It is safe to say that it has been a long year for many riders, mechanics, and teams. Now, though, that the season has come to an end, it is allowing everybody some time to relax, heal up, and begin focusing on the '09 season. To our surprise, however, we ran into one rider recently who is wishing the season hadn't come to an end just yet. Division 7/Star Racing Yamaha's Broc Tickle is still ready to go racing after coming off a career best finish at Steel City Raceway. The Tickler has struggled throughout the summer with mechanical problems and crashes; however, he has also proven that he can be a front-runner if he can keep the rubber side down. We caught with the Yamaha pilot not too long after his fifth place overall at Steel City to get his thoughts on the '08 season; along the way we also discovered a few interesting things that the Michigan native had to endure throughout the course of this summer.
Looking back on your year, how do you feel things went for you?
I broke my elbow at the end of January, so I was out for three months and missed the entire Eastern Region Supercross Lites series. After all of that I drove to California to start preparing for the outdoor Nationals, and I stayed in California until the Freestone National. That's when I drove to Texas to stay with the Hahn family. Things definitely did not start out the way I was hoping they would, but I was able to end the season in exactly the position I was hoping for. I had some good finishes here and there, but I was also making some mistakes and ran into a few mechanical problems, so I had a bit of an off year. However, like I said, I am excited that I ended the last moto of the season in fourth place.
Back tracking a little bit, how did you break your elbow?
I was actually at the Millsaps Training Facility and it was a rainy day. The weather eventually cleared up, and I was going through a set of whoops and looped out. I fell right on my elbow and shattered the whole thing. The doctor told me I was going to be off the bike for seven to eight weeks, so I was under the assumption that I would be able to get some Supercross racing under my belt, but that never happened.
2007 was your first taste of Supercross, correct?
Yeah. It was definitely a learning year. The first race I didn't even qualify for, but the second race I was able to grab a fifth place finish. After that, I had a few DNFs, but I was able to salvage several more top 10 finishes. I think I had three top 10 finishes and three or four DNFs.
Do you find yourself more comfortable on a Supercross track or on an outdoor track?
I do like both, but I have proved myself in the outdoors and I have yet to do so in Supercross. I'm excited for the 2009 Supercross season.
How were your bikes this year?
They were so good! They improved so much from last year to this year. Factory Yamaha helps us out with our suspension, so we had good stuff this year.
During the first moto at Washougal, you were running in fourth place for a majority of the moto and then we never saw you come around. What happened?
Ahh, my stator went out. That was a bummer deal.
You've already mentioned it, but you had a great weekend at Steel City.
The whole weekend went well. I had good practice times in both Friday and Saturday’s sessions, so we just went from there. Having such solid practice times on both days gave me that much more confidence going into the motos. In the first moto, however, I did not get a good start; I think I finished out the first lap in 17th or 18th. I just put my head down and picked off a bunch of riders; eventually I ended up in 9th at the end of the moto. In the second moto I rounded the first turn in 15th, but I killed it on the first lap and ended up 12th or so by the time I received the green flag. I made a lot of passes during the opening stages of the moto and as things were winding down, Jake Weimer and Brett Metcalfe tangled, and I was able to get by Metcalfe. It just felt like things were working to my advantage.
Some riders who are not consistent front-runners may feel a bit out of place when they do find themselves inside the top five. For you, however, did it feel as though being inside the top five is where you should've been all year long?
It felt so good to be riding up front! In the second moto, when I saw that my pit board said fourth place, there is no better feeling then that. That's always where I've wanted to be and besides Washougal, I've never run that far up front. When I see that I'm doing so well it just makes me look forward to the next race, you know?
I take it that you're bummed out the season has come to an end.
Oh yeah. At the beginning of the season things were going okay but, on the last lap of the second moto at High Point, I crashed and tore my rotator cuff. I was riding for a while with that injury, but I chose not to tell anyone because I don't want to be one to fall back on excuses.
Are you still dealing with the rotator cuff?
It's fine now, but I couldn't even lift a gallon of water when it first happened. I got cross-rutted and it pitched me off the bike. It's kind of funny, but the seam that runs along the inside of your riding pants into the crotch and around the legs ripped from knee to knee. It even ripped the shorts I had on underneath my riding pants so I had things hanging out (laughs).
Was there anything interesting or unique that happened to you this year while traveling?
That's a tough question. On Sunday night I did drive straight from Hangtown to Southern California, so I kind of had a road trip going on for the first part of the season.
How come you had a bit of road trip?
The team manager wanted me in California, so I drove out there from Michigan and then drove back home (Michigan) while the races went from state to state. I went from Hangtown to SoCal to pick up all of my stuff. From there I drove to Tommy and Wil Hahn's place to ride for a couple of days and then drove to the Freestone National. Eventually I made it to Michigan and Red Bud. I enjoy driving, however, so I had a good time on the road. It was a good way to escape the monotony of flying because all we do is sit on planes every weekend.