Cole Seely was ecstatic when he got selected to represent Team USA at the Motocross of Nations, but he did not get an opportunity to show what he could really do at the event. A pair of shock issues derailed his charge towards the Chamberlain Trophy. The Honda HRC rider experienced some additional struggles also, such as adapting to a foreign environment and new circuit, as he explains in more detail in the exclusive interview below.
MX Vice: Obviously a terrible day, but we can’t really blame you. Two bike malfunctions, the same thing, which doesn't really happen to anybody, so what can you do?
Cole Seely: No, I’m bummed. Yeah, the bike broke but I was having a heck of a time out there. It is very foreign. The track, obviously I have never ridden here. Never ridden in these crazy conditions on this soil, so it is crazy. I really underestimated a lot of the MXGP guys. They are incredibly talented riders, which is crazy. I thought I’d be hanging in there. I didn’t think I’d be just waxing everybody out there, but I thought I can keep up with a lot of them. They are on another level, especially over here in Europe. I got to hand it to those guys. They are on another level than us right now. But it was an honor to come over here and represent the country; I’m just super bummed on the results, the way I rode and the way the bike broke. Just pretty much anything bad that could have happened today did happen. Definitely bummed on that.
Obviously everyone saw what happened to the bike. There was kind of no hiding it, but how does that happen twice? Do you have any idea?
Just mud kind of packed into the shock and really just blew the bottom ring off of it. Then we tried to stuff foam in there so mud and dirt and rocks couldn’t make its way in there, but it just happened again unfortunately. Just lasted a little longer than the first time. It is a bummer. We are not in our element here. We don't know how to prepare for this kind of stuff. We’ll learn from it, unfortunately at the disposal of Motocross of Nations being the race where we got to learn from it.
Was this event what you expected? Obviously you knew it was going to be crazy, as I’m sure you have heard all the stories. Was it crazier? Harder? Easier? What did you think of it?
It was way harder than I thought it was going to be. I knew it was going to be hard and I trained really hard for this event, but it was way harder than I thought it was going to be. The guys were going way faster. They knew the lines way better than I did. I cannot study that enough coming over here and be as good as they are at those kind of lines. They are just so different than what we have in America and the pace they ride at is so fast. It was the hardest, stressful and most insane weekend of my life. Definitely kind of looking forward to getting home, relaxing and finally taking some time off. I’ve been going at it since January 1st so it’s been a heck of a year. Finally winding down now.
Does the fact that it was stressful, hard and all of that put you off coming back in the future or are you hungry for redemption and want to show what you can really do?
I do not know. I need to sit on it and think about it for a while. It is so hard for us. Nobody is to blame for it, but it is tough for us because I ended my season six weeks ago and I had to keep on training with a goal in sight that I did not know how to train for. It is so hard. I do not even know how to explain that. These guys are still somewhat fresh and just coming off a relatively-recent race weekend. For us, it is just that we’re way out of our element. That is not to take away from the MXGP guys, because they are absolutely insane with their speed and fitness.
I expected to be a lot closer than I was and obviously before the malfunctions. I don’t know. I’ll have to sit on that and think about it, but give it some time. If I get asked again maybe give it a little bit more time too. It is tough too because the American fans are so critical. They hate me probably right now. It is tough. I don’t know how to answer that.
If you could maybe change one thing about the way that you tackled the event, would you go back in time and come over a little earlier and ride in England? Even though the tracks would not be the same, at least you’d be on similar dirt and with similar weather?
That is a hard question. I do not really know. I don’t know if it would have helped that much. I got as much time in as I could at home and then came over here as late as I could. Like you said, the tracks wouldn’t have been identical to what I would have been riding, the conditions sure wouldn’t have been and I wouldn’t have been racing against these guys. They are so fast, so I don’t know. I maybe would have liked to come over a little early, but I don’t know if it would have helped that much.
Whenever I talk about this track I always say it is the most American in Europe because typically GP tracks are tight, twisty and rocky. When it was dry, did you feel like that was the case? Obviously it flows good like American tracks. Ground is maybe harder than you typically experience, but was it somewhat similar to what you ride on?
It was actually really soft, because it had rained so much for our practice. It wasn’t anything like in America. I thought so too. I thought it would be like what we have at Thunder Valley in Colorado. I thought it would be a lot like that. The dirt looks similar. The layout kind of looks similar, but it is nothing… It is good. It is a really fun track, but it was just a really hard track to go fast on. If I could just come here and ride I’d be stoked. It would be one of the most fun tracks I’ve ever ridden, but to try and throw down that pace that those guys are running out there sure isn’t easy and it takes a lot more experience than I have on this track for sure.
Finally, just talk us through what you have got planned in the next weeks. I guess you had an option to do Monster Cup, but are going to skip it?
Yeah. Like I said before, I have not had any time off this year, so I am going to take probably about three weeks off the bike and then start training for supercross again. But, in the meantime, I’m actually having a plate removed from my hand, so that is the main reason why I’m not racing Monster Cup. I need some time to let my body recuperate before I start training again. Like I just mentioned, I need to get that plate taken out of my hand.
I guess the plate made it even tougher to commit to this? If you hadn’t raced, this plate would have been out weeks ago and you would be fresh and ready to go for supercross. You really did sacrifice quite a lot to come here.
Yeah, for sure. That was one of the big questions when I had originally committed to this was I knew I wanted to get it out. We did not know whether to get it out right after the last AMA national and then start training for this. But I didn’t want to have any, not excuses, but any reasons why I wasn’t one hundred percent. I just opted to fully commit to training for this thing. It is beyond my dream to be asked to do it. It was one big sacrifice, but now I’m going to go home and get it taken out in a few days.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX