BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (Saturday, June 1, 2013)
Broc Tickle scored his first top-10 finish of the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship with a 10th-place finish Saturday afternoon in the Tennessee National at Muddy Creek Raceway.
Tickle finished 13th in Moto 1 and was 11th in the second. Consistency paid dividends, giving him a finish of 10th overall.
“In the first moto, I got off to a better start than I did at the first two races this year,” Tickle said. “Getting up there with that group of guys was good but we’re all really close, so it’s hard to make moves to get around them. The track was kind of tight today. It was a decent finish, but I feel like I should have been in the top 10.
“I got tangled up in the first corner in the second moto, but I came out alright as some guys went down next to me. From there, I tried to be smooth and smart with my lines. I used the entire track trying to stay out of the ruts and away from the bumps. I thought I was going to get (Andrew) Short there at the end for a top 10.
Tickle climbed two positions in the rider standings, moving up to 11th place, two points behind 10th-place Ryan Sipes and two ahead of 12th-place Kevin Strijbos.
The day got off to a good start for Tickle with two solid practice sessions on Saturday morning. The results of those two sessions gave him the ninth-place starting position for Moto 1.
“The first practice went really well,” Tickle said. “I was sixth and felt I left some on the table. The second practice, we made some changes to the bike and I think I was trying a little too hard to go fast. I had about the same times in the first and second practice. We transferred in ninth, the best weekend I’ve had so far.”
The event was the first AMA Motocross event held in the southeastern United States since 1997 and the first motocross in the Volunteer state since the series visited Nashville in 1977. Muddy Creek Raceway was chosen in large part because of its natural-terrain motocross course with great dirt and a long history of hosting quality events.
Ricky Carmichael, RCH Racing co-owner, raced at Muddy Creek early in his career and was impressed by the event, especially the attendance.
“To see this facility get an outdoor national says a lot for Sam Gammon, the promoter,” Carmichael said. “He’s done a fantastic job. This is a really good market for the sport. It’s going to be a good event for the fans, the sponsors and the sport. At the end of the day, that’s what it is about. We have beautiful weather and look at the crowd, this place is packed. It’s great to come back to this place and see all the people.”
Ryan Villopoto was the easy winner in Moto 1 to remain unbeaten in the outdoor season but the streak ended at five when Ryan Dungey claimed Moto 2 to emerge as the overall winner of the event. Justin Barcia finished second in both motos.
Villopoto remains the leader in the season standings with a 10-point advantage over Dungey.
The 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa., for Round 4 next Saturday afternoon.
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (Saturday, May 25, 2013)
Broc Tickle overcame a chaotic start in the first moto Saturday afternoon to score a respectable 15th-place finish overall at the Thunder Valley National, the second event of the 2013 Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship season.
Tickle started 10th in the timed 20-minute plus two-lap Moto1. The RCH Racing rider made contact with another competitor shortly after the start of the race. By the time he recovered, Tickle had fallen back to 30th in the running order. The Michigan native rebounded nicely, working his way through traffic to finish 14th at the checkered flag,
“Chad Reed washed out in front of me,” said Tickle. “I ran over his bike, lost control and fell over. That was a bit of a bummer but you know when you crash in the first corner, it gives you that extra little bump to push it that much further. I think that’s what helped me to get up to 14th
Tickle scored a 15th-place finish in Moto 2 and was credited with 15th in the overall finish order. He never found his rhythm in the second race. With the finish, he’s 14th in the series championship standings, five points behind 10th-place Andrew Short.
“The second moto, we never really got going, Tickle said. “It took me too long to actually get going. The first couple of laps, I just didn’t make stuff happen whenever everybody was close. After five or six laps, everybody spread out and that’s how long I waited until I actually got on it. With that being said, it’s a bit of a bummer. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing. I know I’m working hard and I know the team is working hard. It’s frustrating but it’s bitter-sweet once you turn things around.”
Riders were greeted with Chamber of Commerce weather with temperatures in the low 80s. But according to Tickle, track conditions were another matter entirely.
