For RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing riders Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle, Spring Creek comes as a welcome stop in the heart of the schedule.
As one of the sport’s most experienced veterans Tickle has a wealth of experience at motocross tracks all over the country but nowhere stands out quite like the time-honored Midwestern venue.
“The track is always prepped well,” commented Tickle. “They’ve made minor changes throughout the years but never in a bad way. I think the track has a lot of separation and if you can be good in a lot of places, you can find some clear track. The terrain is great. The dirt at Millville is cool because it’s consistent. It kind of has the dirt and the soil you need for a really fun track for everyone to ride. The track gets rutted up and creates really good racing. Then you throw in the sand whoops and there’s another variable that changes things up. If you can be good in that part of the track, it can set up a lot of passes. I’ve done pretty well in the sand whoops so that makes it fun for me. I’m just looking forward to the weekend.“
While Tickle has yet to reach the podium at Spring Creek, he’s been a perennial fixture inside the top 10. In eight professional starts at the southeastern Minnesota track, including MX Lites, 250 and 450 competition, the rider of the No. 20 Suzuki RM-Z450 has logged a 7.75 average overall finish, including 13 top 10s and a trio of top fives in 16 motos.
The former Cary, N.C., resident struggled with his starts in both premiere class events last weekend at Southwick but rallied to come from deep in the field to finish in the top 10 in both motos and be credited with an eighth-place overall finish. The solid recovery allowed Tickle to maintain the fifth spot in the championship where he’s just 10 points behind fourth and 29 outside the top three.
“I struggled just getting out of the gate,” Tickle explained. “I felt like my reaction time letting the clutch out was good but my technique in the sand behind the gate, I was off. Throttle position, I think, was a little too high so it was causing me to spin and dig in a lot. I know what I need to work on next year when we go back there. It wasn’t too bad of a weekend considering where I started. Obviously, I want to minimize that the rest of the season. It’s all about the start, no matter what. If I can get good starts, I know I can run up front. Southwick was tough to pass and coming through the pack was even harder than normal so I’m happy with my result considering where I started.”
Roczen has blistered the competition throughout the opening half of the 2016 outdoor campaign and returns to Spring Creek with the series points lead. Over the first seven rounds, the rider of the No. 94 Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing RM-Z450 has won 11 of 14 motos and earned overall wins at Hangtown, Thunder Valley, High Point, Muddy Creek and RedBud.
Although Roczen may have come up short of recent performances in last weekend’s stop in Southwick, Mass., the 22-year-old German still finished second in both motos leaving him second overall at day’s end with a 47-point advantage in the championship.
Spring Creek is one of the few venues on the Pro Motocross circuit where the 2014 series champion hasn’t enjoyed the type of success he’s become accustomed to. In four Millville starts, Roczen finished third overall in 2014 and in eight motos, including starts in both the 250 and 450 classes, he’s logged a fourth-place average overall finish but still misses the win. Last July, Roczen raced to respectable 3-4 Millville finish and came away fourth overall.
After failing to win a moto for just the first time this season last Saturday at Southwick, Roczen comes into Round 8 more motivated than ever.
“I’m coming back with the same mentality I have every week but after Southwick, it’s more important than ever to get back to winning races,” commented Roczen. “I plan to come in and get two moto wins. I think that’s what we have to do to keep enough distance in the points between first and second.”
The first moto from the La Crescent Wine and Spirit Spring Creek National will be televised live on MAVTV Sat., July 16 beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 11 a.m. Pacific. Coverage for the second moto will be televised on NBCSN at 7 p.m. EDT, 4 p.m. Pacific. All motos can also be streamed live online through ProMotocross.com or the NBC Sports Live Extra app. More than 60 hours of coverage will be featured on NBC, NBCSN, and MAVTV throughout the 12-round championship, highlighted by nearly 40 hours of LIVE coverage and three hour-long showcases on network television via NBC.