Cole Seely’s underdog status has been talked about quite a bit lately, but most of his mediocre days came a long time ago. When we say Seely didn’t seem destined for greatness, we base that on where he was in 2009, when he was a border-line main event guy in the Lites class.
Since then, Seely has been anything but mediocre. He has five career wins against loaded Lites/250SX West Region fields, and went down to the wire for the championship with Jason Anderson last year. He also recorded a 450SX podium last year, all good enough for a spot on Team Honda HRC. These are legit credentials.
Still, Seely never did get that 250SX West Championship, which means he’s now joined a surprisingly small group of riders that have won a 450SX Main Event without winning a small-bore title. Seriously, this group is really small.
Since 2000, here’s The List of riders who have won 450SX main events without winning a Lites championship:
That’s it! If you want to sprinkle in a little more, you can go back to the 1990s and note non-125 Champs who won 250 mains, like Jeff Emig, Larry Ward, Mike Craig, and Mike Kiedrowski. But the waters get a little muddy because 125SX only started in 1985, and didn’t really become the obvious path to the top for a few more seasons. Jeff Stanton, who won the 1989, 1990, and 1992 AMA Supercross Championships, never raced the 125 class, for example.
We’ve also seen a few established GP stars come over and enter the premier class straight away, so they never had a chance to win a 125 crown. A few of them won races. We’re talking about riders like Jean-Michel Bayle, Greg Albertyn, and Sebastien Tortelli here (Vuillemin gets onto the above list because he spent legitimate time chasing a 125 West Supercross Championship).
But even if you want to remove those caveats, we can only go thirteen deep:
- Jeff Emig
- Larry Ward
- Mike Kiedrowski
- Mike Craig
- Jean-Michel Bayle
- Greg Albertyn
- Sebastien Tortelli
That’s the entire list of premier class race winners without a 125/Lites/250SX title since 1990—excluding riders who started racing supercross before the 125 class began back in ‘85.
Just thirteen riders. Seely’s win is still a relative breakthrough!