“It was pretty rough out there today,” he said. “They laid sand on top of the corners and in a bunch of places. It was kind of difficult because it was sandy in some spots and rutted in others. It was kind of tough to get your bike set up exactly for what we were racing on. You had to kind of pick and choose and decide which way you wanted to go.”
The 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to Bristol, Tenn., for Round 3 tomorrow afternoon.
May 22nd, 2013 – Corona, California
Round 5 & 6 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series filled Lake Elsinore, California with a wave of action that thrilled fans at the Rockstar Energy So-Cal Nationals. The event was hosted on a 1.1 mile short course featuring high tech off road vehicles racing door-to-door over big air jumps, huge tabletop launchers, tight banked turns, precarious rhythm obstacles, and high speed straight-a-ways. Premiere Motorsports Group took on the competitive task to advance the race teams position in overall standings and support the sponsors like Lunarpages who wish to gain favor with the fans of off road racing. It was a true spectacle and the many spectators in attendance were thrilled with the show.
The aggressive nature of short course motorsports can often lead to unpredictable scenarios that will have onlookers saying “What the heck just happened?” or “Did you see that!” Crashes, hard landings, and contact between racers will leave vehicles crippled or broken and at some point relegated to a pile of parts. It is just as hard on the drivers and crew as it is on the equipment. Those who are stronger and quicker to heal will finish first and ahead of the pack.
The Hart and Huntington Off Road Team had assembled a well prepared team of expert drivers and finely tuned race machines for the weekend, but after the destructive chaos and hard racing from Round 5, Sunday’s Round 6 event would be as difficult as ever.
Ryan Beat turned out some of the fastest laps throughout the weekend in the #51 Lunarpages ProLite. When it came to actual competition, Ryan drove hard and on the edge as usual. However, with several recent penalties fresh on his record, Beat chose to drive with a clean margin of caution while a few other “new” racers challenged the spirit and took advantage. The Lunarpages Sycuan Casino Dodge took a beating during the event and was just nudged off the podium. Ryan was able to hang on to the 4th place finish.
Back in the pits the crew carefully inspected the vehicle and began the meticulous preparation to bring the V8 ProLite back to life for Round 6. Unfortunately, from the start of that event it became apparent that the #51 truck was substantially low on power and could not keep pace with the rest of the field. Ryan kept clear of race traffic and motored the truck around the track to collect any available points.
In the PRO-2 Division, the field is full of comparative off road short course experts. Simply put the best of the best racing side by side in high-tech 900HP screaming 2 wheel drive trucks. The PRO-2s are the headline event of each round and Robert Naughton, a true racers racer, loves the challenge of competing against the best.
“We come to these races and pour out every ounce of our heart and soul to put forth our best effort,” asserted Naughton. “The only problem is that many in the pits have done the same, making for heavy competition.” PRO-2 is stacked with talent and anyone entered could take the win. To beat the past champions, you have to have a championship program running hot while others have a bad day or just get caught up in the carnage.
Premiere Motorsports Group did all they could to improve the speed and handling of the Lunarpages PRO-2 machine. As the weekend played out, Naughton was able to match the pace of the leaders and was just off a bit on top speed. Starting mid-pack out of 19 entries, 10th on Saturday & 11th on Sunday, Robert took the green flag and immediately began to pass the trucks and within 5 laps had raced up to challenge in the top half. For Round 5, Naughton and the #54 Lunarpages pretty much secured his position and went onto finish 6th.
Sunday, Round 6 was a different story, as it was the final event of the weekend. All the PRO-2 competitors were going for broke and leaving nothing left on the table. It was an incredible show for anyone watching with back and forth racing all over the circuit and at every corner of the track. On Lap 6, Robert laid the peddle down and maneuvered the Lunarpages machine passing 4 trucks during 1 transit of the course. On Lap 10, a 3-way battle between Naughton, Greg Adler, Rodrigo Ampudia ensued but it was Jeremy Mcgrath who altered the momentum and left the #54 machine caught up in Turn#2 and falling way back. From this point on, Robert threw all caution out the window to desperately make up the lost positions. There were just not enough laps left, and Naughton crossed the finish in 9th place.
