JOSH HILL PLAYS HIS FINAL HAND FOR THE RCH RACING SOARING EAGLE TEAM
May 6, 2014
Las Vegas, NV (May 6, 2014) - Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas was a last chance for racers to salvage the 2014 Supercross season… or crap out. With nothing left to prove after 16 weeks and wrapping up the title, Ryan Villopoto apparently planned to end the season with an exclamation point for his 4th consecutive SX title, while everybody else was hoping to head into the outdoor series on a positive note, especially RCH Racing Soaring Eagle's Josh Hill. With Hill not in the cards for the team's outdoor season, Las Vegas was an opportunity to give a final gift to the team that has supported him the past two years (not to mention serving as an audition for other teams in the future).
Hill started his trip to Las Vegas on a roll. First, the Fox Sport "pre-game" show hosted by celebrity chef Guy Fieri along with racing legends Kevin Windham and Chad Reed started off the rider interviews with Josh. Having the TV holeshot set the tone for the rest of the race in Las Vegas. Showing that his speed last week in New Jersey was no fluke, Josh Hill tied this best qualifying position of the season. Like last week, his Top 5 time in the afternoon qualifiers was less than a second behind the fastest two on the day, James Stewart and newly crowned 2014 SX champ Ryan Villopoto.
Having a quick time in the qualifiers, gave Hill a good gate pick in the second heat race. Speaking of Heat races, the event organizers switched things up to accommodate the East/West 250cc shootout, so racing started off with 450 Heat Race #1 instead of the customary approach of running the 450s after the 250s has already torn up the track. Fresh track or not, RV won the first Heat Race, while Hill was pitted against fast qualifier Stewart in the second Heat race. Having a chance to race before the track was totally devastated seemed to work out fine for Josh. He jumped to a top 5 start (top 4 transfer straight to the Main event), and within a the first half a lap, he tripled into contention. Although veteran Andrew Short tried to pressure Hill, there really was no doubt that Josh was headed straight to the Main event.
But Josh rolled snake eyes the Main, with an unlucky 13th place on the first lap. Once again, the critical start hindered Hill's chances at the jackpot. "Unlike poker, you can't bluff your way to a Supercross Main event win," said Hill of being shuffled to be back of the deck at the start. Despite being dealt a bad hand, Josh showed the skills that put him on the podium the previous week in New Jersey. Just 4 laps into the 20 lap Main event, Hill had raced up into the Top 10. On lap #7, he passed holeshot artist Mike Alessi, also mounted on a Suzuki RM-Z450 and took over 8th. He continued to fight for track position on the fast Las Vegas track, but couldn't catch the leaders. When the dust cleared Hill had moved up couple more spots, to finish 6th at the Las Vegas finale, his second best finish of the season.
"The night went well, it was solid," said Hill of his last ride for the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle team. "I had a bad start in the Main, but coming from 16th up to 6th is not a bad night. I also ended up 8th overall in the SX series and Broc ended up 9th even after missing all those races there at the end."
Even though he wasn't able to race, injured team rider Broc Tickle made the trip to Vegas to pinch-hit for The Greatest Of All Time. Co-principal Ricky Carmichael was fighting a 101-degree temperature and couldn't make the trip, so BT#20 filled in at the Fox outlet store and the autograph signings at Carter Powersports.
"Thanks to Broc and Josh for the solid SX season," said Carey Hart from the post-party festivities. "You guys worked hard through the ups and downs and both landed in the top 10. Thanks so much to the RCH Racing crew for all the hard work and dedication... and thanks most of all to Soaring Eagle Resort, Dodge, Sycuan Casino and Suzuki."
Before the races, the party in the pits was the hottest it has been all year… literally as well as figuratively. Las Vegas local and RCH team principal Carey Hart, Sierra Merchant and Josh Hill were on hand to sign autographs. Add in the Suzuki Holeshot experience and an opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid four-day/three-night get away to Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort and the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle pit was a sure thing! However, since Vegas is the party capital of the world, RCH Racing pulled out all the stops with a post-race bash at Ainsworth at the Hard Rock, hosted by Hart and Hill. However, the old saying goes, what happens at Ainsworth Las Vegas stays in Vegas.
What doesn't stay in Vegas is the solid effort turned in by Tickle and Hill this season. "RCH had two guys in the top 10, and we both had injuries," said Hill. "I think we rode pretty solid and I think the team will just build on it for next year." Now the racing shifts to the grueling outdoor national series where newly signed Weston Peick and another rider filling in for Tickle will fly the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle team colors, starts on May 24, 2014 at the Red Bull Glen Helen MX National in San Bernardino, California.
About RCH Racing Soaring Eagle:
RCH Racing is in its second season of the partnership between Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart to campaign the Feld Motor Sports® 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship season. Ricky Carmichael merged his Suzuki relationship and technical development with the established five year marketing giant of Hart & Huntington Racing in 2013. The RCH Racing Soaring Eagle Team continues its partnerships with Suzuki, Fox, Dodge, Sycuan Casino, Yoshimura and Bel-Ray. Stay up to date on all RCH Racing Soaring Eagle news, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @RCHRacing and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hartandhuntington.
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