|On Saturday, Team Honda HRC surpassed the halfway point of the 2019 AMA Supercross season at round nine in Atlanta, Georgia, where Ken Roczen rode his CRF450R to another fourth-place finish. In the night’s main event, Roczen was forced to start on the far outside after a having problems finish in his heat. When the gate dropped, the German launched down the straight to an impressive start, rounding the turn one in second. Unfortunately, he lost his momentum in the first rhythm section, falling back multiple positions. He worked his way into fifth by the second lap, which is where he spent much of the race. After making multiple pass attempts, Roczen capitalized on a mistake made by Aaron Plessinger, allowing him to take over the fourth spot. He was unable to gain ground on the leaders and took the checkered flag in fourth.
Although it wasn’t reflected in his final finishing result, Cole Seely rode strong in the main event, mounting a noteworthy come-from-behind-performance as he made his way from 21stto 10thduring the 26-lap race. Seely got off to a poor start and made several mistakes on the opening lap, falling to the back of the pack, but he put his head down and overtook half of the field before the finish.
- The evening before the race, Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely and Ken Roczen joined GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton, Cameron McAdoo and RJ Hampshire, along with MotoConcepts Honda’s Justin Brayton, Malcolm Stewart and fill-in rider Mike Alessi and BWR Honda riders Tyler Enticknap and Carlen Gardner for a rider appearance at the popular Mountain Motorsports of Marietta. Hundreds of fans were on hand to meet their favorite Red Riders for pictures and autographs.
- After being sidelined from last weekend’s Detroit Supercross when he took a rock to the sternum, Seely spent much of his week rehabilitating to ensure he could be on the gate on race day. “Last week was really tough,” he said. “My chest was swollen and every time I tried to engage my pectoral muscles, they’d cramp up and I just didn’t have the strength to hang on last weekend. I went home and did a lot of therapy for three days in a row. I actually did the cryotherapy and that helped a lot with the swelling, pain and even gaining back some range of motion. I was actually able to hop on the bike on Tuesday and did a light day to make sure I could hang on, and then went hard on Wednesday.”
- During the daytime qualifying practice period, Roczen posted the seventh-fastest time of 48.524”, which was secured in the first session. Seely was ninth with a 48.755” time.
- Both Roczen and Seely were slotted in 450SX heat two, and Seely got off the line to a fourth-place start but made swift and impressive passes in the first rhythm lane to take over the early lead. Roczen also got a good jump out of the gate but was pinched off in the first turn, shuffling him outside the top five. Seely continued to ride composedly up front for the entire nine-lap race, taking the win. This marks the Californian’s second heat race win of the season and the ninth of his career. Roczen finished seventh.
- The Atlanta Supercross marked the first of two 250SX East/West Showdowns, with East Region riders racing their fourth round and the West Region riders coming back after a three-week hiatus for their sixth round. GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton showed notable speed throughout the day, taking second in his heat race before finishing fourth in the main event. It was a challenging night for Sexton’s teammates and West Region riders RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo, as multiple mishaps during the 20-lap race left them 12thand 16th, respectively.
- On Sunday following the race, Team Honda HRC’s crew headed directly to Claremont, Florida, for a week of testing prior to Daytona. According to Team Manager Erik Kehoe, the testing approach is different this year. “ The past couple of years, they’ve brought in a lot more clay when building the Daytona track, so it’s a lot more similar to a regular supercross track than it used to be, other than the few sand sections. Previously when testing before this event, we seemed to make bigger changes, and then when we get to the race we actually went back closer to the regular settings we’ve run during the season. This week, we’re going to work on a few things but it shouldn’t vary too much from where we are now.”
- This coming weekend, Team Honda HRC heads to Florida for the 46thannual Daytona Supercross. On Friday, Roczen, Seely, and GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton will take part in press day at Daytona International Speedway before heading to RC Hill Honda Powersports in DeLand for a pre-race party and autograph session.
Mandie Fonteyn // Jonnum Media // firstname.lastname@example.org// +1 (951) 537-0454