MENTOR, Ohio (February 20, 2018) – Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, returned to Arlington, Texas Saturday night and while podium finishes weren't in the cards, three Wiseco-sponsored riders parlayed workman-like efforts into top fives.
Team Honda HRC's Cole Seely was the lone rider flying the factory team's flag at AT&T Stadium while his teammate Ken Roczen continues to recover from the hand injury he suffered two weeks ago at the Oakland Supercross.
Seely recorded the eighth-fastest time during Saturday afternoon's qualifying session and put together an impressive come-from-behind third-place finish in his heat race.
The rider of the No. 14 Honda CRF450R got a strong jump out of the starting gate during the premier 450SX Class main event and raced among the front-runners for the entirety of the 20-minute-plus-one-lap feature. Seely worked his way as high as fourth in the running order but was left to settle for fifth after coming up on the short end of a battle for position with points leader Jason Anderson in the latter stages of the race.
"I'm obviously frustrated because I want to be further up there and on the podium, but that was the hardest-fought fifth I've ever had to work for," commented Seely, who jumped from third to second in points. "I think I rode a lot better than the result shows. I was also happy with how I managed the race, my energy, and effort. I laid it all out there, especially on that last lap because I knew Cooper (Webb) was behind me and was going to try and stick a wheel in anywhere he could. I was just trying to ride defensively but still be fast."
Across the paddock, the Eastern Regional 250SX Class made its 2018 debut and there was plenty of action and drama to go around.
A frenzied night in 250SX Class action led to a mixed bag of results for GEICO Honda's three-man eastern lineup of RJ Hampshire, Jeremy Martin, and Cameron McAdoo.
A massive, multi-bike pileup in the center of the first corner collected nearly half the field, including Martin. Fortunately, Hampshire was at the point and collected his first Holeshot Award of the season. Hampshire set the pace early and held down the top spot for the first 13 laps but faded in the late goings and was forced to settle for fourth.
"I was riding so bad all day, I shouldn't have been leading," lamented Hampshire. "Even the second lap, I almost endoed off a dragon's back, had to roll the whole section. It was just sloppy. To be leading with three minutes and thirty seconds to go, I was just like 'Dude, what is going on?' I kind of got comfortable in the middle (of the race) a little bit and was kind of clicking them off.
By the time Zach (Osborne) moved into second, I should have had a ten-second lead. I should have held it together and shouldn't have made those mistakes. But I've never led laps before and I've never gotten a holeshot in the main event, so that's something."
Martin, who rode the No. 6 Honda CRF450R for the first three rounds, returned to the 250SX Class ranks in Arlington. Despite being collected in the first-turn crash, Martin picked himself up and stormed through the field to bring home a commendable fifth-place finish.
McAdoo managed to dodge the early carnage but was collected in a separate incident during the first lap and despite breaking a bone in his throttle hand, still managed to finish 13th.
"Really enjoyed finally being back on the gate for GEICO Honda on the 250 in Dallas," said Martin. "Felt like things weren't coming easy for most of the day so the team and I worked hard to get me comfy for the main event when it really mattered. The main was basically total damage control since I went down in the first turn coming back to fifth place. Looking forward to Tampa and hopefully, everybody calms down a little."
"Dallas was a crazy one and not how we had envisioned Round 1 going," added McAdoo. "I got together with another rider and was stuck in his bike for about half of a lap. I ended up with a small fracture in my right hand, but did everything I could to fight forward and ended up 13th."
McAdoo's injury will not require surgery and he will be evaluated this week to determine his status moving forward.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross continues its eastward trek this weekend when the series returns to Tampa, Fla., for the first time in two decades. Live coverage of Round 8 from Raymond James Stadium will be televised on FS1 Sat., February 24 beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 4 p.m. Pacific.