Thrilling Victory for Canard in San Diego2015-02-09 10:57
Team Honda HRC turned in a dream performance at round six of the AMA Supercross series, with Trey Canard leading all but three of the 450SX main event’s 20 laps to post the first premier-class Supercross win at Petco Field. The Oklahoman showed excellent racecraft in San Diego, emerging from the first turn near the front despite a so-so jump from the gate, making a smooth pass to take an early lead, and then holding off repeated challenges from Ken Roczen to earn the victory. The night also saw Cole Seely top the second heat race, and with GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac winning the first heat, the Red Riders were unstoppable. Tomac and Seely were fifth and sixth, respectively, in the main event.
Canard’s triumph was his second of the young season, the first having come in round four at Oakland. With Tomac’s round-two win in Phoenix, Honda CRF450Rs have topped half of the season’s races thus far.
For 2015, the FOX Sports 1 showBehind the Dreamexpanded to eight episodes, one of which will showcase Team Honda HRC and its riders, Trey Canard and Cole Seely. The show gives viewers an inside look at the lives of the sport’s elite athletes and teams. Thursday before San Diego, Canard and Seely spent time with the show’s production crew filming the episode, which will air later this season.
Ahead of Saturday’s Military Appreciation Race, Canard and Seely spent a portion of their Friday on one of the area’s local Navy bases touring the USSPeleliu, aTarawa-class amphibious assault ship. During the tour, riders were able to see the ship’s flight deck, mess hall, berthing and anchor room before signing autographs for the sailors on board.
The substantial increase in Honda Racing Corporation’s involvement with American Honda’s AMA Supercross effort this season is well known, and the results have been positive so far. Team Honda HRC was pleased to host HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto for round six, and following the daytime qualifying program, Mr. Nakamoto took time out of his day to meet with members of the media at the team’s hospitality rig. “HRC’s dream is to win all of the major championships,” Nakamoto said. “In motocross, this series is the most important, so that’s why we started this activity again.”
Seely and Canard were slotted in the second heat race at San Diego, and when the gate dropped, both Team Honda HRC riders were at the front of the pack. Seely took over the lead on the opening lap, while Canard settled into third. That’s where they finished, earning direct transfers to the main event.
Canard’s best lap in the main event was 55.568, making him the only rider to drop into the 55-second range.
Entering the San Diego round, Canard was tied for third in the championship points standings, and his win gave him sole possession of the position, 18 points behind leader Ryan Dungey. Seely advanced one spot to sixth, and Tomac currently sits fourth.
The Team Honda HRC riders were prepared for a short week following the San Diego race, as they will participate in Thursday’s press day ahead of the Arlington, Texas, round. It will be a busy event for Seely and Canard, who will also visit DFW Honda on Friday for an autograph session.
THE FOCUS: HRC Worlds Collide
On Tuesday prior to the San Diego Supercross, Team HRC Rally racers Joan Barreda and Jeremias Israel paid a visit to the Team Honda HRC test track in Corona, California. Fresh off of January’s Dakar Rally in South America, the Spaniard and Chilean are spending time vacationing in Southern California. Both went to Anaheim 3, and Israel—who campaigned selected AMA Motocross rounds from 2000 to 2003—also attended the San Diego race before returning home. “I used to live here, so it’s nice to come visit friends, see some of the Supercross races and get away from the press and craziness for a little bit,” Israel said. “I’m always following the series and rooting for these guys, checking updates on Twitter and re-watching the races on YouTube.”
At the test track, Trey Canard and Eli Tomac spent time chatting with Barreda and Israel about their respective racing disciplines and the challenges that come with them. “I’ve never known much about the Dakar Rally or ever followed it, but after hearing more about what they do, I couldn’t even image doing it,” Canard said. “Riding stages of 600 miles, or holding it wide open from one mountain range to another while not knowing what’s in front of you is just crazy. The only thing you have to go off is a road book that shows the course.”
