|Suzuki's James Stewart enjoying himself|
Angel Stadium in Anaheim in California was full to capacity as the crowds eagerly awaited the opening round of the 2013 Monster Energy Supercross Series season on Saturday.
Suzuki unveiled its new Dodge/ Sycuan Casino/ RCH Racing/ Bel-Ray/ Suzuki Racing Team at the event, but had a mixed bag of results in Saturday's round.
Broc Tickle, a Suzuki rider from Michigan and a former AMA Lites Champion, was ahead of the game and looked set for a top-ten finish on his RM-Z450, when a mid-race mishap with two-time defending series champion Ryan Villopoto, dropped the first-year RCH rider ten positions and out of the race contention into eighteenth.
Tickle started twelfth in the twenty-lap Main Event and by lap five was in the top ten, racing fork-to-fork with Villopoto. However by the eighth lap he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and couldn't avoid the chaos of blocks on the track in front of him.
|Tickle in action at Anaheim's Angel Stadium|
Tickle 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. He 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.
Tony Berluti commented:
"We had a really good day until the Main Event, Broc was running about tenth; 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 twentieth."
Down in the Dirt
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.
Hit by a Gremlin
Hill's mechanic Shawn Bell said:
"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 Results:
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)
Information from:Team Suzuki Press Office - January 6.
Great action photos - thanks Suzuki!