Seely Secures Season-Best Fifth Overall at Houston Triple Crown, Roczen 10th2019-04-01 09:08
Round 13 of the AMA Supercross series, in Houston, marked the third and final Triple Crown event of the season, and while it was a rollercoaster night for Team Honda HRC, the squad was pleased to see Cole Seely put together his best event of the year to post fifth-place overall with 4-4-11 marks. Teammate Ken Roczen experienced highs and lows throughout the night, notching 1-21-8 results for 10thoverall.
In the night’s first of three 450SX races, Roczen grabbed the holeshot and early lead aboard his CRF450R, quickly pulling away from the rest of the field. Seely also got off to a good start, sitting sixth after the first lap. The Californian worked his way into fifth on lap five before gaining one more position to take the checkered flag in fourth. Meanwhile, Roczen rode smooth and confident up front, leading the entire 16-lap race to take a convincing win. In race two, Seely came out even stronger, rounding the first turn in the top five and quickly moving into the third, then second on lap six. Through the final four minutes, Seely relinquished two spots, finishing in fourth. Unfortunately, Roczen got tangled up with another rider’s rear wheel in the first turn, sending him to the ground hard. He remounted but was unable to complete the race. The German was quickly evaluated in the Alpinestars Mobile Medical, where it was determined there was no serious injury, and Roczen made the decision to line up for the third race. In that race, Seely scored a seventh-place start, with Roczen outside the top 10. Seely lost several positions before a last-lap crash left him 11thon the night, while Roczen advanced, salvaging eighth place by the checkered flag.
On Friday night, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen and Cole Seely made their way to Wild West Motoplex in Katy, Texas, for a pre-race autograph session, where hundreds of fans came out to meet and get pictures with their favorite Red Riders. Also in attendance were GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo, as well as MotoConcept’s Mike Alessi and Ben Lamay, plus BWR Honda riders Tyler Enticknap, Carlen Gardner and Cade Autenrieth.
The day started on a positive note, with Roczen dominating qualifying practice, securing the quickest time in both sessions and ultimately topping the field with his 47.386” lap time. Seely also showed impressive speed early in the day, grabbing the sixth-fastest time of 48.082” in the opening session.
On race day, former Team Honda HRC racer and current test rider Trey Canard joined Jim Holley and Daniel Blair on RaceDay Live to chat about his new role with the team. Then once practice had concluded, Seely also made an appearance on the show to discuss his 2015 victory in Houston and recap his comeback season so far.
Before the night’s opening ceremonies, both Seely and Roczen got to meet NASCAR’s #17 driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who is a fan of the sport and flew to NRG Stadium Saturday morning to watch the action prior to his own race at Texas Motor Speedway the following day.
Following the Houston round, Team Honda HRC said goodbye to longtime crewmember Jason Haines. Over his 14-year career with American Honda, Haines wrenched for riders including Ernesto Fonseca, Andrew Short, Josh Grant, Justin Brayton and more before being named crew chief. Before the night program, team members surprised him with a custom Fox jersey that was signed by the crew and riders as a token of their appreciation. Everyone at Honda wishes “Gothic Jay” the best in his future endeavors outside the motorcycle industry.
It was a stellar evening in the 250SX Western Region class for GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire, who rode consistently all night to score his first podium finish since his rookie year, with 3-2-4 marks for second overall. Teammate Cameron McAdoo also had a noteworthy event, finishing sixth overall with 9-6-5 scores. The two will have a one-week hiatus as the 250SX East Region class contests the Nashville round.
After only competing in one of the Triple Crown races in 2018 and now finishing out the third of this season, Seely said he enjoys the format but still feels that the races are too long. “I like the format overall because it’s good to see the sport is evolving and doing something different,” Cole said, “but I think there are too many laps right now and it needs to be refined a little. A 12-minutes-plus-one race still turned out to be 16 laps in each main event tonight, which is 42 laps, total. We used to do 20-lap mains, so essentially we’re doing almost that three times in a night. I also don’t think people at home or in the stands realize how fast things go. From the time we get off the track to when we’re heading back down to the line from the next race, it’s only 30 minutes, if that. To get cooled down, fueled and rehydrated in that time frame is tough.”
