Team Honda HRC’s newest recruit comes through with a big win at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Although there hopes for the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship are over, Team Honda HRc had plenty to celebrate when its junior 450cc rider, Cole Seely, scored his first career 450cc supercross main event win at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, April 11.
Seely turned in the best performance of his career, leading every lap of the main event en route to the win. Seely got off the line to a great start and quickly overtook the two riders in front of him to assume the early lead. Once out front, he set a fast pace to win the 20-lap main event with a 12-second advantage over Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, who clinched the 2015 series title
Tomac’s performance throughout the day gave Honda fans a taste of what may be to come as he qualified third with a 45.530-second lap and then handily won heat race two to set up the fateful main event. Once he got out front in the main, he then set the fastest lap of the race with a lap of 46.430 seconds, over 7/10 of a second faster than the next best rider. Seely was also the only rider to dip into the 46-second range.
Seely’s win also moved him past injured teammate Trey Canard in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series point standings. He is now third, with 223 points.
“This just doesn’t feel real,” Seely said after the race. “I’m so ecstatic and am really waiting for all the emotions to kick in. The past five or six weekends have been really good, and I feel like I’ve been right there with it just at my fingertips, so being able to pull off a win tonight is amazing. I’m so stoked for myself, my team and everyone else in my corner. It’s been a steady progression this season for sure, but once I found my groove, that was all I needed. It was a matter of just figuring out these 450 races and getting adjusted to the class, riders, and having so many rounds.
Seely credited much of his performance to his Rich Simmons-prepared Honda CRF450R.
“The bike handled so awesome,” he said. “My suspension was working great, and my Dunlops were hooking up perfect. We had worked throughout practice to get the right setup, and we definitely found it. It was crazy when I was leading and could see the other riders so far back. I just tried to relate it to when I would lead the 250 class last year: just to stay calm, hit my marks and click off each lap consistently. I’m still in shock and so happy.”
Seely’s win was also huge boost for Simmons, who has been with Seely for much of his career.
“This is pretty exciting,” Simmons said. “When I first started working for Cole, he wasn’t even making any money, so to be with him throughout the whole process, from winning a 250 race to now a 450 race is pretty amazing. What I’ve seen him go through and accomplish is a pretty big deal. I know his confidence has been building, and it’s been all-out to try and win a race. Getting on the podium is great but he had his mind set that he wanted to win one before the end of the year, and he did. Everything felt good all day, and I couldn’t be prouder of him and the entire team.”
Team Honda HRC manager Dan Betley added that it was a great night for Honda, as Seely’s win was backed up by a third-place finish for GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac.
“We all knew it was coming, it was just a matter of time before he [Seely] would deliver the big win,” Betley said. “He got a great start and for over half the race he was pulling away from everyone else on the track. Then he just settled into a good rhythm and brought it home. Eli [Tomac] didn’t have a great start, but it was an impressive ride from behind to get third. He rode solid. Now all three of our riders have won this season, so we’re hoping to finish out the season strong.”
Seely is the second first-time winner in the 450cc class so far this season, with the first being Tomac, who won at round two in Phoenix. Since the beginning of the year, at least one Honda rider has been on the podium at every round, and three different Honda riders—Seely, Tomac and Canard—have scored a combined total of five wins. With Tomac taking third in Houston, Honda riders again occupied two podium positions in a 450SX main event—something no other manufacturer has accomplished in the 450cc class this year. The feat was also accomplished by Honda riders at Anaheim III, Atlanta II, Indianapolis and Detroit.
The 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series now head west to California for its inaugural date at at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Saturday, April 18. On Friday, Seely will join GEICO Honda riders Tomac, Bisceglia and Malcolm Stewart for an autograph signing at Fremont Honda.