Feb 1, 2016
With teammate Trey Canard opting out of the Oakland Supercross evening program due to lingering injuries, Cole Seely carried the torch for Team Honda HRC on Saturday night, and although the Californian turned in a respectable sixth-place finish, he was somewhat dissatisfied with the result. Following a fifth-place start aboard his CRF450R, Seely moved up to fourth. Through much of the main event, he fended off advances by the competition, but with three laps remaining, he relinquished two positions, forcing him to settle for sixth at the checkered flag.
Due to the lingering effects of Friday’s rainy conditions, race day’s untimed practice session was canceled, so the daytime program comprised only the two timed sessions. With lap times extremely close all afternoon, Trey Canard landed in 10th with a 55.140-second time, while Cole Seely was 12th at 55.268.
Having suffered cuts in an incident during last week’s main event, Canard rode practice at Oakland with stitches still in his right hand. After the Oklahoman experienced extreme swelling and a lack of overall strength, he decided to opt out of the night program. Canard made another visit to the Asterisk medical team to get checked out before leaving the facility.
With Seely and many other top riders slotted in heat 1 and only four transfer spots available, there was little room for error. Running fifth through much of the six-lap race, Seely found himself in a heated battle with former 250 class rival Jason Anderson for the final spot. Seely made a pass stick on the final lap, transferring directly into the main event.
After four rounds, Seely sits fifth overall in the championship with 70 points. “I would say my season is about average right now,” he said. “There hasn’t been anything spectacular, but it also hasn’t been bad. When you look at the depth of talent in the class and the names of the guys who are finishing in front of me and behind me, it’s crazy. I can’t be too down on myself, but at the same time I always want to do more and be better. I always want to win.”
For the second consecutive week, GIECO Honda’s Christian Craig landed his CRF250R on the 250SX podium with a third-place finish. After nailing the holeshot and leading the field for the opening laps, Craig went down in a corner, losing multiple positions. During the remainder of the main event, Craig took advantage of his competition’s problems to capture his second career podium.
Next up for Team Honda HRC is round five of the AMA Supercross series at the new University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Red Riders will have a short week as they’re scheduled to take part in Thursday’s press day, which allows them the opportunity to speak with media and preview the track. “I’m not sure what to expect at the new stadium, so it’s good that we have the opportunity to get a little preview during press day,” Seely explained. “That’s especially beneficial at a new venue because we don’t know what the dirt will be like.”
On Friday in Arizona, Canard and Seely will join the GEICO Honda squad to sign autographs at Peoria’s RideNow Powersports, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
THE FOCUS: The New Trailer
Most professional race teams in the paddock utilize a semi transporter to get their equipment to each event across the country. For 2016, Team Honda HRC is pleased to have a new fully custom technical truck, which was purpose-built from the ground up by Featherlite Trailers. After 12 years with the prior trailer, Team Manager Dan Betley felt it was time to upgrade the team’s setup.
“It was really just time for an update overall,” Betley said. “The layout wasn’t great in terms of where cabinets were located and it didn’t seem like there was a specific plan for it when it was built. Also, the wiring and technology were just outdated. I think there was a lot more foresight in the development of our new trailer because everything has a purpose. We have a specific engine compartment, an area for full brake systems and everything else. It feels like there is so much extra room and compartments that we haven’t even filled yet.”
The process of creating a fully customized trailer doesn’t happen overnight. “It probably took us a full year to get it done from the initial approval to the design and building process,” Betley added. “The design process was about six months to refine the plans to exactly what we wanted. They would send us new drawings and we would make any adjustments needed then send it back to them, which continued back and forth. I tried to make this process a team effort by getting everyone involved in the thinking and logic behind what we wanted. Once we finalized a plan, the building process was about three to four months. We were scrambling to get it painted and filled before Anaheim 1, but we made it happen and are happy with the overall results.”
“I’m not really happy with tonight but sixth is still sixth, and in a stacked 450 class it could be worse. The heat race was pretty good and of course I was battling with Jason Anderson for the last transfer position, which seems to be a trend so far this season; it’s like the 250s all over again. The main was tough. I went as hard as I could for as long as I could. Those guys were applying the pressure and I was trying to not let it get to me, but once Anderson put a wheel on me I just didn’t have it. I think I was just fighting with the bike, the track and myself. Were going to go back and look at the footage to see what we need to work on and improve for next weekend.”
“It was definitely tough to walk away and not race tonight, but I think it was a smart decision. I just didn’t have the grip and overall strength in my body, with the combination of my groin and hand injuries. I think it’s dangerous for me to be out there, and I don’t want this to turn into another injury. We’re pretty much out of the championship hunt, so it seems like the smarter choice is to scratch this one and come back when we can.”
Dan Betley: Team Manager
“It was another tough night for us. We struggled throughout qualifying with Trey still not 100% and Cole just having an off day, which seemed to carry over into the night. After his hand swelled up and he was having a hard time holding on, Trey decided to call it a night to avoid the risk of hurting himself further. I think Cole rode well in his heat race and really fought for that final transfer spot. He got a decent start in the main and was running fourth until the very end, when Jason Anderson and Chad Reed got him. We have some things to work on, but we’ll take the points and move forward.”
Rich Simmons: Mechanic (Cole Seely)
“I think Cole rode well for the first half of the race but he didn’t have it for those guys toward the end. It just seemed to be an off day overall. He didn’t ride that well in practice and there were some sections that he wasn’t doing as well as the other guys during the race. It seemed like he was really just fighting the track and himself more than anything. If we can take a positive away, it’s that he got a pretty good start, but other than that we have some work to do.”
Brent Presnell: Mechanic (Trey Canard)
“My night never began, unfortunately. Trey rode practice but was still struggling from his lingering injuries, so when his hand swelled up even more after practice and he couldn’t grip well, he decided it was safer to sit it out. He was only able to ride one day this week, and he thought his hand was going to be able to hold up, but these tracks are just too beat-up for him to take that kind of abuse.”
- Ryan Dungey
- Ken Roczen
- Marvin Musquin
- Jason Anderson
- Chad Reed
- Cole Seely
- Eli Tomac
- Jacob Weimer
- Justin Brayton
- Wil Hahn
450SX Championship Points (after 4 of 17 rounds)
- Ryan Dungey 97
- Jason Anderson 75
- Chad Reed 75
- Ken Roczen 73
- Cole Seely 70
- Eli Tomac 68
- Marvin Musquin 51
- Justin Brayton 47
- Jacob Weimer 46
- Davi Millsaps 45