Team Suzuki Press Office - April 15.
Josh Hill earned his first heat race win of the season en-route to a second consecutive top-10 Main Event finish on Saturday night to lead RCH Racing at Round 14 of the Monster Energy AMA/ FIM World Supercross Series in Minneapolis.
A packed Hubert H. Humphrey Dome welcomed riders for the first time since 2008 on a chilly day in Minnesota: Riders and mechanics had to brave the outdoor working conditions that saw the ambient temperature drop into the 20's by time the gate dropped for the evening session.
Hill's comeback continues to be the 'feel-good' story inside the 450SX Class paddock as the defending event champion had his most-impressive ride aboard the Dodge/ Sycuan Casino/ RCH Racing/ Bel-Ray/ Suzuki RM-Z450 this season. He was sixth in both afternoon practice sessions to earn the third gate for his Heat. He used a slick manoeuvre early in the eight-lap qualifier to claim the lead and never looked back, leading all eight laps. And he edged Chad Reed by 1.131-seconds to secure RCH Racing its first qualifying race victory of the season.
Said Hill: "I was fourth after the gate dropped; a decent start for me. I set myself up where I could get one clean shot on those guys and I made a pass on all three. I was in the right place at the right time and took advantage of what was in front of me. Reed was coming fast but he made a small mistake and I was able to hold him off. It was cool. I got the jump on Ryan Villopoto and just pinched him off a bit. It was a solid ride. It was cool."
With the second gate selection for the Main Event, Hill was able to bang handlebars with the leaders early, riding as high as fourth on lap eight in the 20-lap Main Event until falling off the lead-pack pace in the second half of the race.
"It's been a long road," he added. "I'm getting closer to where I want to be; happy about the stepping-stone of the last few weeks. I still have years of work to do to get to where I want to be. A few good weekends, for sure, I'm going in the right direction. I've worked so hard to get to this point and it would be stupid to give up now. I'm just going to keep working as hard as I can and keep challenging the best riders in the world."
Team-mate Broc Tickle finished outside of the top 10 for the first time since round 11 in Toronto. He finished 13th, determined early as a pack of riders went down, blocking the racing line and slowing the pace. Tickle was 15th after the first lap, but managed to gain two positions over the final 19 laps.
"After the whoops section, some guys crashed and went down," said Tickle. "I had nowhere to go. By the time I could react, I just basically ran into the guys in front of me. There wasn't much I could do; three of us got together. I think it was Phil Nicoletti who went down; not quite sure. Just a tough deal." Minneapolis SX Image Gallery: CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS Minneapolis 450 Supercross Results:
1. Ryan Dungey (KTM), 2. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki), 3. Davi Millsaps (Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 4. Justin Barcia (Honda), 5. Chad Reed (Honda), 6. Andrew Short (Honda), 7. Trey Canard (Honda), 8. Josh Hill (RCH Racing Suzuki)
, 9. Justin Brayton (Yamaha), 10. Weston Peick (Suzuki). 13. Broc Tickle (RCH Racing Suzuki). 450 Supercross Standings
: CLICK HERE