SX: Monster Energy Cup Honda Race Report - Las Vegas

14MEC_Team Honda_Canard

Team Honda Press Release:

For Team Honda and Trey Canard, the 2014 Monster Energy Cup was an exciting evening of racing, with two convincing victories and a podium overall result in the unique three-main-event format. Canard was impressive as he rode his factory Team Honda CRF450R to the first two wins, and although a pair of unfortunate miscues in the third main limited him to eighth place in the race and third overall, his showing was nonetheless inspiring.

Despite being denied an amazing storybook finish, the team was pleased both with the result and the potential for even better things to come. As the testing program resumes ahead of the AMA Supercross opener, Team Honda is continuing the positive momentum that began in the latter part of the 2014 AMA Motocross series.

NOTES:

- This was Canard’s first time competing in the Monster Energy Cup, but you wouldn’t have known it from his performance, as he pulled the holeshot and led every lap in the first two main events. Heading into the final main event, Trey was in contention not only for the overall victory, but also to win the truck that goes to any rider who can get the in holeshot all three races and the $1 million prize that goes to a rider who can win all three mains. Many fans were pulling for #41 in the final main, and although things didn’t ultimately work out, Canard was typically gracious on the podium, congratulating winner Davi Millsaps and thanking his team.

- During the day program, Canard set the third-quickest time in qualifying practice (1:10.626), and his 1:10.409 in the first main event was the fastest lap of the race. He had the third-quickest time (1:10.069) while riding to a comfortable win in the second main, and although he posted his worst result in the third main, that same race saw him set the fastest time of any rider in the event, at 1:09.509 on lap two.

- Cole Seely’s first event as an official member of Honda’s factory team didn’t go as hoped, as he fell in timed practice and banged his head. With no series points on the line, the Californian opted to sit out the night program and look ahead to the 2015 AMA Supercross series. Seely has made regular cameos with Team Honda over the past three seasons as a substitute rider.

- Seely’s hiatus meant his debut of his new race number had to be put on hold. Cole has long worn #21 but will be running #14 in 2015. That number was previously the property of Kevin Windham, but the longtime Honda rider retired last season and gave Seely his blessing for taking it over.

- Honda-supported rider Eli Tomac had a solid, consistent performance in Las Vegas, finishing fourth in the first main event, improving by one position in the second outing and then an additional position in the third main, for second overall. “We top four were really close, and I was just a little behind them on the start,” he said. “It was a little bit of a bummer not to battle for the lead, but I felt like it was a good showing. We’ve made some good changes on our motorcycle, and it’s working awesome. I can’t wait to get into supercross mode.”

- Also sitting out the race was Fredrik Noren, who rode with Team Honda for the latter part of the 2014 AMA Motocross series. The squad had planned to show its appreciation by fielding Noren out of the factory truck in Las Vegas, but the Swede suffered a concussion in a practice crash the week before the race, putting him on the sidelines for race day.

- For this event only, Team Honda sponsor Throttle Jockey created special autograph stock for Canard, Seely and Noren. The stickers were in the form of over-sized poker chips with the riders’ respective numbers on them and were a big hit with the fans.

Trey Canard (3rd place)

“I wanted to win this race. I wanted to win all the races tonight, and I was so close. I was feeling really good, which is probably why I crashed in that last race; maybe I needed to back it down a little for a couple laps. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I came into that cushion too hot, but it put me on the ground quick. I gathered it up and was trying to get going again when I went down with Malcolm . But man, it was still such a great night, and I’m grateful to be leaving healthy. There was a lot on the line but I had already told myself that if I won the money I wasn’t going to keep it. There’s too much trouble with money elsewhere and I already make enough, so I’m just happy to be here. I can’t be too mad with how I rode and how great the bike and team are working. I’m hoping to carry the momentum that I’ve gained from the end of motocross and these two race wins into next year and hopefully have a successful 2015 season.”

Cole Seely:

“I did press day Friday and got a good feel for the track. Saturday I felt really good in the first two practices and I was actually setting a really good time on one lap, hitting all my marks up until I came up to the rhythm section. Then I just made a little bobble and mistimed it. I almost pulled it off, but I couldn’t keep it on two wheels and hit my head pretty good. At first I thought I’d be okay, but I got back to the truck and was feeling pretty dizzy. I talked it over with Dan and we agreed that it would be best to sit this one out. It was just an unfortunate little incident, but the team’s been great and I felt really comfortable out there. We’ve got a good setup, and I’m really confident in it.”

