Race Brief: Phoenix Supercross

While Team Honda staff and riders Trey Canard and Cole Seely had hoped for a better showing at the Phoenix Supercross than ultimately proved possible, the squad’s spirits were buoyed by the inspiring debut premier-class victory of GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac, who also rides a factory CRF450R.

2015 Honda Racing - Phoenix

Canard’s bid for a top finish was complicated by a poor start, but he worked his way through a pack that was deep with talent, eventually crossing the checkered flag in eighth place. Seely had trouble in the main and ended in fourteenth position, but he was encouraged by the fact that he had ridden to his career-first 450 heat-race win earlier the same evening.

NOTES

• On the eve of the race, Trey Canard and Cole Seely both made an appearance at Phoenix dealership RideNow Powersports. The Team Honda duo is scheduled to attend another autograph signing at Huntington Beach Honda on Friday, January 16 at 6 p.m. GEICO Honda riders Malcolm Stewart and Matt Bisceglia will also be in attendance.

• On race day, Seely’s mechanic Rich Simmons joined Brian Kranz, mechanic for GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac, to meet with a large group of students from the nearby Phoenix campus of Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. Both technicians are graduates of the program and were happy to give the pupils a glimpse of life as a factory mechanic.

• During the daytime program at Phoenix, Canard set the sixth-fastest qualifying time at 55.457 seconds, just over a second off the mark of top man Eli Tomac, of GEICO Honda. Seely was 10th-fastest at 55.891, about four-tenths of a second behind his teammate.

• Seely led the first heat race from start to finish, and with Tomac topping heat two, Honda riders scored the wins in both heat races and the main event at Phoenix. The difference between the two riders’ winning times in the six-lap heat races was just .173 seconds. Canard was fourth in the first heat, so all three factory CRF450R racers qualified directly to the main event.

• Prior to the main event, Team Honda mechanics mounted road race-style tire warmers to the rear Dunlops of the CRF450R race bikes. “At some of these races, we’ll do that to get a heat cycle in the tires before we go out,” explained Team Manager Dan Betley. “Even though the tires cool off by the time we actually start the race, the heat cycle changes the compound slightly and helps with traction.”

• During the live television coverage of the Phoenix Supercross, Fox Sports 1 aired a short feature called “Passion to Persevere: Trey Canard on a Balanced Life.” The emotional piece was filmed at Canard’s home in Edmond, Oklahoma, during the off-season, and covered his faith, his recoveries from injuries and how he and wife Hannah met during a mission in Africa.

• On January 17, Team Honda will campaign the second of three 2015 AMA Supercross rounds to take place in Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

THE FOCUS: 
Red Riders

In the AMA Supercross pits, the Team Honda and GEICO Honda semi trucks are invariably parked adjacent to one another, and that’s not just because birds of a feather tend to flock together. GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac’s mechanic Brian Kranz works out of the Team Honda truck, and he, Trey Canard and Cole Seely all enjoy the same technical support from HRC. That being the case, the feeling of contentment following Tomac’s debut premier-class victory permeated the entire Honda pit area, with both Team Honda riders congratulating the Coloradoan.

“I’m really happy with the communication that all three riders have right now,” said Team Honda Manager Dan Betley. “They all watch film together, and they share information about lines on the track. I couldn’t be happier with the camaraderie this year, among both the staff and the riders. Everybody helps each other, which is great. Obviously, Trey and Cole are bummed for their results at Phoenix, but they’re happy to see that the equipment and the staff are capable. They know we can give them what they need while we all work to also get them on top of the box.”

2015 Honda Racing - Phoenix

QUOTES

Trey Canard
“It was a good night in that I left healthy and ready for next weekend. I’m not happy with the result, but I believe that over the course of the season, all the top riders will have a night like I had here at Phoenix. I’m really excited for my fellow Honda rider on his win, and for all of HRC. Hopefully we can continue the success for them as we go forward.”

Cole Seely
“The heat race was good—I felt like I was flowing and riding well—but the main event just kind of unraveled on me. My start was okay, but I got into it with Chad Reed and a couple other riders. I started going backward and got arm pump, so it was tough. I’ll just take the heat-race win, build off of that and keep plugging away. The bike felt good all night.”

Keisuke Inomoto: Representative Director, Team HRC Motocross
“I’m pleased with Honda rider Eli Tomac’s win in the main at Phoenix! He did a great job to win his heat race, and then he managed the main very well. Trey Canard finished eighth, as his start was not so good; nevertheless, he did a good job charging forward, and things will come together for him in the coming races. Cole Seely was 14th, but he took his first heat win and started strongly in the main. I think he could get a victory if he continues on this path. I feel that Eli’s win shows our ability, which we have been cultivating. We’ll analyze what to revise so that we’ll be able to get more good results. Please continue your support of Team Honda and HRC!”

Dan Betley: Team Manager
“Eli had a great night. I’m so happy for him and so proud of the team, because everybody has pulled together this year. All the testing we’ve done has been awesome, and I can’t say enough about the team. I’m a little bummed for Trey and Cole. Trey rode a little stiff all night long, but he thinks he knows what was up, which is good. Cole had a great heat-race win and rode great, but he kind of got knocked around in the main. It was tough for those guys, but it was nice to see Honda on top of the box.”

Brent Presnell: Mechanic (Trey Canard)
“Trey had decent times in practice, and we’re coming away healthy, but he just didn’t have the same aggression that he did last week; some nights you have it and some nights you don’t. I guess eighth place isn’t bad when you start 18th. It looked like his reaction was a little off on the start; Kenny Roczen and those guys got a handlebar on him right out of the gate, and then he was just closed off at that point. We’ll look for a good result at Anaheim 2.”

Rich Simmons: Mechanic (Cole Seely)
“I think we should have gone further outside on our gate pick, but that’s hindsight. The first turn was really tight on the inside, so if you didn’t get the jump, you were stuck waiting for everybody to clear out. We just need to work on being more aggressive. Cole was too patient, and he got pushed around by some other guys and had to work his way back through them. The heat race was awesome though—he got a great start and was really consistent. We just need to work on duplicating that in the main event.”

450 Supercross Results
1. Eli Tomac (GEICO Honda)

2. Ken Roczen
3. Ryan Dungey
4. Weston Peick
5. Davi Millsaps
6. Jason Anderson
7. Andrew Short
8. Trey Canard (Team Honda)
9. Jake Weimer
10. Chad Reed
11. Justin Barcia
12. Broc Tickle
13. Blake Baggett
14. Cole Seely (Team Honda)
15. Justin Brayton
16. Brett Metcalfe
17. Dean Wilson
18. Mike Alessi
19. Josh Grant
20. Jimmy Albertson
21. Kyle Partridge
22. AJ Catanzaro

450 Supercross Championship Points (after 2 of 17 rounds)
1. Ken Roczen 42
2. Ryan Dungey 38
3. Jason Anderson 37
4. Trey Canard 33
5. Weston Peick 32
6. Andrew Short 30
7. Eli Tomac 26
8. Justin Barcia 25
9. Broc Tickle 22
10. Jacob Weimer 22
11. Chad Reed 22
12. Davi Millsaps 18
13. Blake Baggett 17
14. Mike Alessi 15
15. Justin Brayton 14
16. Cole Seely 14
17. Dean Wilson 10
18. Brett Metcalfe 9
19. Josh Hill 5
20. Josh Grant 5

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