For Team Honda, Saturday night at O.Co Coliseum in Oakland, California, was filled with excitement and celebration as Trey Canard raced to his first 450SX victory in nearly four years. The Oklahoma native was unstoppable all day, topping timed qualifying practice and pulling away in the 450SX main event for an inspirational win.
Teammate Cole Seely also had a positive night, improving on last week’s sixth-place finish to score a season-best fifth. Finishing just in front of Seely in fourth was GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac, who fought his way through the field after a tough start. All three factory CRF450R racers landed in the top five, while GEICO Honda’s Malcolm Stewart topped the 250SX class.
- Thursday evening, Trey Canard had the opportunity to appear in-studio on Yahoo! Sports Talk Live in Comcast SportsNet’s San Francisco studio. The four-minute feature aired live and showcased Canard’s factory Honda CRF450R. “Go Honda Racing, go Trey Canard and go 41,” said reporter Jim Kozimor as he closed out the interview.
- During the day’s qualifying practice, four riders clicked off laps in the 51-second range, but Canard bested everyone with a 51.358. GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac was fourth with a 51.944 and Seely eighth with 52.650
- In heat one, Seely got off the line to a so-so start and was gaining ground on the rider in front of him when he ran out of time, finishing fifth. He was forced to advance through the second semi race, in which he led nearly every lap and scored the win.
- Canard was able to capitalize on erstwhile points leader Ken Roczen’s misfortune during the main event, moving from fifth in the standings to third after his victory. His 68-point total has him 10 behind Roczen, who now sits in second, and 14 behind the new leader Ryan Dungey. Seely jumped from 11th to seventh in the championship points chase with 45.
- During the main, Seely put himself in a good position early, moving from fifth to second by lap five. His spot behind the leader was short-lived, as Canard was on a mission of his own, moving past his teammate just one lap later. A mistake caused Seely to fall back a few more places, but he recovered, passing the checkered flag in fifth. Canard moved past leader Chad Reed on lap seven and led the remainder of the 20-lap race.
- Canard was the fastest man on the track during the main event, laying down an impressive time of 52.106 seconds. Seely was also one of only five riders to drop into the 52-second range, with a 52.742.
- The last time Canard landed his CRF450R on top of the podium was in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2011. Since then he has endured numerous injuries, hindering his ability to contend for a championship, due to partial season participation. “After everything that’s happened over the years, I’m just so blessed and grateful to be back on top of the podium,” he said. “I honestly feel like I was put on this earth to ride a dirt bike, and I’m going to give 100% effort to try and achieve my goals.”
- Team Honda headed back to Southern California after the event and will race again on Saturday, January 31, during the season’s third and final stop at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, where Canard and Seely will continue to try and move closer to the 450SX points lead. One day prior, the Red Riders will head to Malcolm Smith Motorsports for an autograph signing from 6-7:30.
THE FOCUS: Team Honda Explores the Bay Area
Following a successful pre-race press day on Thursday, along with additional interviews Friday morning, Team Honda riders and staff were able to enjoy some rare recreational time in the Bay Area. Cole Seely joined trainer and professional mountain bike racer Brian Lopes, along with crewmember Jason Haines, on a mountain bike ride in Santa Cruz with other riders and journalists. “Having to come up early for press makes keeping to your training schedule difficult, so getting time and an opportunity to go ride and have some fun was really cool,” Seely said.
Team manager Dan Betley also had an opportunity to jump on a mountain bike for a ride with the GEICO Honda mechanics at the Mt. Diablo trail just outside of Walnut Creek. “I had an awesome time on Friday,” Betley said. “It was really nice to get away. We’re all so focused on the task at hand, so it was good for everyone to have the chance to relax a little before Saturday.”
Trey Canard and a few other members of Team Honda went into the city to explore the famous Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf before taking a boat tour of the bay. The tour went around Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge, while a guide explained the city’s rich history.
“I’m just so happy with how tonight went, I don’t even know what to say. I didn’t think I would be on the podium after the first few laps; it was chaotic out there. It’s been a long haul to get here on top of the podium, but it feels so great. Everyone on the team has been working their butts off this season and I’m so grateful that I could finally give them what they’ve been working so hard for, a win. I got lucky with Kenny’s [Roczen] problem, so now the points gap has been closed a bit. I just need to work on my starts and stay on the podium each week, and it’ll be a fight to the end.”
“I’m excited and happy with how the night went. We’re moving in the right direction, for sure. I felt like I was hitting all my marks really well, and I put myself up front and in a good position early in the race. Unfortunately, I made some mistakes five or six laps in, which really cost me a lot of time and positions. I’m happy I was able to regroup and shake it off to salvage a fifth from that, which is my best finish of the season. My starts are improving and I’m riding well.”
Dan Betley: Team Manager
“I couldn’t be any happier for Trey or our team tonight. He’s worked so hard and has such dedication, even after enduring so such adversity in his career. For him to win another supercross race is just fantastic. He got a bad start but somehow found a way to make it through the pack on the first lap, even after getting slammed by another rider. He just put his head down, made the passes he needed to and rode his own race. It was also a good night for Eli and Cole, who took fourth and fifth for the night. In the last four rounds we’ve won two, taken two pole positions, and won heat races. We’re obviously on our way up, and I’m excited.”
Satoshi Matsushima: HGA Chassis Engineer
“It was a very good night for Honda, first with GEICO Honda’s Malcolm Stewart winning the 250 class, then team HRC’s Trey Canard winning the 450 class with a very good, steady ride! GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac and Team HRC’s Cole Seely struggled a little bit in the race but were able to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 450 class, so we had three Hondas in the top five in the 450 class! We’ll keep on trying for the championship, and thanks for your support!”
Brent Presnell: Mechanic (Trey Canard)
“Tonight was awesome! Trey was really fast all day long, so I knew he was capable of pulling off the win. He got a bad start but somehow was able to charge through the pack and make his way up to the front pretty quickly. Once he was in the lead, he was able to just manage his race. The last couple laps were extremely nerve-racking, with a few sketchy moments, but luckily he was able to keep it together. This is one of those confidence-boosting wins and definitely a great building block for the rest of the year.”
Rich Simmons: Mechanic (Cole Seely)
“I think each week Cole has shown good improvement. Tonight’s goal was to be in the top five and we achieved that, so it was a good night for us. He’s been riding well all year, but now he’s just racing better overall by putting himself in a good position and making passes. We want to continue to build on this and hopefully be up on the podium soon.”
1. Trey Canard (Team Honda)
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Chad Reed
4. Eli Tomac (GEICO Honda)
5. Cole Seely (Team Honda)
6. Justin Barcia
7. Davi Millsaps
8. Andrew Short
9. Blake Baggett
10. Jason Anderson
11. Jake Weimer
12. Brett Metcalfe
13. Kyle Chisholm
14. Phil Nicoletti
15. Ken Roczen
16. Vince Friese
17. Fredrik Noren
18. Kyle Partridge
19. Killian Rusk
20. Martin Davalos
21. Josh Grant
22. Broc Tickle
450SX Championship Points (after 4 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Dungey 82
2. Ken Roczen 78
3. Trey Canard 68
4. Eli Tomac 64
5. Jason Anderson 62
6. Justin Barcia 58
7. Cole Seely 45
8. Davi Millsaps 44
9. Andrew Short 44
10. Chad Reed 43
11. Blake Baggett 40
12. Broc Tickle 39
13. Jacob Weimer 36
14. Weston Peick 32
15. Brett Metcalfe 27
16. Dean Wilson 23
17. Mike Alessi 17
18. Kyle Chisholm 16
19. Justin Brayton 14
20. Phil Nocoletti 14