Courtesy of Team Suzuki Press Office
RCH Suzuki Factory Racing’s Ken Roczen pulled-off his fifth perfect 1-1
victory of the season at the weekend’s 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross
Championship eighth round at Spring Creek in Millville, USA.
The 22-year-old German raced his # 94 RCH Soaring Eagle/ Jimmy John’s/
Suzuki Factory RM-Z450 to another double race win and increased his lead
in the series to 55 points with four rounds remaining.
When the starting gate dropped on the first 450 Class moto of the day,
Roczen secured his footing near the front of the field and spent much of
the opening lap stalking Justin Barcia for second. After making the
pass on Barcia, just before completing the first lap, he set his sights
on Southwick winner Eli Tomac for the top spot.
The 2014 Pro Motocross Champion reeled-in Tomac near the one-third mark
and never looked back. By the time the chequered flag waved on the first
premier class moto of the day, Roczen had stretched his lead to nearly
eight seconds before collecting his 12th moto win of the season.
While he was able to go two-for-two and win the second moto of the day
and his13th of the season by almost 30 seconds, the victory came with a
bit of a twist:
Said Roczen: “Took the first moto after some battling with Eli (Tomac).
Second moto, we got off to a rough start. I almost went down and then in
the second turn, I bent my shifter really bad and I missed shifting a
bunch of times. It was pretty sketchy so I tried not to shift too much
and ride a safe race. I fought my way to the front again and we came
away with another win. That’s what we’re shooting for every single
weekend no matter how big the gap is and we pulled it off.
“I’m a racer so my mind is just getting to the front. At first, I didn’t
know what was going on. I mis-shifted and almost went over the bars
twice. I was like ‘what the heck?’ And then I looked down and the thing
(shifter) didn’t look right. So, from then on, I just kind of put my
rear-end back and kept it in third and went wherever the other guys
didn’t go to try and make passes.”
Unfortunately, Roczen’s brilliance was clouded when his RCH team-mate
Broc Tickle was collected in a scary mid-race incident in the first
moto. As Tickle and Weston Peick were racing for position, Peick
cross-rutted as he approached the face of a tabletop causing his machine
to veer to the opposite side of the landing area where Tickle was
already committed. As a result, Tickle landed on top of Peick and
neither rider was able to finish the race or return for the second moto.
Tickle is expected to be on the starting gate for Round 8 at Washougal
this weekend but will continue to be evaluated on a daily basis leading
up to the event.
“I really like Millville and I was bummed with how the day ended-up
turning-out but it could have been a lot worse,” Tickle said. “Practice
went pretty well. I was really looking forward to the motos. I started
the first moto in about 14th, made some passes and got up to about
seventh. I was close to (Weston) Peick and he cross-rutted on this
little tabletop. I went to the outside and he came across the track. I
ended up landing on his head and both of us crashed and didn’t race in
the second moto.
“It was a tough weekend for me. I didn’t want to accept not racing in
the second moto but I felt like it was the best choice to make at the
time. I’m going to get looked at this week and make sure there’s nothing
too serious and hopefully head to Washougal, into the break, and hit
the last three. I feel like I have some more podiums to get and that I’m
capable of doing it. The focus for me right now is see what’s going on
with my body, make sure there’s nothing too serious and go from there.”
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