Sign of the (Lap) Times: Ironman

Sign of the (Lap) Times: Ironman

As we reported last week, after ten years, Honda and Trey Canard will go their separate ways at the end of the year, with Canard expected to move to Red Bull KTM for 2017. Canard’s career with the brand began at Factory Connection Honda as amateur, before moving to GEICO Honda for three-plus years and winning two titles (one 250SX and one 250MX) with the team. He then graduated to factory Honda on a 450, where he won plenty, but injuries derailed any title aspirations. Throughout the entire process, both Honda and Canard, have handled the situation with pure class. Last week, Honda produced a video thanking Canard for his years with the brand. On Friday, before the Ironman National, the team hosted an end of the season BBQ to honor Canard, where Trey was presented with custom trophies, one from American Honda and the other from Honda Racing Corporation and HGA (Honda motorcycle R&D) in Japan. Canard surprised the team by presenting them with a plaque he made.

Canard had the following to say in a team press release about his time with the brand.   

“It’s not very often in sports in general that you see an athlete and an organization leave on such good terms,” Canard said. “Actually, I don’t feel like we left on good terms—I really feel like we leave on great terms. There are no hard feelings or drama and the whole process has been very respectful from both sides. Then this week has just been surreal for me. To see the video that was done for me was very emotional. It brought to life so many situations, both highs and lows, that I’ve experienced over the past ten years with Honda. That was unreal. Then to come here on Friday and feel the love and support from not only the Team Honda HRC crew, but also Japan and GEICO Honda was amazing. I’d also really like to say thank you to my mechanic Brent [Presnell], who has worked with me for twelve years and truly is family. This is definitely the end of a chapter in my book, but it was a great way to end it for sure.”

Honda
Honda

Ken Roczen, who had previously clinched the 450MX title (the second of his career) a week earlier, is expected to replace Canard at Honda HRC for 2017 and beyond. While Roczen wasn’t able to talk about his impending move, we did ask him about his accomplishments with Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/RCH Suzuki and about his relationship with co-owners Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart.

Talk about what you and this team were able to accomplish this year. I think you were the first privately funded team to win this championship.
If you would have asked me last year at this press conference what’s going to happen this year, I would have said I do not know. But it’s pretty amazing for me to see what we have done, where we came from and how much of a low we had last year. Like you said, we’re the first private owned team to pull it off. The results speak for themselves. I had so much more fun this year. The vibe and everything was way, way better and obviously my bike was way better than last year, too.

Talk about your relationship with Ricky and Carey. On social media we saw you guys arm wrestling and all that stuff. It looked like it was fun.
Ricky and Carey and I are actually really good friends. Especially Ricky, he’s a character. I love hanging out with him beside dirt bikes. That’s the most fun. We’re good friends. I’m probably actually going to go down to Destin in the next couple of weeks and go with him on the boat and have some fun. Obviously it was cool for Carey to be here for the last race of the season. He wasn’t there last weekend but he came this weekend. It’s cool to have him here. It’s exciting having him around because he never really comes to any outdoor races, so it was cool.

Roczen ended the season with another 1-1 win and led pretty much every major category in 2016—including laps led, moto wins, overall wins, holeshots, etc. We’ve put together a list of the leaders in the 450 and 250 in laps led, moto wins, overall wins, avg. finish, and holeshots for the 2016 season.

450 Class

Rider Laps Led
1. Ken Roczen 324
2. Eli Tomac 37
3. (tie) Cole Seely 10
3. (tie) Ryan Dungey 10
5. Justin Bogle 5
Rider Moto Wins
1. Ken Roczen 20
2. Eli Tomac 3
3. Ryan Dungey 1
Rider Overall Wins
1. Ken Roczen 9
2. Eli Tomac 2
3. Ryan Dungey 1
Rider Avg. Finish
1. Ken Roczen 1.8
2. Eli Tomac 2.7
3. Marvin Musquin 6.1
4. Justin Barcia 8
5. Christophe Pourcel 10.4
Note: At least 6 races completed
Rider Holeshot
1. Ken Roczen 6
2. Justin Bogle 4
3. (tie) Marvin Musquin 2
3. (tie) Justin Barcia 2
3. (tie) Cole Seely 2

250 Class

Rider Laps Led
1. Joey Savatgy 71
2. Alex Martin 66
3. Cooper Webb 55
4. Austin Forkner 52
5. Jeremy Martin 47
Rider Moto Wins
1. Cooper Webb 8
2. Joey Savatgy 5
3. Jeremy Martin 4
4. (tie) Alex Martin 2
4. (tie) Austin Forkner 2
4. (tie) Zach Osborne 2
Rider Overall Wins
1. Cooper Webb 4
2. Joey Savatgy 3
3. Alex Martin 2
4. (tie) Austin Forkner 1
4. (tie) Jeremy Martin 1
4. (tie) Zach Osborne 1
Rider Avg. Finish
1. Cooper Webb 3
2. Alex Martin 5.6
3. Jeremy Martin 5.8
4. Austin Forkner 6.4
5. Joey Savatgy 8.4
Rider Holeshots
1. Adam Cianciarulo 6
2. Austin Forkner 4
3. (tie) Cooper Webb 3
3. (tie) Alex Martin 3
3. (tie) Jeremy Martin 3

More good news for Honda HRC: Cole Seely, who has been out since RedBud with a broken finger, is expected to return to riding this week with his goal to return at the Monster Energy Cup in October.  

