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.
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.
- On the eve of the race, Trey Canard and Cole Seely made an appearance at Peoria, Arizona, 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., along with the GEICO Honda team.
- 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.”
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.”
Image: James Lissimore