Roczen and Seely on surviving the San Diego mud
The muddy conditions that followed an afternoon and evening of rain for round five of the AMA Supercross series at San Diego’s Petco Park made things extremely difficult, but Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen fought through the shortened 15-minute-plus-one-lap 450SX main event before taking the checkered flag in third. When the gate dropped, Roczen rocketed his CRF450R down the sludge-covered start straight, securing the holeshot. Unfortunately, he went down in slippery turn two, falling to fifth.
The German quickly regained his composure, moving up to fourth by the completion of the first lap. Roczen then took advantage of a mechanical issue by Justin Barcia and a mistake by Justin Bogle to move into second, but was overtaken by Marvin Musquin on the final lap.
It was a challenging event for Roczen’s teammate Cole Seely, who got off to a poor start and was left covered in mud as a result, prompting an early visit to the mechanics area for a fresh pair of goggles. After returning to action, Seely struggled to stay upright on the treacherous track, falling twice during the 12-lap race before finishing in 14thplace.
On Friday, Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely and Ken Roczen were joined by GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo for an autograph session at Del Amo of South Bay, where hundreds of fans turned out to meet their favorite riders.
For the first time this season, officials opted to revise the schedule, prompted by rain leading up to the race and an ominous forecast. The free-practice session and first timed practice session were cancelled, leaving riders with only one opportunity to qualify into the evening program. Seely and Roczen scored the 11thand 12th-quickest times.
The amended schedule left riders with plenty of downtime considering that after the mandatory 11 a.m. riders’ meeting, the next real activity was a 3:45 p.m. track walk. “We did a lot of sitting around today,” Roczen said. “With how the weather ended up, we could have done our track walk and one qualifying practice earlier in the day and it would have been good. Instead, they uncovered it right before track walk and it started pouring. It was brutal.”
Once again, San Diego featured a Military Appreciation theme, with bikes and riders donning special graphics and gear to show their support. Throttle Jockey created individual custom schemes that coordinated with Seely’s and Roczen’s gear. Fans can purchase their own Team Honda HRC military graphics at www.ThrottleJockey.com.
It was a challenging night for GEICO Honda’s 250SX West region riders. Cameron McAdoo struggled around the mud-covered track to finish ninth, while teammate RJ Hampshire placed 15thafter running a solid pace, crashing, and fighting to remount his bike in the thick sludge.
This coming Saturday, Team Honda HRC will head east to campaign round six of the AMA Supercross series, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the 250SX class, this will mark the opening round for the Eastern regional series. On Friday, Honda Red Riders will make an appearance at Shakopee’s Cities Edge Motorsports, starting at 6 p.m.
Ken Roczen 94
“Today was a really weird day. We didn’t even get on the track until after 5 p.m. and only had the one qualifying practice. I got 12th, which wasn’t great, but the conditions were absolutely brutal. I got off to a pretty good start in the heat race and ended up winning, which was great. Going into the main and being able to pick whatever gate I wanted was huge. I got off to such a good start, it was crazy, and actually almost went down in the first turn because it was so slippery but pulled it off; then I actually went down in the second turn, which I was really bummed about. In those conditions, you don’t want to be anywhere but in the front. Going back to fourth or so was not what I wanted and just made it harder on me. I thought I was third most of the time but I guess I was second, and then Marvin [Musquin] got by me with just a turn left so I was pretty bummed. There was so much craziness going on, you can lose 10 seconds in a lap—or gain it, for that matter. I’m glad to be on the podium and be getting out of here safe. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten out of the West Coast healthy, so I’m happy about that and looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Cole Seely 14
“Man, tonight was brutal. It was definitely one of the toughest mud races I’ve ever raced. With the rain schedule, we had a lot of downtime and it was a pretty long day, just sitting around. We didn’t even ride until past 5 p.m. for qualifying, but I actually had fun and felt like I was riding pretty good. Unfortunately, I had some issues in my heat, barely transferring and giving me a terrible gate pick for the main. I didn’t get the best start in the main, so I had to come in after a few laps for new googles, then went down a couple times. It was pretty much survival out there. Definitely not the result I wanted, but it’s still early in the season. We’re heading into dome stadiums, so hopefully I can get back to where I know I can be.”
“Tonight went really good for Kenny. His holeshot in the main event was awesome. In conditions like we had tonight, a lot of things could go bad, so coming out of here with a podium and only four points out of the championship is very successful. I know he’s upset about losing second on the final lap, but there are more positives to take away. Cole had a tough night, going down in the main event. He didn’t have a great starting position from the heat, so he had to go far outside, which could have gone in his favor but it ended up not. I don’t think the muddy conditions are Cole’s favorite.”
Mechanic (Ken Roczen)
“We survived another ‘mudder.’ It was a good night for Ken, even with the super-gnarly conditions. He won his heat race and then ripped an awesome holeshot in the main. Unfortunately, he went down in the second turn. From there he was about fourth or fifth and worked his way up to second. It was a bummer he ended up getting passed with only a few turns left, but I think to be even top-five is great with these conditions.”
Mechanic (Cole Seely)
“Once again, it was a tough night. It was a weird day, just with the schedule and the mud. Cole felt good in practice but just struggled during the night program. He got bad starts in the heat and main, then had a couple tip-overs, so it wasn’t the best. It was our worst result of the season so far, which was a bummer. We have a few dome stadiums coming up, so hopefully we can get back to some normal racing and getting him where he needs to be.”
Words and Pics: Honda