By the end of the race weekend, most fans onsite had become well aware of Lunarpages Internet Solutions; Team Partner to Premiere Motorsports Group and Lucas Oil Off Road Series Supporter. The on-track performances by Lunarpages Team Driver’s Ryan Beat and Robert Naughton spear-headed the excitement for the company while the branding opportunities were supported by track signage, and jumbo-tron commercial spots.
Off the track, Lunarpages had established an interactive booth display which allowed fans to sign up for General Tire sweepstakes contest and win other cool prizes including their image simulated on one of the Lunarpages Team Trucks. One lucky guest received a special edition Lunarpages Team Associated SC-10RS signed by Robert Nauhgton and Ryan Beat while other fans were able to get their posters autographed during the designated sessions throughout the event.
Short Course Off Road Motorsports has rapidly become an appealing and successful platform of entertainment that presents action packed excitement for all involved. Racers live for it, Companies are quick to sign on as a supporter, and the fans love the excitement.
The next event for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series will be take place June 21-23 at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. You can expect to see a Premiere Motorsports Group convoy rolling up there to fight their way to victory.
May 14th, 2013
Hart and Huntington Rider Update –
Lance Coury and Mike Mason will compete in Barcelona, Spain, for the second stop of Global X Games from May 16th – 20th. Lance Coury is fresh off a Gold Medal performance at X Games Brazil, and is hoping to repeat that success in Barcelona. “I had a great time winning gold at X Games Brazil and I look forward to competing again at X Games in Spain!” said Coury.
Lance may be a newcomer on the X Games scene, but he is no stranger to the Hart and Huntington team or the motocross world. He has been part of the Hart and Huntington team for over 4 years now, first riding for Hart and Huntington clothing, and now under the RCH Racing tent riding a Dodge/Hart and Huntington/Sycuan/Suzuki as well.
“We are really excited and proud of Lance for bringing home a gold medal for the Hart and Huntington team while competing in Brazil as a rookie. This is a true testament to all of Lance’s mental and physical dedication and training efforts in his private facility in Wyvern, Ca. Lance will be tough to beat in the upcoming Speed and Style event in Barcelona, and we’re expecting some additional hardware to come home with him May 17th!” commented Josh Merrell from Hart and Huntington.
Unlike Coury, Mason is no stranger to the X Games circuit. He won a gold in this event Last year in LA and a silver medal in 2011 and has had a total of six top-5 finishes since 2006. After a year hiatus, Mason has rejoined the team for 2013. “I’m pumped to be back on the Hart and Huntington crew. These guys have been like family to me for the past 7 years and I now realize this is where I belong. We got a good group of kids on board to make the FMX team as strong as it has ever been. I’m really excited for this next year to do my thing and hopefully bring the H&H crew a gold at X games, as well as keep building this program and get the H&H name out to as many markets as we can and make this thing grow more than it already has!”
The action gets under way in Barcelona on May 16th, with Speed and Style scheduled Friday May 17th. Team owner Carey Hart is “Really excited that two of our athletes are going to be battling for the gold medal in Barcelona. I hope both of them come home with medals at the end of the event.”
Through three seasons in the Camping World Truck Series, Ricky Carmichael didn’t approach the sterling results he posted in a career many consider the greatest in motorbike history.
But off the track, the NASCAR foray in 2009-11 might have yielded an intangible benefit: Business savvy.
After watching how stock-car teams pay the bills through creative sponsorships, Carmichael is applying those lessons to his second career as a team owner in motocross, which has been slower to adopt NASCAR’s team economic model after being fueled by money from manufacturers for years.
“After being on both sides of the fence and learning the NASCAR program, I knew this was the way motocross and Supercross were probably going to go,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “I’m thankful I learned so much in NASCAR, and I’m trying to bring that mentality over to the two-wheel side.”
Carmichael, who won a record 15 championships (10 in motocross; five in Supercross), became a partner last October in RCH Racing, which was founded by freestyle motocross pioneer and entrepreneur Carey Hart. After finishing ninth in the Supercross standings with rider Broc Tickle, the team will begin its Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship campaign Saturday in Sacramento, Calif.
Though expectations of results in the 12-round series are modest — Tickle won’t have a teammate until next year — the team still will be distinctive if it doesn’t improve on last season’s fifth-place points finish.
