Honda On Top at Glen Helen With Tomac
For Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely, the Glen Helen National was an improvement on last week’s AMA Pro Motocross season opener, although untimely falls held him to 10th overall. Seely again showed notable speed during qualifying, but the first moto saw him take a pair of tumbles that shuffled him back to 38th. Seely kept his composure and was able to fight back through the field, crossing the finish line in 14th. The second moto went much better, and Seely rode well throughout the entire 30-minute-plus-two-lap race to log a ninth.
Meanwhile, it was another exciting day for Seely’s fellow Red Rider Eli Tomac, who put together an inspiring performance aboard his factory GEICO Honda CRF450R, en route to a perfect 1-1 effort. Tomac’s unblemished record to start the season moved him to 19 points ahead of second place.
• Though he’s still recuperating from injury, Team Honda HRC’s Trey Canard flew to California to support his fellow Honda riders, and the Oklahoman was kept busy while he was in town. Canard attended a Friday-night dealer appearance at Chaparral Motorsports as well as two race-day autograph sessions at the track, and also joined host and friend Jimmy Albertson on the live Pro Motocross pre-race show.
• After being sidelined at last week’s Hangtown season opener following a first-moto crash, Cole Seely had a mellow week, much of which was spent recovering for Glen Helen. “I was still a little banged up after last week’s crash so I wasn’t able to ride earlier in the week,” he said. “I went and got rechecked by the doctor as a precaution and everything came back good, so I did go out Wednesday and Thursday to get some laps in. I didn’t have a really hard week because I was trying to save myself for the weekend.”
• During the morning’s timed qualifying practice sessions, a mere .641 seconds separated the top four riders, and Seely’s 2:20.610 lap was third-quickest. GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac qualified sixth at 2:21.290.
• For the second consecutive week, Tomac was the fastest rider on the track during both motos, and he opened a healthy margin over second place by the time the checkered flag flew. In the opening race, he won by 37.610 seconds, while in the second he pulled to a 23.426-second gap.
• Glen Helen is known for a few unique obstacles, including the Talladega first turn—the steepest-banked, fastest turn in the series—and drastic and challenging elevation changes like Mount St. Helens, which towers hundreds of feet over the track’s bottom section. “The start at Glen Helen is intense,” Seely said. “Everyone’s going so fast because of how long the straightaway is, and then everyone’s barreling into Talladega, which is basically a bowl turn. Then directly following the start there are multiple steep elevation changes that can cost a lot of time if you make a mistake. Unfortunately, I had an incident like that today. I fell on one of the hills and couldn’t get going from where I was, so I had to wait for all the riders to pass so I could ride back down the hill and try it again.”
• Tomac’s dominant performance was Honda’s first 1-1 premier-class sweep at Glen Helen since Ricky Carmichael topped both motos in 2004, and the sixth overall. Carmichael had turned in the same moto scores at the ’02 and ’03 editions, Sebastien Tortelli went 1-1 for Honda at Glen Helen in ’99 and Jeremy McGrath was perfect in ’96.
• The Honda Red Riders will return to action on May 30 for round 3 of the AMA Pro Motocross series in Lakewood, Colorado, for the Thunder Valley National. On Friday, Team Honda HRC and the GEICO Honda squad will visit Sun Enterprises for an autograph session.