Roczen and RCH Racing is flying high with second checkered flag of the season
Joseph V. Sowmick - January 23, 2015
The 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season finds Ken Roczen and the RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing team flying high in Anaheim, Cal. as Roczen took his second checkered flag after three races on Jan. 17. The win was Roczen’s second of the season and third career at Angel Stadium.
Despite Roczen’s first- and second-place finishes, respectively, in the first two races, the 20-year-old 450SX sophomore standout was cautiously optimistic before the gate dropped on the third main event of the year.
“My day started out a little bit rusty,” commented Roczen, who is undefeated at Anaheim this season. “The track was really special and not easy to ride. I knew, going into the track walk, not to get stressed about the first or second practice. The track really came around in the main. It was pretty tricky. We had some ruts out there and it was a big track with long lap times. That definitely made it interesting. We got good starts when we needed them, and I think everyone can see that my Suzuki RM-Z450 works awesome. We had a great heat race so I was very confident going into the main. I didn’t get the holeshot but I was still near the front after the start and that was all I really needed.”
Roczen was second fastest in both of Saturday’s qualifying sessions and, coincidentally, finished second to Ryan Dungey in the first 450SX heat race of the program. The solid effort in his heat guaranteed the German rider a spot at the starting gate for the main event. Jimmy Albertson won the holeshot but it took Roczen less than a lap to pass Albertston, Davi Millsaps and, ultimately, Andrew Short for the top spot. From there it was all Roczen, all night, where he led all 20 laps en route to the fourth big-bike win of his young career.
“Shorty (Andrew Short) is a hard guy to pass,” said Roczen, who extended his point lead to 12. “I didn’t really want to get tangled up behind him so I had to make the move. After that, I needed to ride smart but stay focused on intensity because everyone was really fast. My bike worked awesome. It felt great and that’s all that matters. We put in a few strong laps but I couldn’t rest because Ryan (Dungey) got a bit closer sometimes during the race. Overall, it was a really good night. It was good to fight back after last weekend. We’ll keep going and hopefully, just inch away with the points lead. As long as we’re winning, we’re good.”
Fellow RCH Racing team member Broc Tickle posted a respectful fifth place finish in the competitive field of 22 450 SX riders in the Monster Energy Supercross event. Tickle’s fifth-place finish was his best effort of 2015, less than a year removed from a potentially career-ending injury he suffered last March in Toronto.
Tickle had a solid weekend overall. The Holly, Mich., rider was solid on his Suzuki in both of the weekend’s qualifying sessions but a sixth-place finish in his heat race forced Tickle to race his way through the first 450SX semifinal of the night.
“Everything went pretty good,” explained Tickle after Round 3. “The semi set the tone for the night. Honestly, I haven’t gotten a holeshot in a couple of years. And winning the semi was important. All that confidence carried over into the main. All I did was go out there, try to ride 20 solid laps and it paid off. There was a lot of carnage midway through the race so I just tried to keep my pace going and look forward. (Justin) Barcia was close to me and I knew if I stayed close to him that I would leave a gap behind me. That was my goal and that’s kind of what happened. (Cole) Seely started catching me at the end but I still had some left in the tank, so I opened it up a little bit and gapped him just enough where I could cruise the last couple of laps. It was an awesome main event. It gives me goose bumps getting off the bike after a finish like that. I really appreciate everyone who stuck with me after the injury last year.”
RCH co-owner Carey Hart was on hand in Anaheim when the dust settled and was obviously proud of both his riders.
“The whole night is really bittersweet,” said Hart. “With Ken getting the win and to see Broc come back and finish fifth after the year he had last year is just awesome. I’m not sure who I’m happier for.”
RCH co-owner and AMA Supercross legend Ricky Carmichael is a regular guest on Fox Sports 1 network that broadcasts the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season and the exposure highlights the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort to a national and international television audience.
“When I look back at RCH and the progress the team has made, it’s very humbling. When Cary and I first talked about the idea, the best thing we did was make a plan. We knew that it would take two years to get everything pointed in the right direction and be year three, we’d have a shot at contending for a championship,” Carmichael explains. “Now, we have a championship caliber rider with Ken and feel like Broc is going to be racing for podiums all season, too. It’s worked out better than what I anticipated. Everything is set. We’ve got great riders, great sponsors and a great team … we’re ready!”
The 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season continues with a Feb. 7 race at PETCO Park in San Diego followed by a Feb. 14 run at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. The series then moves to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Feb. 21 and 28 for a southern stop before racing to Daytona International Speedway on Mar. 7. All weekend events are broadcast live on Fox Sports 1.