ANAHEIM, Calif. (January 23, 2018) - Cole Seely rode his Wiseco-sponsored No. 14 Honda CRF 450R to a spirited second-place overall finish in Saturday night's Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, in the series second and final visit of 2018 to Angel Stadium.
The sturdy effort powered Seely up two spots, from fourth to second, in the premiere 450 Class Championship standings, with three of 17 races in the books.
The top-two effort also marked the California rider' the first podium of the season as the series rolled out its new triple crown format – a three-race showdown (Anaheim, Atlanta, Minneapolis) where both the 450 and 250SX Classes compete in three main events. Each triple crown event features Olympic-style scoring, where the rider with the lowest point tally at the end of the night collects the overall win.
Seely led the first 450SX Class main event from flag-to-flag and took the checkered by nearly five seconds over fellow Honda rider Justin Brayton. The 27-year-old finished second in the second main event, and seventh in the third, to score a sturdy 1-2-7 effort on the night.
"It feels great to be back on the podium," commented Seely, following Round 3. "Leading some laps in the first race definitely helped boost my confidence, but I was happier with the way I rode in the second main event. I knew I was riding really well in the first two mains, but sadly my start in the third race got me. It was hectic coming through the pack. I ran out of steam in the end and wish I could've pushed forward a little more and made a few more passes. I had the win in my grasp and was so close."
One of the main storylines of the night was Seely's HRC teammate Ken Roczen's return to the same venue where he suffered a catastrophic, season-ending injury last January. Admittedly, the two-time Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Champion wasn't quite himself Saturday night, but he still managed to scratch out a respectable 11-12-4 effort and finish ninth overall.
"It was Anaheim 2, which is obviously where I crashed and even though I tried not to think about it at all, it lingered subconsciously in the back of my mind," explained Roczen. "I didn't feel like myself at all out there. I was riding bad and couldn't seem to do anything about it. Even though I didn't feel good, it was great to just finish it and get this one off the checklist. It was a big night and obviously, it could've gone worse--as we saw here last year. We're walking away from here super healthy and looking forward to next weekend's race."
In 250SX Class action, Wiseco-sponsored GEICO Honda riders Christian Craig and Chase Sexton showed the way for their factory-supported Honda effort. Craig's 2-3-5 effort translated into a third-place overall finish and his first podium of the season.
While Sexton finished further down the final results sheet than he hoped, the 250SX Class Rookie of the Year contender showcased his Wiseco power by winning the holeshot in the second and third main events and riding his 15-8-3 effort to an eighth-place overall finish.
"I was so motivated this week," offered Craig. "I don't know what it was, but something just hit me. I have to start making something happen. I'm getting up there in age so there's not much time left for me with this racing thing. Whenever these opportunities come, I need to make the best of it. I started up front, ran with those guys and put in consistent laps. During the week, I'm riding really well and my confidence is high so I'm happy to finally bring that to the races."
University of Phoenix Stadium plays host this weekend when Monster Energy AMA Supercross visits the home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals. Round 4 of the 2018 supercross championship will be televised live on FS1 Saturday, Jan. 27 beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 5 p.m. Pacific.