RCH Racing Suzuki’s Josh Hill returned to the AMA/ FIM World Supercross Championship at Saturday’s sixth round at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California to take a race victory in the Last Chance Qualifier.
The RM-Z450 rider (pictured), who broke his hand at the opening round at Anaheim last month, had just two days on the bike before the event; the injury-plagued rider placing 18th in the 20-lap Main Event – his first Main finish since Las Vegas in 2010.
Said Hill: “It’s a great shot in the arm. Finally something went right. There were so many tough days the last few years, so to overcome all the stuff that I have the last two or three years, feels really, really good.”
Hill returned to racing action after missing the first five rounds of SX competition this season with a broken right-hand. In total, the Oregon native had missed the last 39 Main Events due to injuries over two years.
“It’s been a real, real rough couple of years,” Hill added. “And then I get to Anaheim 1 this year thinking that everything was going to go good and I break my hand. For me to come back with only two days on the bike and make the Main Event, it feels good. And the way that I did it, I did it the hardest way possible by having to go to the LCQ and then win it. It feels great. I never felt that finishing 18th would feel so good, but that did.”
Team-mate Broc Tickle led the Dodge/ Sycuan Casino/ RCH Racing/ Bel-Ray/ Suzuki team with an 11th-place finish in the Main Event, a result that had much more potential early in the race. He had his best start of the season, breaking from the gate aggressively to grab second behind series points leader – and race winner – Davi Millsaps as the 20-rider field hit the first turn. He looked poised to challenge for the lead at one stage, but uncharacteristically slide backwards from the lead pack to miss a top-10 for the first time in three races. But the Michigan native still managed to jump one position to 10th in the 450 class point standings and is only 10 points away from ninth.
“Broc got a great start and then I saw his body language change a bit,” said Tickle’s veteran crew chief Tony Berluti. “He peeked behind him a couple of times and usually that’s a sign of nerves. It was a bit of a defensive ride; he just tightened up. He pumped-up a bit early in the race and never really recovered. It happens.
“Broc really rode well all day, except for the Main. He was fast in practice and had a really solid Heat race. This track was really tricky and it had a whoop section that was gnarly. It just wasn’t our night in the Main Event.”
The next stop on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series schedule is Saturday, February 16th at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
450 Main Event Results: 1. Davi Millsaps (Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 2. Justin Barcia (Honda), 3. Ryan Dungey (KTM), 4. James Stewart (Yoshimura Suzuki), 5. Chad Reed (Honda), 6. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki), 7. Justin Brayton (Yamaha), 8. Trey Canard (Honda), 9. Andrew Short (Honda), 10. Mike Alessi (Suzuki), 11. Broc Tickle (RCH Racing Suzuki). 18 Josh Hill (RCH Racing Suzuki).
For full results from the heat races and main events in San Diego, click here.