Next, the series heads to Nashville for round 14. It will be a short week for Team Honda HRC, as Seely will participate in a local media tour on Thursday before he and Roczen get an opportunity to ride the track on Friday. Then Friday evening, Seely will be guest of honor at the Grand Ole Opry with his aunt Jeannie Seely, a country-music singer.
Cole Seely 14
“Tonight was pretty good. I finally finished in the top five, which is where I feel like I should’ve been all year. The way things have been going so far have been frustrating, and it’s hard to explain; the toll the injury took on me last year was a lot more intense and in-depth than I thought it was. It’s been a long road to get back to here but I feel like I’ve had speed all year, I just haven’t been able to put it all together. The results haven’t been translating into how well I think I really have ridden most of the year. It feels good to finally break into that top five and run up front with those guys in the first two mains, relatively easy, too. I know it’s not a traditional 20-minute main but it felt like it was coming to me pretty easy, so that’s definitely a confidence booster heading into the final rounds. It’s a bummer it’s taken this long to come around, but I’m happy it did and we’re going to keep working forward.”
Ken Roczen 94
“The first main event tonight was seriously so good! We grabbed a great start and got out front right away, pulling a 10-second gap on the rest of the field. It was amazing to see the checkered flag before anyone else; unfortunately, it was only in one main. In the second one, I got tangled up with Dean’s [Wilson] rear wheel and went down pretty hard. I smashed my toe and originally thought I had an ankle injury but luckily that wasn’t the case. My bike was also so bent up after the crash. I got checked out and it actually started to feel better, instead of worse, after 15 to 20 minutes. That was good but my toe was still in a lot of pain. Luckily I was able to just jump back on the bike and do what I could in the third main, salvaging an eighth-place and getting 10th overall. It’s not really how we wanted to end tonight, especially with how well the day and first race went, but again we’re healthy and moving on to the next one. At one point, it will come.
“Tonight was definitely a rollercoaster night but there were positives to take away for both guys. Starting off that first main event, both guys rode awesome; Kenny had a strong and convincing win and Cole rode strong to get fourth. Everything was looking really good. In the second one, Kenny obviously went down in the start and couldn’t continue. We’re very happy that something wasn’t seriously wrong with his foot or ankle, and after getting looked at by Alpinestars, he decided to give the third race a shot. Cole rode good again in the second race but then lost some momentum and steam in the third. He’s still working forward and building his confidence, and I think a fifth-overall tonight is great and something to build on. Ken dug deep for that last one and I think it really shows his mental toughness. He knows how it works in a championship hunt and even though he’s a little ways back, every point counts and you have to do whatever it takes, which is what he showed tonight.”
Mechanic (Cole Seely)
“Today was good for Cole; we kind of know that this format suits his style a little more. He was pretty consistent all day, qualifying sixth and finishing fifth in the first two mains. He put himself in a good position off the start in those first mains and was able to run the pace of those guys. He was even able to pass and battle with Marvin [Musquin] and Eli [Tomac], which is encouraging. Unfortunately, in the third one, his start wasn’t as good. He still had a little fight in him but I think he was also getting tired and then had a crash at the end that caused him to lose some spots and finish 11th. He held on enough for fifth overall, which is his best of the season so we’ll take the positive and go again next weekend. Bike-wise, he was happy. After going back to a previous setting in Indy that we had run for the majority of the season, he’s been good. He rode well on it in Seattle and here in Houston, so we didn’t make any changes today and he’s happy where he’s at.”
Mechanic (Ken Roczen)
“Tonight had a lot of ups and downs. The day started really great, with Ken riding awesome in qualifying and scoring the fastest time in both sessions. He was happy with the bike, looking relaxed and having fun. That translated into the first main, where he got the holeshot and kind of checked out, just riding his own race up front. Then he went down in the first turn of the second race and that was a bummer. I thought our night was over. While he was getting checked out, I took the bike back to immediately start fixing it up just in case he could ride. Even though we have the extra bike, we decided not to use it and just fix the first one up. It was all hands on deck, which was good because we got confirmation that he was going to race the third main; he’s a tough dude. In the third main, he didn’t get a great start from the far outside but still worked his way into eighth. I think he was just salvaging as many points and positions as possible at that point but he still rode well, considering. On to Nashville.”
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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