After a long 17 weekends of stadium racing that saw Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely and Trey Canard finish sixth and ninth in the 2016 AMA Supercross series, the riders and team received a one-week break to quickly change gears for the summer’s grueling 12-round AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Beginning with tomorrow’s Hangtown Motocross Classic season opener in Sacramento, California, the series will travel the country before eventually concluding in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
In 2015, Seely showed notable speed during the early part of the season, securing a fifth-place overall finish at Colorado’s Thunder Valley, aided by a fourth in moto two. He would notch one more top-five moto finish before his season was cut short due to injury. Feeling more prepared heading into this year, Seely’s goal is to put together consistent results each weekend. “I don’t necessarily have set position goals for this season, but I want to go out there, get good starts and ride how I have been the past couple weeks,” Seely said. “If I can put that all together and it means I get a win, podiums or top-fives, then that’s what I’m shooting for. I just want to be consistent. I felt like I came in blind last year, never having raced a 450 outdoors, so I feel like I know what to expect this year and know what I want in my bike setup. We got to ride the track for press day, which was a great opportunity to preview things and make some final adjustments before the race.”
After breaking his arm in the latter part of the 2015 supercross season, Canard missed much of the motocross series, only returning to compete in the final four rounds. During his return, he scored two top-five moto finishes and landed third on the podium at Unadilla. Coming into this season healthy, Canard is looking to return to his form from two years ago. “We ended 2014 really strong, so the hope and the ultimate goal is to get back to where we were then—fighting for wins and podiums,” Canard said. “I came in at the end last year and don’t really think I was completely ready, especially with everyone having the full season under their belts and in the swing of things. I feel good though. I think we’ve had some good preparation and I’m excited to line up on Saturday. I’m riding well so I just have to go out there and try to get good starts and put together the rides that I know I’m capable of.”
Eager to turn the page on a challenging supercross season, Team Manager Dan Betley is pleased with the progress the team has made over the past couple of weeks and is confident in Canard and Seely’s ability to fight for the podium each weekend. “The last couple weeks have gone well with both riders,” Betley said. “I’m really impressed with how Cole has stepped it up; he’s been fast at all the tracks where the competition has been riding. He still needs to work on his stamina a little but I think he’s made a lot of improvements from last year. Trey has been looking fast too and is excited for a fresh start after a tough supercross season. There’s no doubt he has the speed, but we just need to get the starts dialed and I think he’ll be a consistent threat for the podium.”
Since beginning their outdoor testing in late March, the team has been working on perfecting the factory CRF450R race settings. “I’m really pleased with how our bike is working,” Betley added. “We started with the settings we had been using last year and have continued to develop them from there. Both riders are happy and comfortable with what we have heading into the season.”
Racing at Hangtown kicks off tomorrow at 1 p.m. local time, with moto one aired live on MavTV, followed by moto two on NBCSN.