Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray led the way for Mitch Payton’s squad at the opening round of the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross season, landing on the podium with a runner-up finish in the first Supercross Lites Class Main Event from Angel Stadium, in Anaheim, Calif. Rattray and his Pro Circuit teammate Dean Wilson battled for the position for the majority of the race, until Wilson suffered some bad luck and finished sixth following a crash on the last lap. Broc Tickle made history for the team by becoming the first Supercross Class rider in history to pilot a Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki machine, working hard to fight for a 12th-place finish after an early crash.
Rattray started the night strong in Heat 1 and finished with a solid second, setting him up with a good gate pick for the main. The South African rode smooth and stayed confident throughout the 15-lap Main Event, making big improvements from his rookie effort during the 2011 season.
“I’ve been training really hard and preparing a lot for this season, (and) I’m feeling really good this year.” said Rattray. “I was confident and hoped it would be a successful night for me. It’s good to know hard work pays off and I hope to keep it going for Phoenix.”
Coming in as an early title favorite, Wilson was excited for Anaheim, but rode a little tighter than he had hoped. Never being one to give up, he stayed strong and went bar-to-bar with his teammate for the majority of the Lites Main. His last-lap misfortune led to an unfortunate ending for Wilson, but the result will motivate him even more to do well at the next round in Phoenix.
“I’m completely gutted,” said Wilson. “I’ve been putting in my training hours and I’m definitely confident that I’m really prepared for this year, but it just didn’t come together for me tonight. I’m glad I got the jitters out of my system, though. All I can do is learn from the experience and move forward to Phoenix.”
Following the Anaheim opener, should a trivia question relating to the first rider ever to race in the Supercross Class for Mitch Payton’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team come up, the industry can think back to Tickle’s start to the 2012 season. After winning the 2011 Supercross Lites Western Regional Championship and pointing out of the class, Payton decided to complete his rider’s two-year contract by offering Tickle the historic 450cc ride. Anaheim marked Tickle’s debut effort on the big bike, and he definitely proved that he’s tough enough to run with the big boys. The Michigan native looked strong the entire night, but ended up nearly landing on fellow Kawasaki rider Jake Weimer in an odd turn of events. The incident caused a collision between the two, sending Tickle to the ground and to the back of the pack. He remounted and fought hard to finish just outside the top 10.
“I’m bummed that I didn’t finish where I had hoped, but I couldn’t control what happened,” said Tickle. “I’ll just have to bring it even harder next week in Phoenix. The Supercross Class is so packed this year. Getting a win will be tough for everyone, but it just motivates me even more to work harder. I’m feeling good on the Kawasaki 450F. It’s going to be a good season.”
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team heads to Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. this weekend for the second round of the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross Championship. Rattray currently sits second in the Supercross Lites Western Region with 22 points, while Wilson leaves Round 1 in sixth, with 15 points. Tickle heads to Phoenix 12th in the standings, with nine points in the Supercross Class.