Last Friday afternoon a press release from the FIM (Federation Internationale Motocyclisme, the international governing body of nearly all motorcycle competition) circulated through the sport that a substance on the WADA Anti-Doping list was detected in a urine sample collected from Red Bull KTM rider Broc Tickle at the 2018 San Diego Supercross in February. The details in the press release were scarce, as it simply stated Methylhexanamine was found in the sample and that Tickle was barred from any sort of competition, effective immediately. On Saturday afternoon at the 2018 Minneapolis Supercross round of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Series, we shared a few moments with Red Bull KTM Team Manager Roger DeCoster and learned more about how the team was notified and what the next steps in the process are. Surprisingly at that point, the team had very little contact with the FIM in Europe and there was no clear information from the FIM officials located in the United States. DeCoster told us that KTM’s legal department had only two business days to file an appeal and that because the team was notified late Thursday evening, Friday would be counted as one of those business days.
DeCoster also told us of a clause that is in every Red Bull KTM racer’s contract that is in place to keep them from using a banned substance. Should a rider test positive for a substance and be barred from competition, they are required to pay back KTM all of their earnings from contracts.
Currently, there is very little information in terms of how long Tickle could be suspended for because the “standard” WADA punishment is four years, a term that fits the Olympic competition cycle. However, MotoGP racer Anthony West tested positive for this same substance in 2012 and was banned from competition for eighteen months.
Can you share a rough timeframe of what happened on Friday? He was here to ride Press Day, but the test was from February. How did you find everything out?
I got a call on Thursday night, I was at dinner at about 7:30, and it was that Broc had gotten a notice from the FIM, an email. The email said very little and I think they posted it, that he had tested positive for I don't remember the chemical's name. So Broc said that he doesn't understand where it comes from, because he had does take a medicine, which is not on the prohibited list and that he takes some supplements like most of the guys do, but nothing that should have the other stuff in it.
A lot has been said about Aldon's program, because it's very regimented and everyone is doing or taking the same thing, like how Aldon is a big proponent of MindFX. It's not like Broc is doing something different than anyone else is.
He is doing the same things. The guys that work with Aldon were tested the same day also like Marvin was tested and Zach was tested. That was the biggest test that they have done in the number of riders, I think. They are all okay, so you would think that if one did it, they all would have it.
Going forward, Broc is already back in California. Has there been any communication between you and the FIM officials that are here? Or does this strictly occur with Europe?
The person that is here with the FIM has nothing to do with the medical team of the FIM. We tried to contact the FIM on Friday but we could not get a hold of anybody. Our plan is to meet on Monday and to talk to our legal department, and then we go from there.
Right now it just says that he is provisionally suspended, so there is no timeframe of how long it could be. Have you heard anything in regards to that?
We have tried to get some more information, but it is impossible. Even John Gallagher and the FIM rep that is here and the AMA, the President at our office has talked to the President of the AMA also, but no one could give us more information. It's kind of strange because it's a provisional suspension but it's been more than seven weeks since he was tested. He was notified and then it took effect the next day, but they have not tested the B Sample yet. Maybe it will come out the same, but they should at least allow you the process before they make the final decision. Here you are guilty before it's proven.
I've researched the anti-doping programs that are in the sport and a typical sentence is now four years. In the worst-case scenario that is what happens to Broc, what would you guys do? For a rider that is 28 years old, it would be the end of his career.
There is definitely something wrong with the rules and the penalties. I am all for testing and all of that, and the guys should be clean, but there is a lot of difference between the things that they get penalized for. I think if you really want to increase your performance, there is stuff available that is way better than what is in there, even over the counter. So if you took it for that reason, you're being stupid.
You know that it will result in getting caught.
The benefit of taking that stuff, I don't see where it is. It's not healthy. There is stuffed on the banned list that can really benefit and help you, like focus substantially better or give you more energy, but from what I have been told and read on the Internet, this stuff is like drinking a cup of bad coffee.
You've been in the sport longer than anyone that is here. Do you believe that there are serious doping issues going on?
I don't think there are these days. But at one point, I think there was. I'm all for testing and I think it's good that we do the testing, but it doesn't make sense that we take the sample here in the US and they send the sample to Germany, and then they get back to us. They are in a different time zone and there are labs in the US that would do this. The process of how it is enforced is not right, it doesn't fit the sport and that's probably why none of the top American sports are part of WADA. It's also unfair to the people involved, like the sponsors and the teams, because we spend so much money and they penalize you before it's even proven. The penalty should be in proportion to the infraction. If a guy uses full-on steroids, there is a big difference between using that and a cold spray because you are sick.
Was it a cold spray or a supplement?
We don't know. We looked at all of the stuff that he has in his box, like vitamins and supplements, but there is nothing in there that says it would have that in there.