It's been four years in the making, but Troy Lee and the dedicated staff of his race team finally found the top step of the podium this weekend in the inaugural supercross at Dodger Stadium.
The team has been on a steady climb since transitioning from Supermoto in 2008. Their first year they tallied top ten finishes. In 2009, they were regulars in the top five. Last year, Wil Hahn and Ben Townley made regular podium appearances. And last night, Cole Seely won the very first motor vehicle event ever held in the Chavez Ravine.
The night didn't start out that great. After making some significant changes to gearing to improve starts, all three TLD guys rounded the first turn in the top five in Heat 1. But as they entered turn two, Christian Craig went down hard and injured his knee in the process. The crash would be the end of his night.
"I ended up hole shotting the heat race, and somebody crossed over on me when I was in the air," said Christian. "I landed on [him] and went down pretty hard. I hurt my knee pretty bad and that ended my night."
"I dont know exactly whats wrong with it yet, but hopefully I'm not off the bike too long. I'm going to work really hard to get back out there as soon as I can."
Cole Seely finished the heat race second and Travis Baker secured his spot into the final a few spots behind Cole.
The main event was all Cole Seely from the drop of the gate. After seeking the help of former champion Jeff Ward on his starts, Cole had things figured out and it showed. While a whirlwind of drama was unfolding behind him, Seely put in clean, solid laps and scored the first win of his young career.
Travis Baker was running inside the top ten until a crash set him back several places. He would remount, unscathed, and finish the night in eleventh place.
"I got off to a descent start around 8th, and on the second lap I took a digger in the turn," said Travis. "So I was in last, I fought my way back up to twelfth but was just dissapointed in my ride. The last few rounds my first two laps are killing me so going into next week, I'm gonna make sure the first few laps are solid so I can run where I should be in the front."
Better days are definitely ahead for the friendly young rider.
The mood under the TLD awning was obviously good after the nights racing. Troy Lee and Cole Seely realized dreams that they have been pursuing for years, and words couldn't describe how excited they were.
"This week I worked with Jeff Ward on my starts and it paid off tonight," said Cole. "It makes a big difference in the way the race unfolds when you are out front. This is the first win of my career and it feels great!"
Troy Lee had this to say: "This is a dream come true for me! So much work has gone into this and my guys bust their butts. Cole rode awesome and really dominated tonight. I can't thank Tyler, Matt and the whole team enough. This is a really cool feeling and I hope we can keep this momentum rolling."
Next up, the Troy Lee Designs / Lucas Oil / Honda riders head to the Coliseum in Oakland, CA for Round 4 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship on Saturday January 29. Catch the action on Speed TV January 30 at 12pm EST.
TLD would like to thank all of our team sponsors: Lucas Oil, American Honda, PPG, Red Bull, SillyBrandz Global, Adidas, BioLytical Labs, Dunlop, McQueen Racing, VQ OrthoCare, Shock Doctor, Skullcandy, Renthal, Alpinestars, Pro Circuit, Primm MX Collection, Couts Heating & Cooling, Selle Italia, N-Style, VP Racing Fuels, ODI, DID, Rossignol, Pacific Collision Centers, Muc-Off, Kasey Kahne, Elrod Racing, New Era, Leatt, Cycra, Hammerhead, Hinson, Light Speed, Moto Tassinari, Twin Air, Talon, QTM, and EPIC Action Camera.