Kenny Watson, team manager for Hart & Huntington Racing, and team owner Cary Hart scored a major coupe this year when they joined forces with Ricky Carmichael to form RCH Racing. Carmichael is an icon in our sport and still has lots to offer a team, including testing, setup and riding advice.
For 2013, RCH Racing is running factory Suzuki equipment with Broc Tickle and Josh Hill doing the riding.
Q: How did the deal with Ricky come about?
A: Well, Ricky and I have been friends for a super long time and he’s always showed interest in owning a team. And last year at this race and he came up to me real early in the morning and said he wanted to talk to me and he told me he wanted to do a Supercross team. He said he wanted to join the team and he wanted to know if I thought Cary would be interested in him joining the team and he would bring Suzuki on board and he would in charge of all the riders, all the R&D, the testing, the developing and he would deal with Japan. So that’s where it started and we started working on it last year. It took a while to get everything inked but it all came around.
One thing about Ricky, he’s hands on like no other. So he has a lot of input on the R&D side and testing. Technical is Ricky Carmichael.
Q: Let’s talk about you and Cary and the team. You guys kind of came from the bottom up.
A: Yeah, well the whole thing started because we had a Supermoto team and Cary was still racing at that time. I was in between jobs and Cary asked me to come out to a Supermoto race and check it out and I felt the energy of the crowd towards him so I started working with his team and getting sponsors for them. We had a guy named Donnie Wanat who was managing the team and he was a crucial part of it. So I helped those guys a lot and them I told Cary that we should do a Supercross team, a Supercross-only team and no outdoors. We knew it would be hard to get sponsors but we went out and asked people to step up and they did. It took a couple of years and we started at the bottom, but my whole deal, was that we couldn’t just go out and get the top equipment until you proved yourself and paid your dues, so we decided if we couldn’t win on the track that we could win in the pits. So we built a real strong pit presence and give back to our sponsors in that way to begin with. That’s what we did and here we are today.
Q: You are not at the point were you are competing on the track too.
A: We’ve had some good talent for a while, but injuries have kind of plagued us. And when Ricky came in, he had a lot of pull with the riders and there were some things happen were we had to let some people go, and it was a really tough decision, but this year we’ve super pleased to have Broc Tickle and what he brings to the program.
Q: You are on a motor program with Yoshimura, so they supply all your motors. How close are your bikes to what James Stewart is riding?
A: Broc’s bike is identical to James’ bike. Josh Hill’s bike is the same except it doesn’t have the factory hubs. The engines and everything else should be the same, I don’t know for sure if it’s the same, but our contract with them says we are equal. We share a shop with them and we share a track with them and we’re supposed to share data with them.
Q: With the severity of Josh Hill’s injuries, did you have any hesitations about brining him back to the team?
A: Not really. I knew the drive he had. He wanted to go race the outdoors when we first signed him and we don’t race the outdoors, but I said, hey, if your gonna go do them then we’re gonna support you. He did terrible, but I knew he had the drive, and of the talent that was left out there, Josh was the only one who had won in the past. So I was thinking of the guys left that we could sign, if Hill could come back to just 80% then he was still better than the rest of the guys available. Yeah, he’s been off the bike for two years but we’ll just have to see how he does.
A: There are rumors that you guys are transitioning into NASCAR. Can you speak to that?
Q: I can’t really talk about that, but there are a lot of opportunities with Dodge and with Ricky on board there are a lot of things in the works and hopefully someday, RCH Racing will be involved in four wheel racing, but we are focused on Supercross right now.