn’t be happier for him. At the same time, it’s been a tough couple of weeks for Ken. We spent a lot of time together after the race, trying to figure-out how to get that program back on track. I think we know what we need to do to get him back in the same frame of mind that he had at the beginning of the season. We’re going to hit the reset button this week and go from there but first things first. He needs to get his ankle checked out. After that, we’ll have a better idea where we’re at.”
Atlanta II 450 Supercross Results: 1. Ryan Dungey (KTM), 2. Eli Tomac (Honda), 3. Trey Canard (Honda), 4. Broc Tickle (RCH Suzuki), 5. Blake Baggett (Yoshimura Suzuki), 6. Josh Grant (Kawasaki), 7. Chad Reed (Kawasaki), 8. Ken Roczen (RCH Suzuki), 9. Jason Anderson (Husqvarna), 10. Weston Peick (Yamaha).