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MIXED FORTUNES FOR RCH SUZUKI AT ANAHEIM
Team Suzuki Press Office - January 6.
The new-look Dodge/ Sycuan Casino/ RCH Racing/ Bel-Ray/ Suzuki Racing Team had an evening of mixed results at the opening round of the 2013 Monster Energy Supercross Series season on Saturday at jammed-packed Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
Former AMA Lites Champion Broc Tickle was on the pace for a top-10 finish aboard his RM-Z450 when a mid-race mishap with two-time defending series champion Ryan Villopoto dropped the first-year RCH rider 10 positions and out of the race contention in 18th.
Tickle started 12th in the 20-lap Main Event. He broke inside the top 10 by lap five and was racing fork-to-fork with Villopoto when misfortune struck on the eighth lap when he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and couldn't avoid the havoc in front of him.
Said Tickle: "I didn't see much until I got right up on him. He must have hit the tuff block when he landed because they were all across the track. I dodged one, dodged his bike but ran into 'Villo' and crashed. It's a bummer for everyone on the team but we're 'outta here healthy and I'm looking forward to next week in Phoenix.
The Michigan native was solid throughout the event aboard the Tony Berluti-tuned Suzuki. He rode mid-pack in both afternoon practice sessions and finished sixth in his Heat Race for an automatic transfer to the Main Event. Tickle was impressive in his heat, rebounding after getting pinched in the first turn which dropped him five positions in the eight-lap race, but he regained four spots over the final four laps on the ultra-fast Anaheim track.
"We had a really good day until the Main Event," said Berluti. "Broc was running about 10th; he and Ryan Villopoto were battling hard for a few laps, then Villopoto hit a tuff block and knocked it out of place and Broc had nowhere to go. It took Broc a few seconds to get back going, but by then he was all the way back in 20th.
Team-mate Josh Hill suffered his second-consecutive, season-opening disappointment after the Oregon rider wobbled his Suzuki during the first qualifying practice, cross-rutting a portion of the rhythm section which sent him to the dirt.
Hill's head-banging tumble forced the second-year RCH rider to sit out the remaining event schedule and was evaluated by medical personnel for precautionary reasons. Hill suffered a broken left leg at last year's season opener which side-lined him for the majority of the season.
Said Hill's mechanic Shawn Bell: "Kind of a bummer. Josh had a little trouble when he cross-rutted coming through the rhythm section and put the bike down. He banged his head a little bit and we thought it was the best option to have him looked at and hold him out of the race.
"He was good in practice. We had high expectations coming into tonight and we got bit by a gremlin. We've waited for this all off season, it's been pretty gnarly getting ready for Anaheim and everyone was looking forward to tonight's race."
450 Supercross Main Event:
1. Davi Millsaps (Rockstar Energy Suzuki)
2. Trey Canard (Honda)
3. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
4. Chad Reed (Honda)
5. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki)
6. Andrew Short (Honda)
7. Justin Barcia (Honda)
8. James Stewart (Yoshimura Suzuki)
9. Justin Brayton (Yamaha)
10. Kevin Windham (Honda)
18. Broc Tickle (RCH Suzuki)
Championship Points (after 1 round):
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