The 2015 Dakar event finished on January 17, with Israel earning second overall and Barreda having topped four stages. Now, the team has its sights set on next year’s race, and they’ll have plenty of opportunities to prepare. “We both ride motocross as part of our training, but there are other series and races we can ride,” Israel said. “There’s the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, which starts soon, but there’s also a series in South America that’s operated by the same organization that puts on the Dakar. We’ll race certain ones depending on if the course runs in the areas where the next Dakar will run or not. It’s all about preparation and planning, and these are great opportunities for testing and training.”
Trey Canard 41
“It was an awesome day. I had a big scare in practice when I had to jump over the handlebars. That could’ve been a lot worse, but man, I’m stoked with how things went. I didn’t get a great jump on the start, but I was able to get through on the inside. Kenny [Roczen] was riding really well behind me. I felt like I pulled out on him a little bit, and then he reeled me back in. It’s really tough because you want to charge but you don’t want to make mistakes. You try to block everything out, but you hear him and you hear the crowd, which makes you a little more anxious. I wasn’t really happy with laps 10 to 15, but I think I did a good job on the last five. It just feels good to win again, and the vibe is awesome. I’ve been on this team for a long time now, and there have been some nights where we hung our heads. I’m so happy to be a part of this now, where everyone is so excited. It shows also with how Eli and Cole are riding.”
Cole Seely 14
“After coming off a second last weekend, this wasn’t what I was looking for, but it was still a good night and I’m happy with sixth. I had a few bad laps there in the beginning. On the first lap, I almost got taken out by another rider and had to roll the triple, then the next lap I got cross-rutted in one of the sections and landed on a Tuff Block. The bike just came to a stop and I hit my chest on the cross-bar pad, knocking the wind out of myself. After that it was hard to keep my form and hit all my marks, but I did my best and tried to fight through the field. There are a lot of fast guys out there, so I feel like this is still a good position for my rookie year.”
Technical Director: Team Honda HRC Motocross
“We had another good night, with Canard getting his second win of the season. His starts have been improving and he had a decent one this time again. He passed the guys in front and took the lead early on, then kept the position until the end despite pressure from behind throughout the race. Tomac and Seely also showed they had the speed throughout the night but in the main event, both had some problems at the beginning and lost positions before coming back to finish fifth and sixth, respectively. With Canard’s win, the championship points got a little closer, and we’ll try to keep this momentum as we head east next week. Thank you very much for your support!”
“Trey got a little pinched off at the start, but he was able to sneak on through on the inside, which he’s been really good at this year. Then he just rode strong to the finish and held on for the win. Cole’s just progressing also, becoming more comfortable in the class. He got a bad start and then had a little mishap when he landed on a Tuff Block and hit his chest on the handlebar. That kind of knocked the wind out of him, but I think he recovered well for sixth, and he had an awesome win in the heat race. The team has been picking up momentum since the beginning of the year. I really like what I see in terms of the progression and how everyone’s evolving, and I think it’s going to continue—we’re in a good place right now. It was also nice to get a win with Mr. Nakamoto here. I love the spirit of all the HRC guys; they’re totally into racing, and they really support our effort.”
Mechanic (Trey Canard)
“Tonight was awesome. Trey’s starts were good, and in the main he got out front and controlled the race, so it was good. I would’ve preferred a bigger gap at the end, but we’ll take the win! He seems to be getting some momentum going. I think the more he keeps running up front, the more comfortable he’s going to be in that situation, so hopefully it’ll get a little easier.”
Mechanic (Cole Seely)
“The heat race was good. Cole was actually a little bummed even though he won because he said he made a lot of mistakes and just didn’t ride the way he wanted to. On the first lap of the main, he had to single through the big triple, and he was worried about getting landed on. He lost some momentum and made a few mistakes here and there. Maybe he was trying to push a little too hard, and with tracks like this, if you ride over your head, everybody’s so close on times that it allows guys to get on the inside of you and make the pass. Still, sixth place isn’t bad for how the main event went. It was an up-and-down night, but we’ll learn from the mistakes and move on.”
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