Seely Salvages Fifth at Oakland Supercross
Although Team Honda HRC had its sights set on the podium at round five in Oakland, California, the crew was pleased with Cole Seely’s ability to salvage a fifth-place finish despite not having a functional rear brake for nearly half of the race. Seely powered his CRF450R off the line to a fifth-place start, but quickly navigated his way into fourth on the second lap. He continued his charge forward, coming within striking distance of the rider in front of him on lap six before eventually making a pass stick for third. As the race neared it’s halfway point, Seely picked up some debris on the track that eventually would get tangled into his rear brake caliper, causing him to lose functionality. He relinquished two positions throughout the remainder of the race, but ultimately took the checkered in fifth, respectively.
The Oakland Supercross was unique because it marked the first day race of the season. With a new daytime schedule, the program started three hours earlier than normal, and the racing concluded by 7 p.m. “Other than getting up really early and not having a free practice, the schedule wasn’t too different,” Seely said. “It felt almost like a motocross race because of how early it started and finished. I actually liked it. It was nice to have things done early because I was actually able to get a flight home tonight since we’re close.”
This weekend was the fourth time out of five rounds that rainy weather leading up to the race caused the promoters to cancel the day’s free practice, forcing riders to quickly learn the track during qualifying. Seely’s 1:00.722 time, which was secured during the second session, landed him eighth overall.
Positioned in heat 1, Seely scored a sixth-place start and quickly moved into fourth on the opening lap. He continued to propel himself forward, making an impressive pass into third on the next lap, easily transferring himself directly to the main. Throughout the race, Seely laid down the fastest times in two of the track’s three segments.
With soft, wet dirt, the Oakland track developed into one of the roughest and most treacherous courses we’ve seen so far this season. “The track tonight reminded me a lot of Indianapolis. It was super deep, soft and would just pull you around. You were kind of along for the ride,” explained Seely. “The consistency of the dirt stayed deep like that all day but it went from a bit more muddy and icy in the morning to just really deep and rough in the main.”
After five rounds, Seely currently sits fourth overall in the championship chase. He’s one point away from third, and a mere nine points from second.
This weekend, Team Honda HRC will begin their journey East to campaign round 6 of the AMA Supercross series, in Arlington, Texas. The evening before the race, Cole Seely, Andrew Short and the GEICO Honda riders will make an appearance at DFW Honda starting at 6pm.
THE FOCUS: Bay Area Media
It was a short week for Team Honda HRC, as the squad participated in its first press day of the season. On Thursday afternoon, Cole Seely headed into San Francisco for an interview with Comcast Sports Network Bay Area to discuss his 2017 season and his expectations for Saturday’s Oakland Supercross. Seely kept busy on Friday, too. He joined anchors on “The Nine” morning show on KTVU FOX channel 2 before heading to the track for an interview and rig tour with ABC channel 7 news, as well as an interview with the local CBS affiliate. Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, Seely was unable to take to the track for an opportunity to preview the layout.
“I think this was one of the busiest press days I’ve done. I’m exhausted,” Seely laughed. “The two in-studio interviews were kind of cool because I got to see some of the behind the scenes at the stations. One of them was taped so if I messed up, I could do it again, but the other was live so that was a little nerve racking. Normally we get a chance to ride the track, which really is one of the main benefits so it’s a bummer we didn’t get to do that because of the weather. Coming in early can really mess up our training program so I just made it a point to get a workout in at the gym each day.”
Comcast Sports Network Interview
ABC Channel 7 Interview
Cole Seely 14
It was another decent day for us. I ended up fifth on the night so not too bad. We’re making improvements to the bike each week, still dialing it in and adjusting to each week’s track. The team has been really great about helping me with the process and finding what’s comfortable. It was tough picking a gate tonight. It was really about condition over position out there because outside of the gate was getting rough and beat up. My mechanic Rich [Simmons] and I decided on the one outside of the box because it seemed to have a pretty good line. I got a great jump and was fifth, then passed my way into third. About right then, I lost my rear brake. Not mechanical failure on my team or bike, but from a banner or something I picked up on the track. I went to go make the pass on Jason [Anderson] and tried to get to the brake and it wasn’t there so I kind of plowed into him. After that I was just trying figure out how to ride without my brake. I was trying to carry a little less speed into the turns, grab a lot of front brake but luckily it started to come back a little with two laps left. It was a hard enough track as is, so doing it without brakes was really tough. I plan to get some riding in and shoot for the podium next weekend.
I’m disappointed with the overall result but considering the circumstances, I’m happy we were able to come away with a top five. I was really pleased with how the team worked together and adjusted to the conditions of the track. The changes we made to the bike were positive and Cole was happy. He continued to improve as the night went on but unfortunately, in the main event he picked something up from the track and pulled it into his rear brake. That with a combination of a bunch of mud getting stuffed into the brake pedal he had no brake from probably about half way on. We’ll take it though, and move onto the next round.
Mechanic (Cole Seely)
I think Cole definitely rode better than he finished, but all in all, it was a good day. He continued to progress, had good jumps off the gate and transferred directly from his heat so those are all positives. He was running well in the main, but unfortunately, we had some problems with the rear brake. He picked up some sort of banner or long piece of tape and it got sucked into the caliper. Salvaging a fifth with no rear brake the second half of the race is pretty good. It’s hard to say ‘should of, could of, would of’ but he was moving towards the front tonight and maybe Eli [Tomac] would have still passed him, but I think he could have gotten a podium finish if we didn’t have this problem.