What was anticipated to be an awesome year for Team Honda HRC in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship has been little more than one disappointment after another as injuries have plagued the team since very nearly the beginning of the year.
That’s when Ken Roczen suffered his serious arm injury at the Anaheim II Supercross, and the popular, hard-riding German has been on the mend ever since, undergoing multiple surgeries and months of rehab as he attempts to recover. Roczen’s teammate, Cole Seely, has suffered his fair share of injuries as well, beginning with a groin injury at the 2017 Seattle Supercross. Seely recovered from it, only to suffer a hand injury while practicing at Pala Raceway on June 28, ending his 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship run. Now, after his disappointing outing at the 2017 Motocross of Nations, Seely will miss the 2017 Monster Energy Cup after undergoing surgery to remove the screws and plate that were used to repair the hand injury.
That leaves Team Honda HRC without either of its contracted factory team riders available, but “Big Red” isn’t about to miss one of the most popular single indoor stadium motorcycle racing events in the world. Instead, Team Honda HRC has drafted GEICO Honda’s Christian Craig and 2016 FIM 450cc MXGP World Champion Tim Gasjer to fill-in at the Monster Energy Cup.
Craig is familiar with Team Honda HRC already, having scored 11th place twice while filling in for Team Honda HRC at the Salt Lake City and Las Vegas Supercross rounds this year, and he finished 11th in points after contesting the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship with the team. In a press release announcing his latest ride with the factory team, Craig said Cthat he is excited to ride the Monster Energy Cup with Team Honda HRC.
“After spending the entire outdoor season with them, we have a really cool relationship,” Craig said, “So I’m happy to get the opportunity to keep racing the CRF450R. I’ve always liked MEC because it’s a different format and is exciting for both racers and fans. The team and I started testing a couple weeks ago, and everything has been going awesome. I’m used to the bike, but we just had to tweak a couple things to change it over for supercross. I’ll have a couple more weeks of practice, and then we’ll be in Las Vegas!”
In the same press release, Seely said that he was planning on having the surgery done right after the motocross season ended, but he put it off to contest the Motocross of Nations.
“It was a really minor procedure, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do because the hardware has been bothering me for a while now,” Seely said. “It was hard to make a tight fist and would get sore after races, so I think this will help. I also want to take some time off, which is why I decided to do it now and miss Monster Cup. I’ll have a couple weeks to relax, recover, and let my body rest before diving full-speed into supercross training.”