In its third season of sponsorship from Chrysler (its Ram truck brand will sponsor the outdoor season after the Dodge Dart was promoted during Supercross), RCH is proving it’s possible to be a viable organization without being tied solely to money from factories — such as Kawasaki, Honda and Yahama — that are endemic to the sport.
While Carmichael brokered a sponsorship deal with Suzuki that brings critical technology and R&D to the team, RCH remains primarily funded by non-racing sponsors (including Syucan Casino). It’s a necessary arrangement with motorbike sales down since the economic downturn, and the manufacturers less inclined to shell out cash as during Carmichael’s era when the factories paid the entire freight. It costs about $5 million annually to fund a championship rider for a full year of Supercross and motocross.
“Now they can’t sustain that kind of business anymore,” Carmichael said. “(The support) is coming back, but it’s nothing like when I was racing.
“Suzuki thinks our program is the way motocross and Supercross are going. This is the future. I think we can get the same amount of return and results for them for substantially less. We have the best program for pure marketing, and we have a great race program as well.”
While Carmichael handles the competition side of the team, the business side is handled by Hart. The husband of entertainer Pink has been a successful businessman in launching tattoo franchises and a reality TV program, and he sees plenty of marketing potential for sponsors in racing motorbikes.
“What’s really strong with Supercross, looking at it as an underdog. NASCAR is a much older demographic,” Hart told USA TODAY Sports. “The model of NASCAR is so strong, and it’s not getting soft, but people have educated themselves on those programs and now they’re looking at our footprint, too. I think Dodge did a great job of opening that door up as the first big corporate company to get involved with our team. Everyone is testing the waters now, and I think you’ll see a lot more in the future.”
According to demographics supplied by the series, 80% of motocross fans are in the coveted 18-35 age bracket, and its audience numbers are climbing as its exposure increases (after a record 11 Supercross events were live on Speed this year; all 12 motocross rounds in 2013 will be on live TV, starting Saturday on Fuel TV and also on NBC and NBC Sports Network).
In 2013, Supercross averaged a record crowd of 49,911, and its attendance is up 12% since 2000. Last season, motocross averaged 20,750 fans (up for the fourth consecutive year and 5.3% from ’11) and 65,000 live streams per event (775,000 over the 12-event season, an increase of 64%).
Though those numbers still are dwarfed by NASCAR’s fan base, Hart said motorbikes still allow for a more intimate level of access.
“When we’re getting 20,000-plus people per race coming through the pits, they’re having an opportunity to grab a poster, take a picture with Ricky’s motorcycle, or jump on our Suzuki simulator,” he said. “It’s very interactive and touch and feel.”
Hart is confident of re-signing Dodge to another three-year extension when its original deal expires after this season.
But he hopes to add more sponsors when the team expands to two riders in 2014 because “the sport isn’t getting any cheaper. Each year it gets more expensive. And these bigger (sponsors) are expecting more of a return on the investment. A big part of the business is the traction in the pits, and that consists of getting people’s information to really take advantage of (fans) being there to sell them product. You’re going to see more teams like ours.”
Sponsorship, though, also is driven by success, and Carmichael is focused on adding a marquee name for 2014 to pair with Tickle.
“Our sponsors have been in a while and want the winning results, and we’ve been recruiting since January,” Carmichael said. “We’re ready to do this.”
Part owner Ricky Carmichael and team riders Josh Hill and Broc Tickle start the week off with appearances and autograph signings while the RCH team gets the trailer and fan experiences ready for the weekend. Ricky offers a glimpse into his duties away from the team including helping to design the 2013 Monster Energy Cup track. Josh races well over the weekend finishing 8th overall and Broc finishes 10th. Although the guys would like to perform better, it’s the first time both riders have finished in the top 10 together.
In action sports, X Games is the one event that all freestyle motocross riders consider the holy grail of contests. It is the most coveted and exclusive event to be a part of. All year long, everything an FMX rider does is geared toward getting that invitation.
