By Brendan Lutes
Heading into the 2012 season Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Broc Tickle had a lot of expectations. He had just won the 2011 West Coast Lites Championship and was returning as Mitch Payton's lone 450 rider for the powerful team. Unfortunately for Tickle, though, the beginning of the season didn't go as he had hoped. Bad luck and inconsistency plagued him as he did everything he could to get to the top.
With an entire Supercross tour under his belt, though, the Kawasaki rider is now beginning to find his stride in the outdoors. Currently fifth in points in the 450 class, Broc is fresh off a podium at Budds Creek and looking to better his position as the season continues. We caught up with him to see what his thoughts are on the season so far.
How has it been for you in both Supercross and outdoors in the 450 class?
Supercross was alright… It was really hard on me, because I expected myself to come in and be top-five. When it didn't happen for the first few races, it really frustrated me. My speed was there at the test tracks during the week, but when it came to racing, it wasn't there. With that being said, I pretty much struggled really badly for the first five or six races. I then started to get a little better as the season went on. I know a couple guys got hurt, but I felt like I was getting my confidence back, and towards the end, I was riding somewhat where I should have been at the start of the season. So far outdoors, though, has been really good. I built my confidence throughout Supercross and was in a better position once outdoors started.
You won a Supercross Lites title last year and struggled this year in Supercross, but now you're doing really well outdoors. What do you think is your specialty? Are you more of a Supercross or outdoor rider?
It's hard to say, because I won a championship in the West Coast Lites, but I think I can do both pretty well. If I just keep my confidence up and keep the hard work going, I think I should be about equal in both. My goal for next year is to be really good in both. I don't want to be like I was this year. It was very frustrating, and it really isn't fun when you're getting frustrated. As of now, I'm having fun every weekend. In Supercross, I was getting so frustrated that I wasn't having any fun on the weekends, so for right now my main goal is to just continue having fun. If I do that, everything else will come a lot easier.
What do you think changed for you to allow you to have fun again and improve your results?
I just stopped dwelling on the past. If I had a bad weekend, I would just look forward to trying to do something to help me during the week; I would challenge myself with something. I'd pick something out and try to fix that. It seems like when I get really focused on something—and trying to do better—I struggle worse than if I just went out and rode. Even now, I'm training and riding a lot, but at the same time, I'm having fun while I do it. I play golf once a week or go do something to get my mind off of just thinking about motocross. I think a lot of us [racers] just think about motocross all the time, and when you dwell on just one thing, it almost takes the focus off of it. You can't concentrate on one thing for that long—that's just part of life—and I think that goes for anything. In the first five or six races of the year, I was beyond frustrated. I was grumpy at home and just wasn't a happy person. I've always believed in never giving up and that's what I've always stuck by, which is why I think I was able to bounce back after having such a disappointing start to the season. It's pretty difficult to motivate yourself when you've been training for the entire off-season, riding, and doing well in that respect to then come to the races and not be able to do what you want to do. It's just mentally hard. The way I've been brought up is to never give up. If you have your mind set on something, don't back off until you get there.
For the first time in your career, you landed on the podium at Budds Creek with an awesome 2-2 ride. What was that like for you?
Man, that was… I'm getting goose bumps right now just hearing you say it. It was just crazy. I never got on the overall podium in the 250 class or had two motos that were on the podium. That was my first overall podium ever in outdoors. I don't know. It just kind of came naturally for me and I had a feeling that it was going to be my day. That's what's hard about this sport, though, is trying to get that feeling every single day and every time you race.
How did that podium finish compare to your West Coast Lites Championship?
At this point, nothing is going to compare to that championship. But as long as I'm making improvement, that's what is going to make me happy. It feels so good to do that, and when you have that feeling, it motivates you to continue to do well and to deal with the stuff that you have to do during the week.
What are your goals and expectations for the last five rounds of the outdoors?
There are five more left and I'm sitting fifth in points right now. My goal right now is to try to be in the top three by the end of the year. I've had two DNFs, which have hurt me, but I think that if I can try to duplicate Budds Creek a little more, third overall is realistic. Obviously I want to win motos, and if it comes to me than that is what I want, but Dungey is riding unbelievable right now. He's beating us by 30-40 seconds every moto—that's huge. I think there would have to be some kind of mishap for me to win. But I mean, I want to be on the podium and I think if I can keep doing that a moto win will come eventually.