RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s Suzuki Factory Racing is ready for the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship with Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle.
Coming off a season in which lead rider Ken Roczen enjoyed the best Monster Energy AMA Supercross season of his young career, RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s Suzuki Factory Racing is set to challenge for the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship with two riders, Roczen and Broc Tickle.
The 22-year-old Roczen, who scored five 450cc SX wins, 11 podium finishes and top fives, is the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Champion, and he is eager to regain the title that he lost to Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey in 2015. Lingering injuries hampered Roczen’s title defense early in the 2015 series, but he comes into this weekend’s series opener at Hangtown in Northern California fit, rested and ready.
“In 2015, we had a bunch of struggles,” Roczen said. “I was still dealing with an injury, and we were making a lot of changes to the bike. I feel like this year, we’re in a much better position and I’m really excited to finally kick off the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season. We’ve been riding supercross for quite a long time now, so it’s still new riding motocross again, but it makes it that much more fun. It’s refreshing after so many months of supercross to finally start the outdoor season. I’m really excited. I feel well rested going into the new season, and the points are back to zero. That gives us another chance at the title and I really think we can claim it. It’s going to take no mistakes and a lot of hard effort.”
Roczen has had good fortune at Hangtown, carding six podium finishes in eight motos, including back-to-back 250 and 450 1-1 finishes in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
“I’ve had pretty good results at Hangtown,” Roczen said. “I like the track, and I’ve had good success there, so it’s refreshing going into this weekend and knowing that it is a good track for me. I wouldn’t say I’m more of a motocross rider, but that’s what I’ve been doing longer, so any outdoor track is good for me. It’s good to go into this weekend, knowing I’ve done well there. It’s always a little bit of a stress reliever.”
After fielding three riders for the final six races of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, RCH will bid a fond farewell to Jake Weimer and focus on Roczen and Broc Tickle. After missing most of the supercross season recuperating from a wrist injury, Tickle said He, too, is looking forward to the start of the outdoor season.
“I came back from my wrist injury late in the supercross season to get on the gate,” Tickle said. “I think that was the best thing for me to do. To ride and prepare just for the [Lucas Oil] Pro Motocross season the whole time would have been okay, but I feel like being behind the gate is what I needed, too. Obviously, it was awesome to finish off the season with a sixth at Vegas. It was a good confidence builder.
In eight total starts at Hangtown, including MX Lites, 250cc and 450cc competition, Tickle has logged an 8.4 average overall finish, including one top five and 11 top 10s in 16 motos.
“I enjoy riding there,” Tickle said. “It’s not super, super fast. I feel like it takes some technique and some thinking on the rider’s part to go fast. Situations like that are where I normally shine. For me, Hangtown is always a good place to see where I’m at. It gets rough, and I enjoy that because it separates guys. I feel like everything is moving in the right direction to improve on last year. The weather looks nice and shouldn’t be an issue, but I’m always up for whatever. I feel like the tougher the situation, the better I’ll be.”
Team co-owner Carey Hart made it clear that he has high expectations for both riders this outdoor season.
“Honestly, my expectations are a championship,” Hart said. “There’s no question that Ken is capable of winning the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. He did it two years ago. He’s coming off of an extremely successful Supercross season, and as dominant as he was over the last several races, his confidence is high. I think we’re looking good heading into the outdoor season. Ken has already won the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a 450. He’s completely capable of doing it again. That’s definitely the expectation RCH has for him. I was at a team test a few days ago and Broc’s looking really strong. I’m really excited about his outdoor season. It’s almost like a fresh start for him. The reason he came back to Supercross when he did was just to get a few gate drops and get used to running a race pace again. He got rid of the butterflies so he could be fresh for outdoors.”
The first moto of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship from the Hangtown Motocross Classic will be televised live on MAVTV Saturday, May 21 at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 1 p.m. Pacific. Television coverage for the second moto will shift to NBCSN at 7 p.m. EDT.