INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: BROC TICKLE
It was another big day for the Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/RCH Suzuki effort at Red Bud. Ken Roczen took another dominant win, and Broc Tickle grabbed a second consecutive podium finish. Kenny’s success began early in the series, while Broc has come on strong as of late. With another third overall in Michigan, Tickle now sits fifth in the 450 National Championship, just a few points behind the injured Cole Seely in fourth. In a year where many riders will be looking for 2017 rides, Broc’s finishes are coming at a very opportune time. We caught up with the always-friendly 26-year-old after the press conference to get his thoughts on his summer.
By Jim Kimball
Photos by Brian Converse
Broc Tickle is moving up in the points standings. Currently fifth, he’s looking to pass the injured Cole Seely this weekend at Southwick and has a realistic chance of catching Marvin Musquin in third. This is a big summer for Tickle, as his contract with RCH Suzuki is up at the end of the year.
Broc, you have had some decent rides this summer, but really seemed to have picked up the pace the last two rounds. What’s the reason for the upswing in results?
I really think that I have had everything there to do it, but the only things lacking were my starts and speed in the opening laps. In the past it seemed it had taken me too long to get going, but getting the holeshot at Muddy Creek made me realize that getting a good start is what I have to do if I want to achieve anything. It makes racing a whole lot easier. I’m really stoked and feeding off getting these couple of podiums. It’s probably the best feeling racing that I have had in some time, but I want more. Obviously Kenny and [Eli] Tomac are a little ways in front of me at the moment, but I feel that I can keep building some momentum and hopefully get closer to them.
Are you approaching every moto now like anything less than a podium is a failure?
I belong up on the podium now, and Red Bud was reassurance that I can do it. I did not get the holeshots this weekend, and I had to make some moves to get there. That gave me more confidence. The first couple of laps at Red Bud were awesome for me, and I made some moves quickly into the motos. Now I want to try to get some more of the speed that Kenny has in the beginning of the motos.
Your teammate, Ken Roczen, is blazing fast in the opening laps of the motos. What was it like being in front of him in the early stages of races?
It’s just unreal. I was initially in front of Kenny in one of the motos, but he blew by me like I was standing still. This week [Justin] Barcia and I swapped moto finishes, and I feel like I really earned third overall. The class is stacked. I don’t want to make this sound disrespectful by any means, but I think that I just wanted it more than Barcia. He just backed off and gave me third in the second moto.
Has the recent move to east tracks attributed to any success?
No, I don’t really think so. I do feel that I went into Hangtown unprepared. I was injured during Supercross when Jake Weimer was filling in for me, and I probably came back to soon. I wasn’t really ready to race, but I wanted to be on the gate. I am a good outdoor rider, and just wanted some seat time to help me as much as possible. Like I said, I wasn’t really ready for Hangtown, or even Glen Helen. I couldn’t do two tough motos back to back. I got an eighth place in the first moto at Glen Helen, but was just done in the second moto. It’s not like I hadn’t been training or in shape. I have always liked training, but it was really due to having such little race time. The first couple races weren’t very fun! Things have been going great now, and the whole RCH team has been working their butts off. Now I am where I am supposed to be as a racer, and my results have shown. I am thankful for all the team has done for me.
“IT NEVER FAILS THAT I SEEM TO COME BACK BETTER AFTER AN INJURY. I HATE SAYING THAT, AS I DON’T WANT TO BE INJURED. THAT’S JUST HOW IT IS.”
You have had some rough seasons with your injuries the past few years. How have you been able to overcome the mental anguish of being out of action?
It never fails that I seem to come back better after an injury. I hate saying that, as I don’t want to be injured. That’s just how it is. I feel that I am riding better than ever. I just want to focus on my riding and try to improve.
As everyone knows, Kenny is awesome at the beginning of the motos. Do you talk with him about his technique?
Not really. I mean, we do talk about line choice and some race stuff, but not about how he is so good off the start. The speed he is laying down those first couple laps is amazing! The thing that makes it even cooler is that I believe he can maintain that speed the whole moto. The other week in Tennessee I was third in the moto, but I was 50 seconds down from Kenny and Eli. So while I was pumped that I got third, I was pretty disappointed to be that far back. Here at Red Bud I felt like I was closer to Kenny. The track wasn’t easy at all, so it was reassurance for me to finish third overall again. Last year I got fourth overall here at Red Bud, but it was with 4-7 moto scores. That was my best result at Red Bud, so this track has not been that great for me. I feel good about getting third overall with 4-3 moto scores.
You’re from North Carolina, but don’t you have ties with Michigan?
Yes, my wife is from Michigan, so I have lots of family here. It was especially cool to finally get on the podium at Red Bud. I’ll take a few days off and go hang with the family in northern Michigan before flying out to Southwick. It should be a great week. I am stoked on my results and just want to keep progressing and keep it going.
“THESE FINISHES COULDN’T HAVE COME AT A BETTER TIME. THERE ARE A TON OF GUYS THAT NEED RIDES FOR NEXT YEAR, AND I AM ONE OF THEM. UNFORTUNATELY, THERE DON’T SEEM TO BE THAT MANY SPOTS AVAILABLE.”
What are your plans for 2017?
These finishes couldn’t have come at a better time. There are a ton of guys that need rides for next year, and I am one of them. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be that many spots available. I have not even really heard what is going on with this team or that team. All I can do is focus on my results. I have faith that something will work out. There’s no point in stressing about things.
Good words of wisdom, Broc. Thanks for your time.
Thank you, Jim.