RCH Suzuki Factory Racing riders Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle raced to second- and-fourth-place overall finishes in Saturday’s AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross True Value National at Thunder Valley Motocross Park in America.
RCH Soaring Eagle/ Jimmy John’s Tickle finished fifth in both 450 motos and ultimately left Thunder Valley fourth overall. At the same time, the Michigan rider made up significant real estate in the points and with nine races remaining on the 2015 outdoor calendar, Tickle is seventh, just four markers outside of sixth.
Roczen’s solid outing earned the German rider two spots in the Pro Motocross Championship standings where he now sits fourth. After starting the outdoor season with a debilitating back injury, leaving a question mark as to how he would fare throughout the gruelling summer season, the defending Pro Motocross Champion has performed admirably, making it clear that he has no intentions of being an also-ran in 2015.
The 21-year-old RM-Z450 rider turned in the second- and third-fastest times of Saturday morning’s qualifying sessions, affording him the second gate pick for the first 450 moto of the day.
Roczen was quick out of the gate and just missed the holeshot but it wouldn’t be long before the #1 Soaring Eagle/ Jimmy John’s/ Suzuki Factory Racing RM-Z450 would lead the way. He took over the top spot from former team-mate and current series leader Ryan Dungey before completing the first lap and maintained his position atop the leaderboard for the first three circuits.
Eli Tomac took over the point on Lap four and Roczen would eventually yield second to Dungey but he held his ground in third and when the chequered flag flew on 450 Moto 1, the #1 Suzuki rolled across the podium.
In Moto 2, Roczen was again the focal point after inheriting the lead when Tomac crashed hard just before halfway and couldn’t finish. He maintained the lead for the next seven laps but a flat front tyre caused Roczen to fall twice in the closing stages, leaving him second in the final moto of the day. Still, the three-two result was plenty good for a second-place overall finish.
“My day was actually a lot better,” offered Roczen following the race. “I struggled in the first moto big-time with bike set-up. We made a good change in the second one and that seemed a lot easier for me. I think you could tell by my riding, too. I had a flat with two laps to go so that’s why I went down twice. I was really bummed because that win should have been mine and it’s unfortunate. It is what it is. I’m happy to be on the podium. We’ll work on it from here. I’ll try to get stronger. It’s just good to be back in the hunt a little bit.”
For his part, Tickle was nothing short of rock-solid all afternoon. After getting less than an ideal jump out of the starting gate in both motos, he methodically made his way forward in both races and logged a pair of season-best fifth-place-finishes.
“Today was really, really good,” Tickle explained. “I was able to ride on Thursday for press day and I felt like it was good for me to get acclimated to the track and obviously, the altitude. I felt awesome. I felt like I was on rails and I showed that all the hard work that RCH is putting in testing with Ivan [Tedesco] is going in the right direction. It came really easy to me when the track got gnarly, and it was really gnarly for both motos. I’m stoked with the weekend. We went five-five and finished fourth overall. I just want to keep it going. I’m glad I bounced back from Glen Helen. Hopefully, we can turn in the same kind of performance next week at Muddy Creek.”
Thunder Valley 450 Motocross Results:
- 1. Ryan Dungey (2-1)
- 2. Ken Roczen – RCH Suzuki – (3-2)
- 3. Blake Baggett – Yoshimura Suzuki – (4-3)
- 4. Broc Tickle – RCH Suzuki – (5-5)
- 5. Cole Seely (8-4)
- 6. Justin Barcia (7-6)
- 7. Eli Tomac (1-33)
- 8. Christophe Pourcel (11-7)
- 9. Phil Nicoletti (10-9)
- 10. Justin Brayton (9-10)
450 Motocross Standings:
- 1. Ryan Dungey, 128
- 2. Eli Tomac, 125
- 3. Blake Baggett, 99
- 4. Ken Roczen, 93
- 5. Justin Barcia, 87
- 6. Weston Peick, 79
- 7. Broc Tickle, 75
- 8. Jason Anderson, 72
- 9. Christophe Pourcel, 72
- 10. Phil Nicoletti, 62