Typically, invitations to compete in a Moto X event at X Games are reserved for the sport’s most elite athletes — those who are pushing the boundaries of the sport — and the previous year’s winners (the gold, silver and bronze medalists from each previous X Games Moto X event are given automatic invites back to compete). Nevertheless, it’s not easy getting an invitation to compete at X Games. Some would go as far as to say that simply being invited to compete at X Games is an accomplishment in itself.
In the first several years that Moto X was included in the X Games, qualifying events, known as the X Trials, took place to determine who would compete. In the early 2000s, the X Games dropped the X Trials and focused on the main X Games events, prompting a switch to an invite-only process. All of a sudden, the stakes became a lot higher. Athletes no longer competed in qualifying events to acquire points that would lead to an X Games invite. But attaining an invite was not taken 100 percent out of the hands of the Moto X athlete. Athletes can still take certain avenues to ensure their inclusion in the X Games invite process.
X Games senior director of content strategy and sports and competition Tim Reed said performance and outside competition results play a hand in the decision process. “In terms of guys or girls breaking through, elite performance and competition results will always be the biggest factor in terms of selection,” Reed said. But it’s not X Games staff making the call.
“The invite selection process is managed through our sport organizers. The X Games rely on [the sport organizers] and their network of industry experts to ultimately make the invite decisions,” Reed said.
These experts, former athletes and industry insiders use their vast knowledge of the current FMX times to determine who gets an invite.
Paul Taublieb, who oversees the freestyle motocross events as sport organizer at X Games, said the event is not the place to come to prove one’s self.
“We look to see that [an athlete] has proven themselves in some other venue, because we think our event is the pinnacle of the sport,” said Taublieb. “It could be through other competitions, it could be through video or it can be a reputation the experts feel that this guy has established himself on some level where he should be part of the X Games.”
For aspiring FMXers seeking an invite, building a name in the sport is key. Some of the best, proven ways to get on the X Games committee’s radar include participating in FMX demos, filming video sections, freeriding with top riders and receiving general media exposure from the popular FMX Internet sites and magazines. Riding in FMX demos proves to the sport organizers that an athlete can perform when it’s go time in front of a crowd. X Games Foz do Iguaçu Moto X Step Up (a high jump on dirt bikes) gold medalist Bryce Hudson attests to the value of riding in demos.
“Demos help to build athlete credibility, because no one can really be thrown in on a big spotlight like that and be expected to perform. You’ve got to have some experience in showing that you can perform in front of a crowd,” said Hudson, who was also set to compete in Freestyle and Speed & Style before breaking his leg in a practice accident in Foz do Iguaçu.
Videos are a key part in building a rider’s name, by revealing their true bike skills. But the days of videos being a primary reason for an invitation are long gone. As FMX has evolved and grown, riders must have more than one trick in their repertoire. As in other careers, business is done and deals are made because of the connections someone makes. Freeriding is a perfect example of networking and maintaining contact with influential riders and industry people to build your credibility.
“Sometimes it’s based on someone’s freeriding or reputation that someone on the committee feels should be at X Games,” Taublieb said. “It’s a different process because there is no formal process.”
Having an agent or a manager pull for his or her athlete is also an added benefit. The last thing a rider wants to do is sit on the phone and sell himself or herself. Time is better spent riding. And this was the case for Hudson, 22. Not really having much of a name on which to sell himself, Hudson concentrated on building up his reputation on the Moto X scene. His agent, Dan McGranahan, took care of business behind the scenes. McGranahan helped to build up Hudson’s reputation as an athlete who would do well in the scope of X Games competition. Hudson’s persistent hard work on the bike, coupled with McGranahan’s behind-the-scenes efforts, ultimately paid off with X Games gold last month in Brazil. But there are other circumstances to consider.
What if someone is an all-around good FMX rider with a solid name and a proven track record in other events but still can’t manage to get an X Games invitation?
Lance Coury, 23, can identify. Coury was trying to get invited throughout his career as a Moto X Speed & Style (which combines freestyle with elements of Supercross racing) athlete. Three years ago, he was given an invite to compete at X Games in Los Angeles. But two weeks before the event, he dislocated his elbow and was forced to give up his invite to an alternate. It took Coury three years to regain the X Games invitation he had lost to injury.
