Seely, Craig Finish Sixth and Seventh at Southwick National2017-07-11 09:25
Held at The Wick 338 in Southwick, Massachusetts, round seven of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship saw Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely and Christian Craig put together noteworthy rides to finish sixth and seventh overall, respectively.
In moto 1, Seely scored a top-10 start, completing the first lap in ninth. He continued to push forward through the remainder of the 30-minute-plus-two-lap race, working his way into sixth by the halfway mark, then fifth by the checkered flag. Unfortunately, Craig got off to a poor start and went down on the opening lap, sending him to nearly last. For the remainder of the 16-lap race, Craig went into salvage mode, putting together an impressive come-from-behind performance, advancing from 31st to 10th. When the gate dropped on moto 2, both Red Riders got off to decent starts, rounding the first turn in 10th and 12th. By the halfway point, Seely had worked his way into sixth, and he gained one more position before finishing fifth. Craig moved into seventh on lap seven and kept the position to the finish.
The Wick 338 track is known for its deep, beach-like sand, which poses a challenge for both riders and mechanics. “This track is definitely a challenge, but I think more so for the riders than us,” said Rich Simmons, Cole Seely’s mechanic. “We do make some changes to adapt to the conditions though. We run a mesh cover over the radiators as well as a screen over the air filter to help prevent sand from building up. We run a sand tire, which has scooped knobs similar to a paddle tire. We also change the oil and clutch more often because the bikes get hotter. The suspension can be adjusted too but it’s normally smaller changes, nothing too drastic just because of the sand.”
Both Red Riders were consistent through the morning’s qualifying sessions, with Craig securing fifth with a 2’08.079” time, while Seely was ninth at 2’09.758”. Both times were posted during the day’s first session.
With another solid ride under his belt, Seely gained three positions in the championship standings, moving from 10th to seventh, with 164 points.
It was a good day for the GEICO Honda squad, as all three of their riders scored top-10 250cc class finishes aboard their CRF250Rs. Leading the charge was RJ Hampshire, who matched his career-best finish of fourth overall with 5-4 results, followed by Jeremy Martin in fifth with 4-6 marks. Rookie Chase Sexton put together his best ride of the season, taking eighth overall with 9-8 finishes.
Precision Site Work/TiLube’s Fredrik Noren, who has filled in for the factory squad in the past, also had a great day in Southwick. Despite a first-turn crash in moto 1 and a less-than-desirable start in moto two, the Swede managed to land eighth overall via 8-10 marks.
Following this race, Team Honda HRC will take a welcome weekend off before returning to action at Spring Creek Raceway in Millville, Minnesota, on July 22. Since relocating to Florida earlier this season, Seely is looking forward to spending some time at his home in Southern California. “I haven’t been back in California since before the Thunder Valley race, so I’m pretty excited to spend a weekend at home. I’ve seen my girlfriend since moving but not my dogs, so I’m honestly most excited to see them!” Seely laughed. “It’ll be just a quick trip because I’m still going to train in Florida early in the week, then fly back on Thursday.”
THE FOCUS: Race Day Routine
Most professional racers live very structured lives and have a specific routine or schedule for each day of the week. That includes race days, during which each athlete has his own program to help him perform at an optimal level, diet being an important component. “I always try to eat things that I know won’t upset my stomach,” Cole Seely explained. “Over the years I’ve learned which foods will agree with my body on a race day and which ones won’t. For breakfast I’ll try to stick with oatmeal or eggs, maybe even both. Immediately after I get off the bike after each session, I’ll eat a banana to refuel my body before also having either a Cliff bar, peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, or smoothie. For lunch I stick with plain grilled chicken, sweet potato, rice, and avocado, which gives me the protein, carbs, and fats I need. We’re putting our bodies through so much that it’s important we eat the right foods.”
Seely touched on his physical routine as well: “Warming up your body is also really important on race day. There’s so much strength involved when riding that you can’t just jump on the bike and go out there. After the riders’ meeting, I’ll go into the lounge and do some stretching and balance movements that I know will warm me up and get a little sweat going. I have my [stationary] bicycle too, which is a pretty traditional way of warming up, so sometimes I’ll do both. I’ve also been taking some new supplements that I’ve learned about from my new trainer Blake Savage. They’re things that have worked well for him and have also worked with Kenny [Roczen] since they’ve been working together.”
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Cole Seely 14
It just feels good to have some progress and better results after my move to Florida. I sacrificed a lot to do that so it’s good to see it’s working out. This is just the start of it though, and I think I’ll continue to get better and stronger throughout the end of the summer and especially going into Supercross. I didn’t qualify great but I felt like I was riding good and was excited with the changes we made to the bike. I’ve been struggling with setup on this new chassis during outdoors. It’s a learning process of trial and error, so we’re trying different things but I was happy with the setting we chose today. I felt solid in both motos and didn’t make any changes between races, going 5-5 for sixth. I’m kind of mad I didn’t end up fifth overall but I guess that’s how it works out. I was really only three points from the podium.
Christian Craig 48
Southwick was pretty decent for me. I was able to put in two consistent motos but struggled on the starts. I'm not used to sand starts so I kind of had to change things up and wasn't where I usually am. In the first moto I came around in 31st and was able to work my way up to 10th. I was happy with how I pushed through the pack. In the second moto I started in 12th and worked my way up to 7th. I felt stronger this weekend but still have work to do with strengthening my hand. This next weekend off will be good for my hand, as well as putting in work on and off the track. I’m looking forward to Millville, which is kind of like a home race for me because I lived there for two years. I've spent a lot of time on that track so it will be fun to be back.
For what’s considered arguably the toughest track of the series, I think both riders did good today. Cole likes this track and has done well here in the past so it was good to see him put together two solid rides. We really thought he was going to get fifth overall but he tied with [Martin] Davalos and ended up getting sixth. I was hoping our starts could’ve been a little better for both guys but they each made passes early and stayed pretty consistent throughout the motos. We still need to work on building their endurance toward the very end of the races but overall it was good today.
Mechanic (Cole Seely)
I’m happy with today’s outcome and think Cole rode well. I’m bummed he didn’t end up fifth overall like we thought but this is probably the strongest and most consistent he’s ridden in both motos all season. We made some good progress on the bike today but I still think we’re going to head to Florida after the weekend off and do some testing. We’ll continue to dial things in during this break and hopefully gain more momentum at Millville.
Mechanic (Christian Craig)
We made steps in the right direction today and can definitely build off this. Unfortunately he got two bad starts and went down in the first moto but the positive is he still managed to put together two top-10 finishes and finish seventh overall. That’s his best overall finish so far this season. We made some changes to the shock to make it a little better in the sand, which ended up being positive.
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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