Craig 11th at Demanding Seattle Supercross
Following a weekend off, the AMA Supercross series returned to action with round 13 in Seattle, where rain throughout the day and evening created extremely difficult conditions, making for a challenging event for Team Honda HRC. After making several mistakes in the beginning of the shortened 12-minute-plus-one-lap main event, Christian Craig was able to navigate his way around the treacherous track to climb to 11th by the checkered flag.
- For the first time this season, rainy weather leading up to the race and on race day caused the promoters to revise the schedule, canceling the day’s free-practice session and first timed practice session, which left riders with only one opportunity to qualify into the evening program. Despite tough conditions, Christian Craig stayed consistent throughout the session and set the seventh-quickest time of 1’18.197”.
- The amended schedule provided riders with plenty of downtime considering that after the 11 a.m. mandatory riders meeting, the next real activity was a 3:20 p.m. track walk. “We had so much time between everything that it seemed like today just dragged on forever,” Craig said, “but we managed to stay busy. I signed autographs for an hour instead of 30 minutes, and I went on Race Day Live. Other than that, I just hung out in the truck and watched golf on my phone.”
- Mud presents challenges for not only the riders, but their mechanics as well, as they spend considerable time preparing the race machines for the difficult conditions. To get the No. 32 CRF450R ready, Rich Simmons added thin foam under both the front and rear fenders, inserted foam under the rear-brake pedal, installed mesh Twin Air radiator covers, and mounted a solid skid plate, while Showa put a sleeve on the rear shock and “ski covers” on the bottoms of the fork legs. “The ultimate goal is to try and keep as little mud as possible from packing onto the bike,” Simmons explained.
- The night started on a difficult note for Craig, as he suffered a poor start in his heat race and then went down in the thick mud. He was working his way forward when his abused clutch went out, forced him to retire from the race and instead transfer into the main event via the last chance qualifier.
- In the 250SX West class, GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton was impressive as he navigated the mud-covered track aboard his CRF250R, scoring his third podium finish of the season with a career-best second-place result. “The track was pretty gnarly,” he said. “I thought it was actually better in the main than the heat race, but it was a new experience for me because it was my first time riding a supercross track in the mud. I got a good start in the main and just tried not to fall. That was the key thing tonight.”
- This coming weekend, Team Honda HRC will head east to campaign round 14 of the AMA Supercross series, in Minneapolis. The evening before the race, Craig and Smartop/Bullfrog Spa/MotoConcepts Honda’s Justin Brayton and Vince Friese will make an appearance at Cities Edge Motorsports starting at 6 p.m.
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Christian Craig 28
“It was a pretty crazy night. Coming into this weekend, everyone knew it was going to be muddy based on the forecast all week. Knowing that, I tried to be open minded, but man, it was a tough day. Qualifying went well with the one practice we had. I got seventh and was actually having some fun out there. In the heat race, I didn’t get a great start and then just wore the clutch out too much and came to a stop, so I wasn’t able to finish the race. I was really frustrated after that. I went into the LCQ, which was pretty nerve-racking because you put so much pressure on yourself to make sure you transfer. Nobody wants to be in an LCQ, but then you add mud, making it more challenging, and anything can happen. I had a terrible gate pick in the main but got a relatively decent start. I made some mistakes early on and slipped back, then had to pull my goggles off a little over halfway through the race. Towards the end, I started clicking off some good laps and was able to make last-minute passes, putting me in 11th. It’s still way off from where I want to be, but I’ll take it and am happy to get out of here with a decent result considering the conditions.”
“Tonight’s conditions were hard for everyone. It was a complete sloppy mess out there. Christian doesn’t ride the mud that much, but I think he rode well considering. By the end of the main event, he started to settle in and had his fastest lap of the race in the last few laps. His start in his heat race really hurt him, but then he over-rode the clutch and wore it out. I also think he handled the pressure of going to the LCQ well. He didn’t win it, which I know he wanted to, but he was smart and just got the transfer into the main.”
450SX Main Event Results
|1||Tomac Eli||3||USA||Monster Energy Kawasaki||Kawasaki|
|2||Anderson Jason||21||USA||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna||Husqvarna|
|3||Musquin Marvin||25||FRA||Red Bull KTM||KTM|
|4||Tickle Broc||20||USA||Monster Energy Kawasaki||Kawasaki|
|5||Webb Cooper||2||USA||Red Bull KTM||KTM|
|6||Bowers Tyler||83||USA||Bowers Racing||Kawasaki|
|7||Reed Chad||22||AUS||Mountain Motorsports/CBDmd/CR22 Racing||KTM|
|8||Baggett Blake||4||USA||Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS||KTM|
|9||Wilson Dean||15||GBR||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna||Husqvarna|
|10||Peick Weston||23||USA||Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing||Suzuki|
|11||Craig Christian||28||USA||Star Racing Yamaha||Yamaha|
|12||Friese Vince||62||USA||SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda||Honda|
|14||Bloss Benny||73||USA||SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda||Honda|
|15||Lamay Ben||71||USA||TPJ/Fly Racing||Honda|
|16||Politelli Austin||981||USA||Old Town Construction/ TripTagger/ Yamaha||Yamaha|
|17||Stewart Malcolm||27||USA||Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha||Yamaha|
|18||Miller Henry||81||USA||Trigger Racing||Yamaha|
|20||Brayton Justin||10||USA||Muc-Off Honda||Honda|
|21||Hill Joshua||46||USA||Valley Motorsports||Yamaha|
|22||Schmidt Nicholas||USA||TPJ/Fly Racing||Suzuki|
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