“X Games is the top of our sport, the cream of the crop; I believe it is what every FMX rider wants to be [in], and every athlete in action sports for that matter,” Coury said. “And to want to be in it and not [make] it is hard because there are only so many spots they have available. And it’s a difficult task to get in because there are so many great athletes.”
Ultimately, Coury did receive an invitation to X Games Foz do Iguaçu in April. He took gold in the Moto X Speed & Style event and will return to defend it at X Games Barcelona. But he was forced to push hard for three years (riding 69 shows in 23 days last year, for example) before that opportunity presented itself again.The sport of freestyle motocross has only a small number of elite riders, yet many veterans are still competitive. This makes it difficult for riders to break through when just eight to 12 riders are in each of the four FMX disciplines at X Games. One to two spots created every year by guys who filter themselves out — either because of injury or retirement — are the toughest invites for which a global field of riders are competing.
Up-and-coming riders need to keep their game tight, practice tricks until they can be done instinctually on command and line up as many demos as possible to prove to promoters they are worthy of putting on a show. Riders need to make videos to get their names out there on the FMX radar screen. And most of all, the best way to ensure a rider gets an invite is to have something new. FMX is about progression and invention.
LAS VEGAS (Saturday, May 4, 2013)
The 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series concluded its 17-race season Saturday night in Las Vegas. Dodge/RCH Racing was led by Broc Tickle (No. 20 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki Z450) who finished 10th while teammate Josh Hill (No. 75 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki Z450) slowed late in the race and ended up 14th.
“A real physical ride tonight,” said Tickle after the Main Event. “The start was really tricky, the entire track was tough tonight. I felt pretty good in the Main. I was there with a group of guys and kind of lost them for a bit. I regrouped with them near the end of the race and brought home a 10th.”
Sam Boyd Stadium, home to the University of Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels, is known for its huge SX layouts and the season finale continued the tradition. Riders were challenged by the ultra-fast “Monster Alley” – a section with a sweeping left-hand turn that took riders outside the stadium and back into a long straightaway where speeds reached 60 mph. The highly-technical rhythm section and gnarly 180-degree turns added to the challenge. Riders willing to grab a handful of throttle were rewarded.
Hill and Tickle were among the eight fastest riders during the afternoon timed practice session which provided better gate selections for the Heat Races. Tickle was seeded fourth for Heat 1, Hill fifth in Heat 2.
Tickle raced as high as fifth in the eight-lap qualifier but a slip on Lap 4 dropped him to sixth were he finished to earn his 17th consecutive Main Event start this season.
“I felt really solid on the bike,” Tickle added. “The track was really hard-packed and kind of tough to figure out for the Main. You had to focus on getting into a good rhythm and not make a mistake.”
Hill’s fate in Heat 2 was nearly disastrous. He jumped the start causing his front tire to lodge against the starting gate, pinning his Suzuki while the other 19 riders rode off into Turn 1. Despite the hiccup, Hill stormed back and gained 13 positions over the next seven laps to finish sixth and advance to the Main.
“Just a little too aggressive, Hill said. “I had a great gate selection and just tried to anticipate the gate drop.”
In the Main Event, gate selection and the race start were once again key factors in the outcome. Tickle overcame a sluggish start (14th after Lap 1) but quickly regained a fast race pace and was running 10th by Lap 10. He would advance no further over the final 10 laps.
“It was a solid run,” said Tickle. “We were able to move up to ninth in points.”
Hill got a fast start but got caught in slower traffic that inhibited his preferred racing line. As a result, he was shuffled back to 11th by midrace and fell three more positions after a late-race incident.
“I made a little mistake and fell back to 10th where Broc (Tickle) and I were banging handlebars a little bit,” Hill said. “Once he got around me, I was trying to pace myself and right around Lap 19 I crashed coming over the ski jump. My front tire felt like it went flat. It knifed out and I went sliding sideways like I was road racing. It just wasn’t a good race. It was miserable. I was trying so hard to get to the front that I just beat myself up.”
SX Series champion Ryan Villopoto earned his 10th Monster Energy AMA Supercross win of the season edging Ryan Dungey and Davi Millsaps. The three-time champion led the final 19 laps to win by 2.843-seconds.