Success at San Diego for Honda
It was a solid night for Team Honda HRC at the AMA Supercross series’ second and final visit of the season to downtown San Diego’s Petco Park, with teammates Cole Seely and Trey Canard turning in impressive rides aboard their CRF450R race machines. Both Seely and Canard had strong starts and were running 2-3 for over half of the 20-lap main event. Seely set a strong pace, gapping most of the competition before taking the checkered flag in the runner-up spot. This marked his best finish yet of 2016, complementing his back-to-back third-place results at the start of the season. Canard continued to ride well too, but faltered in the latter stages and relinquished two spots to finish fifth.
•The day before the military appreciation race, Trey Canard and Cole Seely joined a group of fellow racers aboard the USS Midway for a chance to check out the decommissioned aircraft carrier located in San Diego’s harbor. They spent nearly an hour and a half on the ship’s deck, scoping out the planes and talking with Navy veterans who were formerly stationed onboard. “The Midway was awesome,” Canard said. “I didn’t even get to look at the rest of the ship because there was this guy giving a presentation who had flown off that exact carrier almost 500 times, and he was showing us how they land and catch cables. I must have sat there for an hour listening to the guy. He was just happy to be on a ship that he had flown off and tell the story about his experience. It was the coolest part, for sure.”
•For the second San Diego race, Team Honda HRC was pleased to host Honda Racing Corporation Representative Director Keisuke Inomoto and many other engineers from Japan. It was Mr. Inomoto’s second time attending a supercross race this season.
•The team was happy to welcome back Canard and GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle, both of whom had been sidelined by injuries for several weeks. “It was great to have all our riders out there today,” said team manager Dan Betley. “Trey and Justin have had a tough start to the season, but they both have the speed and I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season progresses for them.”
•Once again, competition was fierce during the daytime qualifying practice, as less than a second separated the top 12 riders. Seely was able to secure sixth place with a time of 59.237 seconds, which was recorded in the second timed session, while Canard was 10th with 59.454 from the first session.
•For the third time this season, Seely, Canard and Bogle were all seeded together in 450SX heat 1. When the gate dropped, Bogle got off to a second-place start, with Seely in tow. By the end of the six-lap race, Seely had moved into second, transferring directly into the main event, while Bogle and Canard finished fifth and sixth, respectively, forcing them to transfer through their respective semis.
•After his solid second-place finish in the main, Seely moved up two spots in the championship standings to fourth, with 105 points.
•On race day, Rich Simmons and Grant Hutcheson (mechanics for Seely and Bogle, respectively) met with a large group of students from the local Motorcycle Mechanics Institute campus and gave them a glimpse of life as a factory wrench. Later that evening, Simmons was also awarded the MMI Top Tech award for his stellar work.
•It will be another short week for Team Honda HRC, as they head to Arlington, Texas, early to take part in Thursday’s press activities. In addition to meeting with regional media, Seely and Canard will visit the Dallas Children’s Hospital on Friday to spend time with patients in the oncology center.
THE FOCUS: Showing Appreciation
Round six of the season marked the third annual military appreciation race in San Diego, where the industry honored the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the United States armed forces. Team Honda HRC showed full support by donning their CRF450Rs in all-white plastics, with custom-designed digital camouflage graphics created by Throttle Jockey. Each bike showcased special details, including emblems for every branch of military on the front fender, as well as grenades next to the rider’s name, representing each of his career 450SX wins.
“It’s great, and in actuality, it’s such a small thing,” Canard said of the event. “I mean, all we’re doing is putting different stickers on our bikes and wearing different gear, which is so minute compared to what the members of the military have done and continue to do for us. This is the least we can do. I hope they feel appreciated because we really just have to say thank you to all of the people who have served and put their lives on the line.”
That said, Canard admitted he enjoyed the special liveries. “I think the bikes looked great. It’s awesome to see every team’s twist on it, but I liked our bikes the best. I think it was great that they tried to incorporate a few different things here and there to make them even more special. It was really cool.”
Cole Seely 14
“I’m happy with how everything went tonight, and I’m pumped to have gotten my best finish of the season so far. I feel like I put in some solid laps; unfortunately, [Ryan] Dungey doesn’t make many mistakes, so I could only gain a little bit on him here or there, but nothing major. I feel like this is where I deserve to be each and every weekend, so I’m glad to be back on the podium. I have to give it up to my team because they’ve been working hard between races to go back and evaluate data to make needed adjustments and perfect the bike even more. We closed the gaps in some areas and the biked was on point tonight, so I was really happy.”
Trey Canard 41
“I’m happy with tonight, but I’m also not happy. It wasn’t a stellar night by any means but I really needed this to build any momentum that I can. It’s hard to bring yourself back up after continuing to have setbacks, and I know this wasn’t great but I feel good about it. I don’t think any racer is truly content until they’re winning. I was feeling really good before the halfway point and was hanging with Cole, trying to pull up on him, but I made a mistake so [Ken] Roczen and [Jason] Anderson got by. [Eli] Tomac was putting a lot of pressure on me the last few laps, but I tried to ride my own race and stay focused on myself until the end and was able to hold him off.”
Representative Director: Team Honda/ HRC Motocross
“Tonight was a good night. The track was very slippery and difficult but both Cole and Trey rode well and pushed themselves until the end of the race, which gave us positive momentum for the rest of the series. Trey rode especially well and managed the situation after missing two races due to a hand injury. I expect their results will improve more from here.”
“I’m pretty happy with the night overall. Trey returned and we’re back on the podium where I think we belong. Our equipment is really good; we’ve made some positive adjustments to both riders’ bikes and everything is running solid. We were running 2-3 for a while there and I was hoping we could keep it together, but unfortunately we couldn’t hold it to the end. All in all I’m really happy; both guys ended up with some good starts after the first turn and rode solid throughout the main.”
Mechanic (Cole Seely)
“Everything went pretty good. Cole was more aggressive, got two good starts, rode well in his heat and was really strong in the main compared to what he has been so far this year. We just need to keep improving each week so we can win one of these things. We made some changes to the bike before last weekend’s race and then continued to fine-tune them this week and today. Normally he just says he’s good with the bike and just rides it, but today we took the initiative to suggest some changes that ended up being very positive. We also went a little more aggressive on the map, which was his call and I think it helped.”
Mechanic (Trey Canard)
“I think tonight went great. I mean, we want to do better than fifth but considering this is Trey’s first 20-lap race since the last time we were in San Diego, I’d say that’s pretty good. He was running the lead pace and was up front the first half of the race, but he just fell off the pace a little bit and made some mistakes the second half. He was in a battle and fighting the entire race so that was really good and shows a lot.”