Round 8 of the AMA Supercross series marked the first of two back-to-back stops at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, and for Team Honda HRC it also marked the point at which Trey Canard advanced to second place in the points standings, thanks to yet another podium finish. In addition, Cole Seely rebounded after a tough race at the previous round to finish a solid fourth.
Canard turned in another strong ride aboard his factory Honda CRF450R, earning a heat-race win before bringing home a third-place finish in the final. Although a poor start left Canard unable to fight for the win, he rode an impressive race, advancing from outside the top 10 to third by the time he reached the checkered flag. Seely qualified through his semi race and sat fifth after the first of 20 laps in the main, then eventually worked his way into fourth behind his teammate.
- The evening before the race, Team Honda HRC riders Trey Canard and Cole Seely, along with GEICO Honda riders Eli Tomac, Justin Bogle, RJ Hampshire, Jordan Smith and Malcolm Stewart visited Douglasville, Georgia’s Freewheeling Honda for an autograph signing.
- Team Honda HRC was pleased to host Keisuke Inomoto, Representative Director for HRC Motocross, at the first Atlanta Supercross. Following several post-race meetings on Monday at American Honda’s Torrance, California, headquarters, Inomoto will return to Japan and then head to Losail, Qatar, to be with Team HRC on February 27 for the opening round of the MXGP series.
- For the second time this season, Canard qualified on pole during timed practice, this time by logging a 48.380-second lap. Tomac secured second with 48.628, while Seely was seventh at 49.383. Canard was also the fastest man in the main event, laying down a blistering time of 48.811. Atlanta 1 was the track with the lowest times so far this season.
- If asked to describe the Atlanta Supercross, most riders and mechanics would mention the unique, red dirt that is used to construct the track. “Atlanta is weird because you never know what kind of Georgia clay you’re going to get,” explained Brent Presnell, Canard’s mechanic. “Tonight it was really hard and slippery, but there was still some moisture. It’s definitely not the famous old-school Georgia clay we used to see, whether that’s due to how it’s stored or the weather, but it was really dry and hard-packed out there tonight.”
- Seely and Canard were two of only four riders to do an incredible “quad” jump after a section of whoops, launching the last four rollers all the way into the following corner. “I didn’t do the quad in the main event,” Seely said. “The line never seemed to form during the night, so it was pretty tricky. During practice though, both Trey and I did it, but we didn’t know the others had done it. I was kind of stoked to have a secret line heading into the night—but it wasn’t [laughs]! I just came around that thing and had a ton of speed out of the whoops, pulled up and made it. I made it two or three times after that too.”
- Consistency has paid off for Canard, and in Atlanta he used another podium finish, along with a bad night by Ken Roczen, to take over second in the championship hunt, 25 points behind points-leader Ryan Dungey. Tomac and Seely remain in fourth and sixth, with 115 and 111 points, respectively. Only five points separate fourth through seventh in the standings.
- The Honda Red Riders will return to the Georgia Dome next weekend for the second and final stop in Atlanta.
THE FOCUS: Noren Prepares for Motocross
For Fredrik Noren, often referred to as “Fast Freddy,” the past eight months have been a whirlwind. After a successful stint as a substitute rider with the factory Honda team during the latter part of the 2014 AMA Motocross season, the Swede was chosen to be the squad’s official test and fill-in rider for 2015. Noren campaigned the first six AMA Supercross rounds in the 450SX class, for MotoSport.com/Crossland Honda, but now duty calls for outdoor testing to begin.
“Freddy wanted to ride some Supercross, and we wanted him to get his feet wet,” said Team Honda HRC manager Dan Betley. “He has never really ridden much Supercross, so I think for all of us it was more of a learning experience to see how he would do on a 450. The most important thing was we didn’t want to see him get hurt, because the plan for him moving forward is to do some testing for us in preparation for outdoors. Right now, his bike has been turned into a test bike, and he’s going to be doing some endurance testing on engine parts for us. Then when he’s up to speed and more acclimated to motocross, he’ll move into some chassis testing.”
