This year it has been a little bit harder than normal for privateers to succeed in Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Not only are they going up against the best riders and equipment in the world, but Lites riders are now vying for two fewer spots in the main event, as the Lites class starting grid has been reduced from 22 to 20 riders. One rider who has been affected is rookie Cole Seely, who finished third in the Anaheim 1 LCQ. Seely has managed to qualify at Phoenix and San Francisco, finishing eleventh in both, and he’s the subject o today’s Sponsorhouse.com Privateer Profile.
Cole Seely: I’m 18 years old, almost 19, and I live in Newbury Park, California. I stay in Murrieta most of the week to train and ride with my teammate, Michael [LaPaglia], and to work with my trainer, Curt Bingham, and that’s about it.
Is this your first year racing supercross?
Yes, this is my rookie year for supercross, and it’s going pretty good. I’ve learned a lot since Anaheim 1, and I seem to learn a lot every round. It’s a lot of fun.
You’re batting .500, as you’re two-for-four in making the Lites main event this year, and you placed eleventh both times out. Thoughts?
Yeah, I’m pretty happy. At San Francisco, I was sick all week leading up to it, and I was pretty sick while I was there. I was good for about eight laps, and then I started to fade; I could feel myself getting sick during the race. But it was a lot of fun just being able to run up there with Dungey and all of those guys. I showed myself that I could go that fast.
What happened at the two races where you were not able to make the main event?
Just bad luck. At Anaheim 1, I crashed in my heat race and then in the LCQ I worked my way up to third, but they only take two this year. And then at A2 I got a bad start in the heat race and caught up to twelfth, so I had to go to the LCQ again. And I was passing for second to make it into the main, and Sleeter kind of took me wide and pushed me off the track.
Hopefully, you can redeem yourself in Anaheim this weekend.
I’d like to, but the weather is looking like it may be a mud race, but hopefully that’s not the case.
Tell us about your amateur motocross career.
I had a bunch of top-five finishes, but I never really won anything. I would race against guys like the Alessis, Nico Izzi, Austin Stroupe, Darryn Durham.… There was just a huge group of talented riders.
So why did you wait till you were 18 to start racing supercross?
When I was 16 I kind of got burned out, and I quit for a year and a half. My friend Lance Coury kept bringing me to the track and I started having fun with it again, and then when I was 17 I decided to start racing amateurs again and things just fell into place from there.
Did anything change while you were away?
Yeah, I felt like I wasn’t racing for myself; I felt like I just kind of had to be there. When I came back it was a lot more fun and I felt like I was doing it for me and I wanted to be there. It gave me a lot more motivation, and I also started training a lot harder and riding a lot more.
What areas do you feel you have to improve on the most to maybe get in the top ten or top five?
Just right now I’ve been working a lot with my new trainer, Kurt, on endurance, and I think that’s the key. I feel I have the speed; I just need the stamina to stay up there.
How have you liked the tracks so far?
They’re pretty easy, I thought. The track I ride on out at LaPaglia’s house is really difficult, and it’s hard to stay out there for fifteen laps, but I thought Phoenix and San Francisco were a lot of fun. Anaheim 2 was a little weird and didn’t flow well, but it’s been really fun.
I spoke with your agent, Brian Siegrist, and he mentioned that you guys have a lot of unique sponsors helping you out this year.
Yeah, I have a lot of guys helping me out. Lyle from Fun Center and Greg Link—they’ve been awesome. I don’t think I could’ve picked a better team to be with in my rookie year. Michael Ball, the founder of Rock & Republic clothing, he’s helped me out a lot too. He helped me get to Loretta’s last year. Also, Corbin Bleu from High School Musical, he’s been helping me out a lot and he’s been to every supercross that I’ve raced, which is pretty cool.
[Laughs] No, but I actually helped Corbin learn how to ride. All I did was help him learn how to use a clutch and keep his balance, but I didn’t do any of the stunt riding or anything.
How’s he doing so far?
He’s good! He picked it up really fast, surprisingly. He was stalling every now and then, and I would run over to help him, but he would start it up and take off before I’d get to him. He’s doing really well.
Before I let you go, what’s your goal for the rest of the season?
I want to get a couple top-tens and maybe even a top-five. If I keep getting good starts, you’ll see me up there.
Will we then see you at Glen Helen on Memorial Day Weekend?
We’re trying to figure something out. I’d really like to do the outdoors. It’s not for sure yet, but it’s looking pretty good.
Who do you want to thank for helping you out this year, Cole?
I’d like to thank all the guys down at Fun Center Suzuki, Lynk Racing, Fly Racing, Scott, 661, Pro Circuit, RG3, Pirelli, Pro Tec, Factory Effex, RestorX, RG3, RK Chain, K&N, Motion Pro, Works Connection, TCR, UFO, VP Racing Fuels, Torco, Boyesen, CV4, Hinson, Ten Ten Clothing, Subway, Freestyle: The Movie, Rock & Republic, Rock Racing, Rockwell Timepieces, Under Armour, Millennium Technologies, Nice Collective, and Johnson Motors.
Damn, you have a lot of sponsors—I thought you were a privateer!
[Laughs] Yeah, there’s a lot of guys. If I forgot anybody, sorry!