On Saturday, the city of Nashville played host to its first AMA Supercross race, and Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely and Ken Roczen fought through a hectic main event to finish seventh and eighth, respectively. Roczen had a decent start to the main event but was pinched off in the first corner and was shuffled back to eighth, while Seely was just behind in ninth. The German quickly began working his way toward the front, climbing to third on lap three. One lap later, while Roczen was preparing to attempt a pass on Joey Savatgy for second, Savatgy went down, and with nowhere to go, Roczen hit Savatgy’s bike and tumbled over the berm. Thwarted by oncoming traffic from quickly reaching his bike, Roczen eventually remounted in 21st place.

As for Seely, he put in a notable ride, advancing to fifth on lap six and maintaining the position for much of the race before late fatigue caused him to relinquish two positions and take the checkered flag in seventh. Meanwhile, Roczen had mounted a strong come-from-behind ride aboard his CRF450R to salvage an eighth-place finish.

NOTES

  • The Seely name is well known not only in the field of supercross racing, but also in country music circles. In fact, Cole Seely’s great aunt Jeannie Seely is a country legend as a singer, songwriter, Grammy winner and longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry. That being the case, last week was a busy one in Nashville for the two, as they interviewed with local media including Nashville Entertainment Weekly, Think Country, The Country Note, WSM650 Country Radio and Today in Nashville. On Friday evening, Cole and his Team Honda HRC cohort Ken Roczen got a special opportunity to be introduced by Jeannie onstage at the Opry, where they spoke about the city’s inaugural race. Then on race day, Jeannie and the band Exile kicked off the evening by singing the national anthem.
  • Similar to Seattle, the Nashville track’s dirt contained large pieces of rock and debris, so following track walk, Roczen requested his mechanic mount Cycra handguards on his CRF450R. Seely opted not to run them.
  • For the second consecutive weekend, Roczen was strong during daytime qualifying, posting the fastest time of 48.376” in the second session. Seely also looked solid, but with competition close, he landed ninth via a 49.596” lap.
  • With the American MotoGP round coming up next weekend in Austin, Texas, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and his crew—all huge fans of supercross—were in the U.S. early to attend the Nashville round. Team Honda HRC was pleased to have the reigning world champion stop by their pits to check out the bikes and talk racing with Seely and Roczen.
  • During the opening ceremonies, Roczen rode out in the jersey of Roman Josi, team captain and defenseman for the NHL’s Nashville Predators, who were playing right across the river. (Both athletes are with the Wasserman management agency.) Roczen then signed the jersey and tossed it into the crowd.
  • When the gate dropped on 450SX heat 2, both Roczen and Seely got off the line to good starts, coming around the first turn third and fourth. By the second rhythm lane, Roczen had made the pass into the lead, and he never looked back, taking his fifth heat-race win of the season and setting the fastest lap time of 48.497”. Meanwhile, Seely had tucked into second behind his teammate on lap two and ridden strong throughout the remainder of the six-minute-plus-two-lap-race.
  • Following a West region swing, the 250SX East class returned to action for a one-race stint, and GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton scored the top qualifying position and dominated his heat race. In the main event, Sexton got off to a second-place start and made a pass for the lead early. A few turns later, Justin Cooper attempted a pass and made contact, sending both riders to the ground. Sexton remounted his CRF250R in 15th place and began an extraordinary charge through the field, arriving in second on lap 13, and finishing only 3.5 seconds off the leader. Points leader Austin Forkner sat out the night with injury, so Sexton now sits a mere three points out of the championship lead, with 148 points.
  • Nashville marks 14 rounds straight, and the riders still have one more race before getting a welcome weekend off before the final events. “I think it’s insane, honestly,” Seely said. “We’re definitely a bit overworked. We all have the same schedule but it’s just so tough. We were talking to [Marc] Marquez earlier, and the max they go [in MotoGP] is three weekends in a row and we’re going on 15. It’s a bit crazy. I think we’d all have a little longer careers if we raced a little less, but we all have to do it so I just need to focus on pushing through these last few rounds.”
  • On Saturday, April 13, Team Honda HRC will be in action in Denver to contest another city’s inaugural Supercross, at Mile High Stadium. The night before the race, Roczen and Seely will make an appearance at Peak Honda World in Littleton, Colorado, beginning at 6 p.m.

Press contact:

Mandie Fonteyn // Jonnum Media // [email protected] // +1 (951) 537-0454

Cole Seely  14

“Tonight was good but still not great. I’m still happy though. I was running really good for the first 14 minutes of the main event and then just got tired there toward the end. It’s kind of been the story of my season, unfortunately. I’ve been struggling with my fitness—more strength-wise than cardio. I’ve been working on it, but it’s hard to build during the season because you can’t work yourself so hard during the week then be flat on the weekends. It’s a fine line but I think I’m doing a good job in my routine. We’re just taking the positives away from tonight. I feel like I rode really well and rode with more confidence than I normally do when I line up.”

Cole Seely

Ken Roczen  94

“I don’t even know what to say because nothing surprises me at this point. I feel like I just can’t catch a break. Things started out so great and I really felt like tonight could have been my night. Everything was flowing well in qualifying and I got another heat-race win. My bike was working great and I was having fun. I didn’t get the start that I wanted in the main event but was making passes quickly. Unfortunately, [Joey] Savatgy went down while I was right behind him and I hit his bike. There was nothing I could do; I had nowhere to go. By the time I got going again I was last, so I just tried to dig deep and do whatever I could to make up as many positions as possible. I’m not happy with eighth but it’s okay considering what happened. We’ve got a few more opportunities to make it happen, so on to Denver.”