Betley also noted that fans can expect to see Noren back in action this year, as the plan is for him to return to racing at the Hangtown AMA Motocross opener. “Freddy will still be racing under the MotoSport.com/Crossland Honda umbrella, but he’s on standby for the factory team in case any of our riders get hurt. He’ll be our guy to come over and fill in.”
“Not a bad night at all. I’m happy to be on the podium again, and to have moved into second in points, but it was a bummer to get another bad start. I just moved forward and did the best that I could, which is all we can ask for. I was riding really aggressive, but I think you have to when you’re that far back. I started to catch them a little when I got into third, but it was basically cat-and-mouse all the way to the end. I think the bike was working great in the main event, so hopefully we can keep that going into next week and come out strong.”
“I got tangled with another rider and went down in the first turn of my heat race, and I just had flashbacks of last weekend when I had to go through the LCQ. I kind of went into panic mode, because I didn’t want to let that happen! From there on out, I felt like I turned it up a notch. I got a decent start in the main event by sneaking to the inside of everyone in the turn. I came out sixth or seventh and then just tried working my way forward. When Trey passed me, I just tried to stay on him to see his lines, and we moved forward together.”
Keisuke Inomoto: Representative Director- Team HRC Motocross
“Tonight was not so bad for us. Trey had a pretty good race, even after a bad start, and Cole also rode well to finish in the top five. We still had problems with our starts, so hopefully we can figure that out soon and improve. Trey’s podium finish was good though. Now he’s second in points and in the hunt for the championship, which is where he should be.”
Dan Betley: Team Manager
“Overall, the day was pretty good. We showed good speed in practice, won a heat race and finished with one rider on the podium and another in the top five. Cole had to go to the semi, but all in all I think everyone did a good job and was pretty much on-point. In the main event, we got some mediocre-to-bad starts again, so we really need to figure that out. Trey was on fire coming though the pack; he was catching first and second but just came up a little short. He also moved into second in points, which is a great step. Every week, he’s gaining more and more confidence with his riding and our bike. I’m really happy with the progress Cole has been making, and he’s really becoming a big asset to the team.”
Brent Presnell: Mechanic (Trey Canard)
“Trey was fast all day and especially fast in the main event, but he just started too far back and couldn’t get up to the leaders. We really need to figure out our starts. He got tangled with some other riders going down the start straight and was kind of banging bars, which pushed him toward the back. He was able to work his way up to third, but I don’t believe he’s all that happy with that. It’s kind of funny because that used to be good for him, but now, with a couple wins, he knows what he’s capable of and has that fire in him to win.”
Rich Simmons: Mechanic (Cole Seely)
“We got a fourth tonight, which is a good rebound after last weekend. I think Cole rode well; he’s just a little off the pace of those guys up front. He made some good passes and was able to get behind Trey and kind of work his way up, but I think he needs to work on having a little more aggression at the beginning of the race.”
1. Chad Reed
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Trey Canard Team Honda HRC
4. Cole Seely Team Honda HRC
5. Weston Peick
6. Broc Tickle
7. Jason Anderson
8. Blake Baggett
9. Andrew Short
10. Joshua Grant
11. Phillip Nicoletti
12. David Millsaps
13. Mike Alessi
14. Josh Hill
15. Jacob Weimer
16. Kyle Chisholm
17. Nicholas Wey
18. Ken Roczen
19. Zackery Freeberg
20. Eli Tomac GEICO Honda
21. Ronnie Stewart
22. Cade Clason
450SX Championship Points (after 8 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Dungey 174
2. Trey Canard 149
3. Ken Roczen 143
4. Eli Tomac 115
5. Jason Anderson 114
6. Cole Seely 111
7. Chad Reed 110
8. Blake Baggett 99
9. Andrew Short 94
10. Broc Tickle 78
11. Justin Barcia 71
12. David Millsaps 65
13. Jacob Weimer 61
14. Weston Peick 49
15. Joshua Grant 41
16. Mike Alessi 40
17. Brett Metcalfe 40
18. Phil Nicoletti 33
19. Kyle Chisholm 33
20. Josh Hill 32