Fredrik Noren:

“I was really bummed that I couldn’t go out and race, but it’s fun to be here and see everyone and do the autograph signing. The off-season has been good. I went to the Motocross of Nations for Sweden, which was a lot of fun, and then I came back here and started riding supercross. I had a solid week of practice, but then I made a mistake at Lake Elsinore and hit my head. I need to stay off the bike for a little bit, but hopefully I’ll get back to riding next week.”

Dan Betley: Team Manager:

“Of course we were hoping that Trey could get the million dollars and the overall win, but in the big picture, I’m extremely happy with the way the team has progressed over the last couple of months. He was riding very well and our bike was working very well, which culminated into a great combination. The base settings of our bike were totally on point, so we didn’t have to make any changes to the bike all day. It was a big bummer with Cole. We felt horrible for him because he was excited to be out riding, but unfortunately, he hit his head and it’s better to play it safe and pull him out. In the scheme of things this race isn’t that important, and our focus is A1.”

Brent Presnell: Mechanic: (Trey Canard)

“Tonight was great and there were a lot of positives to take out of it. Obviously, winning races and being the fastest guy on the track is always a plus, so we just have to take it and build on it for January. Trey’s a racer; he races to win and of course the money is a bonus and I’m sure he was thinking about it a little bit. It’s hard not to, but he definitely wasn’t trying to win for those reasons. I think it was just exciting to be that close and to be in contention for everything—not only the overall but the million dollars and the truck. He was having a lot of fun and riding really well, and it really showed. Some people still doubt him, but they’re slowly going to have to start giving him credit because he’s a pretty amazing rider.”

THE FOCUS: - Status Report

The Monster Energy Cup is always an interesting and fun event, but its position on the calendar—less than three months ahead of the 2015 AMA Supercross season opener at Anaheim—means that it’s also an important opportunity for teams and riders to evaluate where things stand in their development programs. For Team Honda, the race was the first chance to evaluate the factory 2015 CRF450R in battle, and the signs were positive.

“We went into this race in part with the idea of seeing where we are compared to the competition, even though not all of the players that we’ll face next year were at the race,” said Team Honda manager Dan Betley. “Obviously, we wanted to do well, and it would’ve been great to win, but in the big picture, we wanted to see what we need to do to improve the bike and equipment.”

Betley pronounced himself “ecstatic” with Canard’s riding, but he was even more pleased with the direction of the team. “This reflects the progress we’ve made in testing, and the staff changes and restructuring,” he said. “We’ve had an inflow of engineering staff and support from Japan, which really helps us from an R&D aspect. It also goes a long way with the riders, knowing that the support is there to address any issues, so we’re excited to move forward and advance the program even further.”

As for next steps, Betley’s plans are clear: “Now we’ll go back and evaluate the race, take everybody’s comments into account, and continue the testing process, which never stops,” he explained. “We’ll keep working on the bike and hopefully the riders will continue to fine-tune their skills, and we’ll march toward Anaheim 1. I’m really looking forward to it, and I think it’s going to be a great 2015 season with our guys.”

Main 1 Results:

1.    Trey Canard (Team Honda)

2.    Justin Hill

3.    David Millsaps

4.    Eli Tomac (GEICO Honda)

5.    Blake Baggett

6.    Justin Barcia

7.    Malcolm Stewart

8.    Ryan Dungey

9.    Dean Wilson

10.    Jacob Weimer

Main Event 2 Results:

1.    Trey Canard (Team Honda)

2.    Justin Hill

3.    Eli Tomac (GEICO Honda)

4.    David Millsaps

5.    Ryan Dungey

6.    Justin Barcia

7.    Jason Anderson

8.    Blake Baggett

9.    Malcolm Stewart

10.    Jacob Weimer

Main Event 3 Results:

1.    David Millsaps

2.    Eli Tomac (GEICO Honda)

3.    Ryan Dungey

4.    Jason Anderson

5.    Malcolm Stewart

6.    Jacob Weimer

7.    Justin Brayton

8.    Trey Canard (Team Honda)

9.    Brett Metcalfe

10.    Weston Peick

Overall Results:

1.    David Millsaps

2.    Eli Tomac (GEICO Honda)

3.    Trey Canard (Team Honda)

4.    Ryan Dungey

5.    Malcolm Stewart

6.    Justin Hill

7.    Jason Anderson

8.    Jacob Weimer

9.    Justin Barcia

10.    Blake Baggett

For more information: Honda Racing