Broc Tickle And Ken Roczen Updates, National Hare & Hound Championship and Much More! – The Weekly Dirt: January 28, 2015

Welcome to Weekly Dirt, your place on the Internet for off-road news from around the world. This week we check in on the status of RCH riders Broc Tickle and Ken Roczen, who both suffered crashes last weekend in Oakland. Also, Kato gets us up to speed on the opening round of the National Hare & Hound Championship. There’s plenty to go over, so let’s get going.

Rough Night For RCH Teammates Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle

Ken Roczen took a nasty fall when he came up short on a triple in the main event at Oakland. Photo By Shan Moore
Broc Tickle came up short on the same triple and was dazed from the impact. Photo By Shan Moore

The Oakland round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series wound up being a rough night for RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing team members Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle.

Tickle was caught up in a multi-bike melee heading into the first corner of the main event, and then later came up short on a triple later during the opening lap, forcing him back to the paddock and an early exit. Meanwhile, Roczen got a great jump out of the gate to start the main event and was solidly inside the top three for the opening circuits. But after setting up and making the pass for second on two-time 450SX champion Chad Reed, the 20-year-old German rider misjudged the same triple as Tickle, landing on the face of the jump and taking himself out of any chance for the win. Shaken but not broken, Roczen picked up his Suzuki, finished the race and earned a respectable 16th-place finish.

“My heat race was really good,” said Roczen. “I got off to a great start in the main. Battled with (Chad) Reed and Shorty (Andrew Short) … Made the pass on Reed. And I just totally brain farted. I’m so mad at myself. I tried to triple and came up short. I hit my face and my goggles on my handlebar so I had to stop and just check myself for a minute. Luckily, I got back up and kept going. Those are important points.”

Roczen, who came into the event with a 12-point lead in the championship, now trails new leader Ryan Dungey by four, while Tickle slipped from seventh to 12th in the standings.

As a precautionary measure, Tickle made a voluntary trip to nearby Sutter Eden Medical Center following the incident where he was examined, released and cleared to travel home with the team.

“I’m super-bummed on the way the night ended up,” said Tickle. “I had an awesome second practice qualifier and a great heat. The racing was awesome and the track felt great. Unfortunately, I crashed on the start in the main and was in the back of the pack. I got back going but I came up short on that triple and jammed my back. I was hoping to tough it out and salvage as many points as I could but my body was telling me something different. We’ll regroup this week so I can be at Anaheim next weekend ready to rock.”

“We had a rough night,” commented team manager Kyle Bentley following the race. “Things aren’t always going to be perfect. Broc came up short on the same triple Kenny did. That’s racing. We’re just glad they’re both healthy. We’ll move on and regroup and be ready for Anaheim next weekend.”

Dean Wilson Out Too

Dean Wilson is scheduled to have surgery on his knee some time this week. Photo By Shan Moore

Dean Wilson is scheduled to undergo surgery some time this week after injuring a knee injury last Thursday while practicing for this past weekend’s Oakland round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series. According to Wilson’s Instagram feed, his suffered tears to his ACL and MCL.

Here is the Instagram post:

_“As my results havnt been the greatest I was excited to keep building my results better and better each weekend. Yesterday was one of the toughest days I have had in my career. Just a normal Thursday training in the middle of my Moto when I made a mistake at the Ktm test track. I am so gutted and disappointed to say that I have torn my ACL and MCL and will be getting surgery next week. Yesterday while I was on the way to the hospital looking out the window at the mountains I was contemplating on quitting and just get a real job and live a normal life. It just seems to be a continuos streak lately and the disappointment is just killing me as a person.... But I know how much I am capable of achieving and how much I love this sport when things are going good . But sometimes it can just be so cruel. I have the best sponsors and people that I can't thank enough for there love and loyal support.. And thx to all my fans for the support to. I wish I could be racing this weekend. But god has another plan for me.__”_**—Shan Moore**

Sutherlin Speeds To First NHHA Win, WFOx Goes 1-2 At San Felipe

Gary Sutherlin kicked off his H&H; campaign by winning the opener, but training partner (and defending series champ) Ricky Brabec pushed him for it, eventually finishing second. Photo By Mark Kariya

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Trapped just yards off the start with his foot stuck between the rear tire and subframe after bouncing off eventual FMF 250cc Pro-class winner Dalton Shirey, Ivan Ramirez got mad and got going, slicing through the pack until the last mile where he passed first David Kamo then Nick Burson to earn the final podium spot. Photo By Mark Kariya
Though she hasn’t been a series regular since winning the Women A/B-class championship in 2012, ISDE veteran Nicole Bradford proved she can still rage in the desert. In a tune-up for next week’s King of the Motos, she dominated Women A, finishing 65th overall (about 45 minutes ahead of runner-up and new A rider Megan Blackburn) and earning the $100 TBT Racing bonus for being the top woman rider. Photo By Mark Kariya
The Youth series continued its steady growth with a lot of new as well as returning faces. In addition, each rider will now line up with one of the high-visibility bibs that the Kurt Caselli Foundation donated. (Extras or replacement ones will be available for $20.) Photo By Mark Kariya

After riding the occasional round in the past, his contract as a new FMF KTM support rider provides Gary Sutherlin with enough financial incentive to tackle the entire Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series this season. And after winning the opening round in Lucerne Valley, California, it looks like the reigning WORCS champ made the right decision.

