By Brendan Lutes
For Broc Tickle his first full season in the 450 class began a little rocky. As the it progressed, though, he began turning in impressive finishes, and ultimately found himself on the podium, once again, at the final round of the season at Lake Elsinore.
With his impressive results, Tickle has landed a ride on the RCH/Hart & Huntington/Suzuki squad for the 2013 season. Aboard factory bikes with Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart at his side, Tickle is looking forward to the new season. We caught up with him to see how it all came about and how testing has been progressing.
Your signing with the RCH/Hart & Huntington/Suzuki team was recently announced at the Monster Energy Cup. How did that deal come about for you?
I started talking to Kenny Watson about halfway through outdoors--I believe it was right after Red Bud. After that, I spoke with him off and on for a week or so. We didn't really get anything done for sure until the end of the season, but it all worked out. At this point, I'm really pumped. I have Ricky on my side, I have Carey on my side, I have a factory Suzuki, and everything is going well right now. I'm really happy it worked out, and I'm looking forward to continue riding and testing, because I'm really happy with the testing and riding that I have done so far.
How much riding have you been able to do on the new bike?
It's been about two weeks now. I really got comfortable on it right away. You know as well as anyone with all the shootouts you do, but the Kawi and Suzuki feel the most alike, which has allowed me to adjust quickly. There are some positives and negatives between the two bikes, but I think with Ricky we can get it dialed in for me. I think the bike corners really well and I like the power it produces. I'm really happy with everything right now; I've had a few test days so far and everything is going great.
What is the dynamic on the team when it comes to Ricky? Are you going to work hand-in-hand with him on everything when it comes to the bike?
He'll be there whenever I need him, but as for being at the track, he'll be there for our major testing days. He was here last week for one of our test days, and he's been helping me with getting a schedule set up for riding. I've been doing that the last couple of days. The test day I've had with him was awesome, though, and we worked really well together. I rode, and then we changed some stuff and got it a lot better with just a couple things that we tried. Then, he rode my bike later and found some more improvements that we could do. But just having him do that and seeing some stuff that he thought could be improved is really good for the bike and team.
You continued to get stronger and stronger as the season progressed this year. Are you happy with how everything went for you?
Halfway through, I might have thrown a couple races, but then it seemed like I kind of got on a roll. After Washougal it seemed like I really got everything figured out. It was fun to make progress every weekend and that's kind of what I did. There's nothing wrong with that, but this year, I'd like to start out better and keep making progress like last year.
Having a year in the 450 class under your belt will also be a huge advantage for yourself as well, right?
For sure, and I think with the resources and team that I have, at this point I'll be completely ready for Anaheim I. I should be 100 percent ready, and I don't want to be struggling in Supercross anymore--it's not fun to do that. Last year, it wasn't fun halfway through the season. It finally got better towards the end of Supercross, but I want to do good and have fun. It seemed that in 2011, that's what I was doing. I was going to the races each weekend and having fun. I think having fun is the main thing, and that's what I did in outdoors this year. I would go to the track and do my motos, but I would focus on having fun. I think doing that helped my results a lot.
So it's probably a good thing for you then that the Hart & Huntington team has notoriously been known to have a very fun atmosphere in the pits?
For sure. Even when we were at the Monster Cup, everyone was there. It seems like everyone is there because they love what they're doing and they're all relaxed. I think that will be good for me, and like I said, I'm excited because it's something different. And with Ricky on our side, it will help me a lot.
What do you have going on for the off-season? Obviously testing and training non-stop, but will you be doing any overseas races?
As of right now, I don't have anything planned. Bercy is coming up, but I'm obviously not going to do that. I haven't really organized anything or talked to anyone about it, so I probably won't be doing any races. I just want to focus on A1. As of right now, that's more important to me. I could collect money at those races, but I think at this point it's more important for me to get 100 percent comfortable and get as much testing done as I can.