Ken Roczen

Erik Kehoe

Team Manager

“I really feel like tonight was Kenny’s night and it could have been his win; he looked strong all day and was happy with his bike. He was charging in the main event and unfortunately, he couldn’t avoid the crash so there was really nothing he could do. I know he’s getting frustrated, so I just don’t want him to let these last couple weekends get him down. Tonight was a decent night for Cole. He was riding strong in fifth for much of the main event but just ran out of steam and fight toward the end, losing those last two spots, which was a bummer. He still needs to work on his closing half of the race, but it’s hard to make gains fitness-wise during the season because you don’t want to work hard all week and come to the race fried. He just needs to focus on putting the whole race together and it’ll come to him.”

Erik Kehoe

Jordan Troxell

Mechanic (Cole Seely)

“There were positives and negatives to take away from today. Overall, Cole was pretty happy with his bike setup all day. We made a few changes throughout practice because the track was so dry, but we went back to the original settings during the night program. Then he finished seventh, so that’s good. He was running fifth but struggled to maintain his pace toward the end, which cost him two positions. The last two weekends have been a lot better, so hopefully he can continue to build and get good results these last few rounds.”

Jordan Troxell

Oscar Wirdeman

Mechanic (Ken Roczen)

“Man, if it wasn’t for bad luck it seems like we’d have no luck at all! Ken definitely had the speed tonight to get the win before he went down. It’s frustrating for me, so I can’t even imagine how he feels! He couldn’t have done anything differently, it was just one of those freak deals. I was happy to see how he was able to work his way forward and get his way back up into the top 10.”

Oscar Wirdeman

450SX Main Event Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Time/Gap
1 TOMAC Eli 3 USA 26 Monster Energy Kawasaki
2 BAGGETT Blake 4 USA 23 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS
3 WEBB Cooper 2 USA 21 Red Bull KTM
4 WILSON Dean 15 GBR 19 Rockstar Husqvarna
5 OSBORNE Zach USA 18 Rockstar Husqvarna
6 MUSQUIN Marvin 25 FRA 17 Red Bull KTM
7 SEELY Cole 14 USA 16 Team Honda HRC
8 ROCZEN Ken 94 GER 15 Team Honda HRC
9 BOGLE Justin 19 USA 14 RCH Racing
10 BOWERS Tyler 69 USA 13 Bowers Racing
11 BLOSE Chris 111 USA 12 RJC Racing/AEO Powersports
12 LAMAY Ben 907 USA 11 TPJ.com/Fly Racing
13 CHISHOLM Kyle 11 USA 10 Chisholm Racing
14 ALESSI Mike 800 USA 9 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing
15 STARLING Justin 68 USA 8 AJE Motorsports
16 POLITELLI Austin 981 USA 7 Old Town Construction/ TripTagger/ Yamaha
17 RAY Alex USA 6 Cycle Trader Rock River Yamaha
18 BREECE Ryan 86 USA 5 None
19 BARCIA Justin 51 USA 4 Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha Team
20 HILL Justin 46 USA 3 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
21 GRANT Joshua 33 USA 2 Monster Energy Kawasaki
22 SAVATGY Joey 17 USA 1 Monster Energy Kawasaki

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 WEBB Cooper 2 USA 309 Red Bull KTM
2 TOMAC Eli 3 USA 288 Monster Energy Kawasaki
3 MUSQUIN Marvin 25 FRA 288 Red Bull KTM
4 ROCZEN Ken 94 GER 267 Team Honda HRC
5 BAGGETT Blake 4 USA 238 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS
6 WILSON Dean 15 GBR 220 Rockstar Husqvarna
7 SEELY Cole 14 USA 176 Team Honda HRC
8 SAVATGY Joey 17 USA 174 Monster Energy Kawasaki
9 BARCIA Justin 51 USA 154 Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha Team
10 REED Chad 22 AUS 151 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
11 BRAYTON Justin 10 USA 141 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing
12 BOGLE Justin 19 USA 138 RCH Racing
13 PLESSINGER Aaron 7 USA 123 Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha Team
14 HILL Justin 46 USA 122 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
15 BOWERS Tyler 69 USA 116 Bowers Racing
16 OSBORNE Zach USA 98 Rockstar Husqvarna
17 CHISHOLM Kyle 11 USA 88 Chisholm Racing
18 LAMAY Ben 907 USA 83 TPJ.com/Fly Racing
19 FRIESE Vince 45 USA 65 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing
20 RAY Alex USA 53 Cycle Trader Rock River Yamaha
21 ANDERSON Jason 21 USA 46 Rockstar Husqvarna
22 GARDNER Carlen 805 USA 38 None
23 ALESSI Mike 800 USA 36 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing
24 BLOSE Chris 111 USA 31 RJC Racing/AEO Powersports
25 MARTINEZ Cole 68 USA 29 Cycle Trader Rock River Yamaha
26 BREECE Ryan 86 USA 21 None
27 POLITELLI Austin 981 USA 20 Old Town Construction/ TripTagger/ Yamaha
28 STEWART Malcolm 27 USA 17 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing
29 STARLING Justin 68 USA 12 AJE Motorsports
30 SOUBEYRAS Cedric 201 FRA 12 None
Author

Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.