“The recovery process took a little longer than I thought,” said Seely in a team statement. “Luckily, I live right down the street from my physical therapy office so I would go every day for electric stimulation and have my hand worked on, which I think helped for sure. I’ve been off the bike for about nine weeks, but I finally get to start riding again on Tuesday. We’re going to jump right into some testing with the 2017 bike and start getting ready for Monster Cup.” Roczen also confirmed that he will race Monster Energy Cup, which we presume will mark his debut on a CRF450R.

Matt Bisceglia’s fill-in role with Yoshimura Suzuki has to be deemed a success. After parting ways with MAD Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki, Bisceglia began riding for the team at Thunder Valley—his first races ever on a 450. Through seven rounds raced (he missed three rounds due to injury) Bisceglia had nine top ten moto finishes. He ended the season strong with 11-6 moto scores (his second moto sixth was a season-high) for eighth overall. Afterward, Bisceglia thanked the team for their help this season in a team press release: “I can’t say enough for what the Yoshimura Suzuki team has done for me this summer. Three or four months ago I didn’t know where my spot was in this sport and they believed in me and gave me a shot. I was able to come in and get some top-ten finishes when their riders were hurt. I have so many to thank, people who are behind the scenes and never get their day of recognition. This is a summer I’ll never forget.”

Lap Times

450 Class Moto 1

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:26.756 3 2:32.384 Ken Roczen
2 2 2:27.090 3 2:32.709 Justin Barcia
3 4 2:29.527 2 2:34.387 Marvin Musquin
4 3 2:30.560 5 2:33.776 Eli Tomac
5 5 2:30.850 2 2:34.489 Jason Anderson
6 6 2:32.375 2 2:36.706 Phil Nicoletti
7 7 2:32.878 2 2:36.656 Benny Bloss
8 9 2:34.582 5 2:37.795 Fredrik Noren
9 8 2:35.372 8 2:38.058 Weston Peick
10 12 2:35.409 5 2:41.814 Kaven Benoit

450 Class Moto 2

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:24.298 2 2:31.448 Ken Roczen
2 2 2:26.200 3 2:32.706 Justin Barcia
3 5 2:26.349 2 2:35.776 Jason Anderson
4 4 2:27.369 2 2:35.230 Marvin Musquin
5 3 2:28.302 2 2:32.560 Eli Tomac
6 8 2:29.165 2 2:37.116 Phil Nicoletti
7 9 2:30.105 4 2:35.978 Fredrik Noren
8 7 2:30.658 2 2:36.386 Weston Peick
9 6 2:31.082 2 2:35.985 Matt Bisceglia
10 12 2:32.183 4 2:39.490 Dean Wilson

250 Class Moto 1

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:31.918 3 2:36.680 Austin Forkner
2 3 2:33.480 3 2:38.598 Alex Martin
3 2 2:34.226 3 2:38.562 Joey Savatgy
4 6 2:34.316 3 2:39.665 Adam Cianciarulo
5 4 2:34.794 3 2:38.780 Arnaud Tonus
6 7 2:35.022 2 2:40.282 Mitchell Oldenburg
7 5 2:35.275 3 2:38.342 Cooper Webb
8 8 2:38.007 9 2:41.410 Aaron Plessinger
9 9 2:39.407 7 2:42.342 Jordon Smith
10 11 2:39.408 2 2:44.684 Zach Osborne

250 Class Moto 2

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:27.893 3 2:32.111 Aaron Plessinger
2 3 2:28.090 3 2:33.631 Austin Forkner
3 2 2:28.217 3 2:32.808 Cooper Webb
4 5 2:29.523 4 2:36.526 Adam Cianciarulo
5 4 2:30.243 5 2:34.140 Alex Martin
6 15 2:31.111 4 2:33.669 Zach Osborne
7 34 2:31.118 5 2:34.688 Joey Savatgy
8 9 2:32.110 3 2:35.664 Arnaud Tonus
9 13 2:32.274 3 2:40.981 Mitchell Oldenburg
10 36 2:33.090 4 2:38.085 Chris Alldredge

More news and notes

Arnaud Tonus ended the season with a strong 4-9 finish for sixth overall. His second moto was especially impressive, as he came from thirty-fifth (after lap 1) to ninth. Tonus finished ninth in 250MX in his second season with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki. “This was my best race of the year,” he said in a team statement. “My speed and the way I rode, I’m really happy with today. At the end of the first moto I felt great and made a late moto pass. In the second moto unfortunately I went down early on and started basically last. It was a hard ride but I pushed really hard and crossed the line in ninth, which I’m happy with. The shoulder injury from Monster Energy Supercross held me back a bit early on but no excuses and I ended the season well.”

Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill ended the season strong after missing six rounds due to a back injury. Since his return at Washougal, Hill's collected three top five finishes and four top ten finishes over the last eight motos. He went 15-7 for tenth overall at Ironman. “I’ve really felt good in the second half of the moto, but still have needed to find that speed in the opening laps,” said Hill in a statement. “I was able to do a bit better in moto two, which we’ll claim as a positive way to end an up and down season.”

For the second summer in a row, Mitchell Oldenburg wasn’t even sure if he would race the entire Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season with TLD/Red Bull KTM. His results, and injuries to other team members, made him a valuable part of the team, so he stayed on for the duration. He finished tenth in points and went 7-13 for eighth overall on Saturday. “It’s been a long motocross season and I’m really happy to bring the team another top 10 finish,” said Oldenburg in a statement. “Obviously I would have loved for the race to have gone better in moto 2, but we came out healthy and have all 12 rounds under our belt.”

Oldenburg held off RJ Hampshire to finish tenth in 250MX points.
Oldenburg held off RJ Hampshire to finish tenth in 250MX points. Cudby

The Motorcycle-Superstore.com Suzuki squad completed its first ever season at Ironman. Kyle Cunningham (15th) was the top finisher of the team, ahead of Jimmy Albertson (27th) and Josh Osby (39th). Cunningham finished eighteenth overall in Indiana. “Indiana ended up being another tough track with weather playing a huge part,” he said in a team statement. “Definitely some of the deepest ruts of the year with how soft the dirt was. The first moto I got off to a great start and even with a pit stop for goggles (ran out of tearoffs) was able to put together a 13th. The second moto was definitely a tough one. I got off to another good start and was up around 12th for the first half of the race. After the mild heat stroke last weekend at Budds Creek I found my muscles cramping really bad and put the bike on the ground a couple of times which led me to an 18th in moto two. It definitely wasn't the way I wanted to end the season but I can't wait for this off-season to build and come back even stronger in 2017! Huge thanks to the whole MotorcycleSuperstore.com Suzuki racing team! It has been an awesome year working with such a positive group of people. Also thank you to all the sponsors that supported us this entire season. I can't wait to see what 2017 has to offer!”

The tricky track conditions led to tricky qualifying sessions, also. The unseeded 250 riders in the first qualifying session of the day probably had the best conditions—before the ruts got super deep—and that left a bunch of seeded factory riders and big names out of the top 36 qualifying spots, and into the Last Chance Qualifier race.

GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire was one of a few well-known names that found themselves in the LCQ on Saturday. Chris Alldredge, Gannon Audette and Jackson Richardson, among others were also in the LCQ. Hampshire won the race over Alldredge, Nick Gaines and Cody Williams, but admitted it was nerve wracking. ”That was my first LCQ, I was super nervous!” said Hampshire.

Hampshire went on to finish eleventh overall. “First moto had a terrible start and worked up to 10th but crashed twice the last two laps,” he said in a team statement. “Second moto I got a better start but crashed hard the first lap, worked my way all the way up to 10th. Happy the year is over and I'm healthy. Looking forward to a productive off season.” 

Tristan Charboneau ended his rookie season with GEICO Honda with a fourteenth overall finish. The Washington native finished twentieth in points despite missing five rounds due to a collarbone injury. That was costly, because you might recall that Charboneau started the season stride-for-stride with fellow rookie Austin Forkner at Hangtown. “Bad gate pick, so I lined up on the gate for the first moto and went Glen Helen style and took the far inside gate, came around the first turn in seventh or so, had a crash on the fourth lap, which put me back to tenth. Then I crashed in the same spot again which moved me back to fifteenth, made a minor mistake on the last lap and [Justin] Hill got around me. Finished sixteenth in moto one.

Charboneau ended his rookie season fourteenth overall in 250MX.
Charboneau ended his rookie season fourteenth overall in 250MX. Cudby

“For moto two I lined up three gates from the inside, pulled another good start, about eighth, and decided I wanted to crash in the third corner, so I was back to thirty-second,” Charboneau continued. “I put on a hard charge the first lap after I got up and crossed the finish line lap one in sixteenth, made my way to twelfth by lap four, had a crash that put me back to sixteenth again, then passed the same four guys the next lap back into twelfth! I saw [Mitch] Oldenburg in the distance and put my head down and made the pass on him, then saw Hill in the distance and put my head down once again to catch him. I got close to him with three laps to go and gave it all I had, but then I felt like I just hit a freight train head on. Hampshire and [Arnaud] Tonus got around me the last lap, so I ended up twelfth in moto two for or fourteenth overall.”

Jordon Smith had the best individual moto finish for the GEICO Honda team with ninth in moto one, but bike problems left him thirty-sixth in moto two. Bike problems were once again the order of the day for Zach Osborne. He had trouble in both motos, leaving him with 11-15 scores the weekend after winning his first career overall win a Budds Creek. After being ultra-consistent through the first half of the season, Osborne suffered through mechanical woes in four of the final five races of the season.