For Team Honda HRC, the 2015 Supercross season came to an exciting close at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium, as Cole Seely rode to a strong fourth-place finish on the same night that he was named 450SX Rookie of the Year. Over the course of his first full series in the premier division, Seely earned no fewer than ten top-five finishes, including five podiums and his first 450 victory, putting him third in the final points standings.
In the final main event of the year, Seely got a poor start but began methodically moving his way though the pack. By the completion of the 20-lap race, he had advanced to fourth.
GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac also finished the season off on a strong note, securing the runner-up position in the race and the championship standings. It looked as if the Coloradoan would be able to contest for the win, but a mistake a few laps in caused him to fall off the pace of eventual winner Ryan Dungey. Over the course of the 17-race series, Tomac won three main events and finished on the podium on eight additional occasions.
- On Friday, Cole Seely and Eli Tomac participated in the pre-race press conference, which showcased the top three 450SX racers in the points chase. Following interviews, the riders were allowed 15 minutes to preview the track. Later that evening, the two were joined by Tomac’s GEICO Honda teammates, Matt Bisceglia, RJ Hampshire and Jordan Smith, for an autograph session at RideNow Powersports.
- With lap times over one minute, the Las Vegas track was one of the longest of the season. During the daytime program, Seely logged the sixth-quickest qualifying time at 1:08.585, while Tomac was second quickest at 1:07.184.
- During the downtime between the day and evening programs, Seely had an opportunity for a meet-and-greet with a special fan who had won a contest by his goggle sponsor, Spy. Brittany Correia had raced motocross and dreamed of turning pro until a car accident left her paralyzed. Seely is one of her favorite riders, and the two enjoyed the opportunity to meet and hang out.
- Slotted in the second heat race for the night program, Tomac launched his Dunlop-equipped Honda CRF450R off the line, nabbing the holeshot and early lead in the six-lap race. The GEICO Honda rider went on to win by nearly 11 seconds, setting the fastest lap of the night in the process. Seely got off to a less-than-desirable start in the second heat but was able to make several early passes, moving into second on lap two. That’s where he remained, transferring directly into the main even.
- The Rookie of the Year award goes to the eligible rider who has accumulated the most points throughout the season, and Seely was proud to have earned the honor. “The last six years have been a steady climb, so it’s nice to know that I’m still climbing,” Seely said. “I want to take what I’ve learned this rookie year and apply it next year, when I’ll have a better understanding of how the season works and what to expect.”
- Asked to identify the biggest adaptation he had to make during his rookie 450 Supercross season, Seely said it was pacing himself through the longer 17-round schedule (the 250 class is divided into regions, so riders only participate in half as many races). “I had to learn to save myself for Saturday, by not exerting myself too much between Monday and Thursday,” Seely explained. “The race weekends fly by so fast, and then you’re right back to your routine. You have to make your program work and have everyone coordinating with each other to have the same goals in mind throughout the whole week.”
- With the AMA Supercross season behind it, Team Honda HRC will enjoy a much-needed weekend off before kicking off the AMA Pro Motocross championship on Saturday, May 16, in Sacramento.
- Seely said he is excited to start the outdoor championship. “I’ve never raced a 450 outdoors, so it’s really going to be a learning process,” he said. “This summer, I expect to learn the most I ever have in my entire career. I feel like I suited the 450 a lot better than the 250 for Supercross, and I think that’s even more true for outdoors.”
THE FOCUS: Series in Review
As the traditional AMA Supercross series finale, the Las Vegas round is always a good opportunity to assess a team’s performance, and for Honda and HRC, the 2015 season was a positive one. As is always the case, the hope had been to earn the championship, and while that wasn’t ultimately possible, CRF450R riders Eli Tomac and Cole Seely did take the second and third positions, respectively in the final standings. In addition, Trey Canard was in title contention for much of the series before breaking his arm in Detroit, and despite missing the last six races, he ended the series sixth in points. For Honda, it was a marked improvement over last year’s performance, which saw factory CRF riders finish fifth, 13th and 18th in the standings (Tomac and Canard missed much of the ’14 series with injuries).
The story was similar in terms of race-by-race results. In 2015, Honda riders earned a total of six wins and an additional 17 podium finishes, compared to zero and six, respectively, in 2014. Also impressive was the balanced performance by the Red Riders, with wins going to all three (three for Tomac, two for Canard and one for Seely). Perhaps even more representative of the Honda riders’ consistency was the fact that at least one of them finished on the podium in every one of the 17 main events, something that no other manufacturer managed. In fact, on six occasions, two of the three podium finishers were Honda-mounted; no other manufacturer achieved that feat even once. The icing on the cake was Seely’s earning Rookie of the Year honors in the premier class.
450 Supercross Results
|1||Dungey Ryan||5||USA||25||Red Bull KTM||KTM|
|2||Tomac Eli||3||USA||22||Monster Energy Kawasaki||Kawasaki|
|3||Peick Weston||23||USA||20||Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing||Suzuki|
|4||Seely Cole||14||USA||18||Team Honda HRC||Honda|
|5||Grant Joshua||33||USA||16||Monster Energy Kawasaki||Kawasaki|
|6||Baggett Blake||4||USA||15||Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS||KTM|
|7||Reed Chad||22||AUS||14||Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing||Suzuki|
|8||Barcia Justin||51||USA||13||Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha Team||Yamaha|
|9||Brayton Justin||10||USA||12||Smartop MotoConcepts Racing||Honda|
|10||Tickle Broc||20||USA||11||Red Bull KTM||KTM|
|11||Chisholm Kyle||11||USA||10||Chisholm Racing||KTM|
|12||Wey Nicholas||27||USA||9||Team Tedder||Kawasaki|
|13||Lamay Ben||907||USA||8||TPJ.com/Fly Racing||Honda|
|14||Schmidt Nicholas||USA||7||TPJ.com/Fly Racing||Suzuki|
|15||Ramette Thomas||FRA||6||SR75-Molson Racing UK||Kawasaki|
|16||Rusk Killian||58||USA||5||Slater Skin/Blue Buffalo||Yamaha|
|17||Archer Tony||285||USA||4||Traders Racing||Kawasaki|
|18||Partridge Kyle||199||USA||3||Rocky Mountain ATV||Honda|
|19||Akaydin Michael||USA||2||Storm Lake Honda/Buddy Brooks Racing||Honda|
|20||Raper Deven||USA||1||RJC Racing||Kawasaki|
|21||Pipes Dustin||USA||1||TPJ.com/Fly Racing||Suzuki|
|22||Bannister Travis||USA||1||Advance Concrete/ Surprise Enterprise||Honda|