He went to the front right away, but before long, current H&H number one plate holder Ricky Brabec latched on to his back fender, the two (who train together on their bicycles during the week) engaging in a back-and-forth fight for first that lasted the rest of the race’s two 40-mile loops.

“I was pretty tentative, actually,” Sutherlin confessed. “I haven’t been in the desert that much, and I rode pretty tentative in the fast stuff and Ricky definitely rode great.”

At times, they were side by side, one or the other on the trail or taking a tumble.

“Ricky and I had an awesome battle; we changed the lead three or four different times. He wrecked, I wrecked--it was good.

“It’s going to be a long, fun season.”

And if this first round is any indication, it’ll be even more competitive than last year.

Brabec put up quite the fight, though racing the day before in Baja had to have taken a little of his strength. In the end, he held on for a strong second aboard his THR Motorsports/Precision Concepts/Bonanza Plumbing KX450F.

The biggest charge of the day belonged to FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team’s Ivan Ramirez. He and Pro Circuit/Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna’s Dalton Shirey bounced off each other a few yards off the starting line, and somehow, Ramirez ended up at a dead stop, his left foot wedged between the back tire and subframe of his 450 XC-F.

After mechanic Robbie Goolsby ran over and got him untangled (the pack long gone and even the dust settling), Ramirez went ballistic. “I was kind of angry at what happened,” he admitted and he channeled that into an incredible charge that found him passing people before the bomb and not let up. He continued until he ran out of miles, passing David Kamo and then Nick Burson with a wild run through gnarly downhill rocks within sight of the finish to net third followed by Burson and Kamo.

As for Brabec, the Rider of Record for the defending SCORE motorcycle champion team, his day at the Bud Light SCORE San Felipe 250 was longer than originally planned. Having drawn the last start position in the Pro Open Motorcycle class, he and teammates Max Eddy, Jr., and Justin Morgan had the lead at one time.

Unfortunately for the team on 1X, Eddy crashed hard, hitting his head hard and suffering a possible broken wrist. They eventually got rolling again, eventually finishing fourth in class.

Up front, it was an all-Honda show with WFOx Motorsports Honda’s Justin Jones/Colton Udall taking over about 60 miles in and never looking back. WFOx ran a second team comprised of Ray dal Soglio and Mark Samuels that ran second despite a crash just nine miles in that left Samuels battered and that team nearly 45 minutes behind, 4:40:59 to 5:25:40.

“Everybody really had some issues so we ended up our ride was perfect,” Udall said. “That’s kind of how San Felipe is: You make a mistakes, it’s big-time. It was extra-dangerous this year. It seemed like a lot of the washes had ; none of the cars beat down all the rocks and there were a lot of rocks that were just all over the place that could make you go down in a second--kind of like , but the speeds are faster.”

The Morgan Crawford/Ricky de la Pena/Kevin Murphy/Jim O’Neal/Mark Winkleman team won Class 30 and finished third bike overall aboard their CRF450X in 5:29:35.

State Of The Season By The NHHA

The National Hare and Hound Association (NHHA) took the helm of the AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series a few years ago and added the AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship Series to its responsibilities last year.

Two rounds of both series are in the books now. Given that early rounds of most series tend to enjoy lots of participation, how does the NHHA project the status of both?

According to the NHHA’s Ryan Sanders, the first hare scrambles was successful on several counts: “The Adelanto Grand Prix got scheduled 45 days before the event.

“So our first round backed out--they didn’t want to go up against it.”

But promoter (and racer) Shawn Strong contacted city officials in Page, Arizona, and they readily agreed to let him put on a replacement race which, of course, was a home run.

“Between Erek and myself and Shawn at the first round, everything was handled perfectly. I’m excited to have the three of us young guys . It was like a good test to show --AND that first round didn’t pay any other points! It was just hare scrambles.”

He continued, “I think it also worked good for the Northern California crowd to introduce them to the NHHA.

“I think it showed that we’re just working alongside ; they know their race the same. We’re just helping with promotions and getting some sponsorship and .

“It shouldn’t be grand prixs and glorified motocross--it should be true off-road racing.”

Going forward, Sanders says physically centralizing things on race day is on the agenda as well as keeping sponsors satisfied and attracting new ones.—Mark Kariya

That’s all for this week, be sure to check in next week for more news from the off-road world.