By Aaron Hansel, Steve Matthes and Jason Weigandt
Cole Seely | Team Honda HRC | 3rd in 450SX
It was tough. Start was so tricky and so slick, but we got off to a decent start, but the first two turns were so hectic with guys taking different lines, cross-jumping, just all kinds of stuff going on. Not on purpose, it was just a hectic first lap for sure. I knew once everything settled by lap three or four I could put my head down and charge and pass a few guys. I did that and was feeling really good and had a good forward charge going but got a little tight at the end again. It’s only my sixth or seventh week back on a supercross track since my injury so I’m definitely still feeling that. At the same time, I haven’t peaked yet so I’m still gaining momentum as these rounds go on. It feels good to know I have more in the tank and feeling progression each week.
When you say you’re still feeling that, are you talking fitness?
Fitness mainly. My speed is there for sure, but I am a little bit on the weak side, and a little on the unfit side as far as cardio goes. I literally couldn’t do anything with my upper body for three months and had to take three months off cycling, riding, all that stuff. I think November 14 was my first day on a supercross track. Every day at the track has been fun and I feel like I’m progressing every day. It’s been a blast working with Jeff [Ward] and Brian Lopes.
Talk about that battle with you and Jason Anderson.
It was a heated one. It was ignited by him jumping on a red cross flag, and I hate to be handed a position because of that, but it is what it is. But if it wouldn’t have been for that and him gaining those extra seconds on me, I don’t know. Those were precious seconds I needed. I needed to have that cushion to be able to charge forward, and once I felt he was on me I couldn’t keep moving forward. He hit me pretty good, and that last one was harder than the others. But it’s racing, and it’ll probably happen to him at some point too. I’m not saying that in a threatening way, its just part of lining up with such a stacked and talented field. – Aaron Hansel
Marvin Musquin | Red Bull KTM | 9th in 450SX
The race was a lot better. We made a lot of changes on the bike, and during the main event it could have been a lot better. My start was okay, but I made a big mistake not getting on those tables. I had to roll and lost a lot of time, but I had some good laps and good passes too, and I feel happy on the bike. That was big step for me. Riding the 450, compared to the 250, is a big step. Practicing is one thing and racing is another. There’s a big difference. The bike changes made me happy and I was able to do more things I wanted. Overall, ninth place, it’s better but obviously I want to do better. I just think about the way I’m riding and the way I am mentally, and it was good tonight.
You mentioned not getting on those tables. Last year you probably could have gotten away with a few of those and still won. Talk about the differences in the 450SX Class.
It’s awesome when you win and that’s what I did last year—I had an awesome year. But now, being in the 450 Class it’s really exciting. And obviously it’s very tough. Not getting in the top ten, it’s like man, ten guys in front of me, that’s a lot! You want to get on the podium and you want to do well, but that level is pretty amazing. Those guys are strong and fast, and tonight I felt like the track wasn’t simple, but everybody was doing the same thing. There was nothing crazy out there and the level was very consistent. But these are the top riders in the world, and hopefully one day we get on the podium.
Are you looking forward to more technical tracks?
Well this track was technical. During practice there were a lot of very fast outside lines, but in the race the inside was better. If you went outside the guy behind you would jump inside and cut you off. So at the end the inside line was the best and that made it really technical. That’s what I like, and with the changes we made I was able to ride the bike better. – Hansel
Justin Brayton | BTOSports.com KTM | 10th in 450SX
Racer X: A holie in the main, I think you were credited with it.
Justin Brayton: No, Reedy I guess. I’m not sure. I want to watch it. I’m pretty bummed about that.
I thought you had it. You were running up front and you’re doing better. Heat race was good again. You led a bit. A better ride.
For sure. The heat race was definitely better. My starts were awesome. Like I said, I’m a little bummed about not getting credit for the holeshot so I’ll have to look at it. In the main, to be totally honest, I just was losing my rear brake. I kept losing it. I’m not exactly sure what’s happening there. Got to fix that. I’m doing things that I know I can run at the front. A few laps I would match Seely, then [Eli] Tomac got me.
Did that happen early?
About lap six it started to go. But it actually went once in the heat race too. So I’m just not real sure exactly what’s going on but we’ll figure it out this week I’m sure. But definitely starts are good and progressing well, so I’m excited about that.
If the rear brake had worked better for you, this is a track where the start is huge, it was a short track, pretty easy for you guys, so that was really key.
Yeah, for sure. There was really nowhere to pass. I felt like if I could even run close to what the front guys were running, which I feel like I was, I wasn’t going to get passed and go to 10th. But who’s to say? Put myself in good positions, keep doing that. There’s fifteen more of these and hopefully get some podiums soon. That’s my goal. I know it’s a stacked field and people probably say he’s crazy for thinking that but I know I can do it. – Steve Matthes
Davi Millsaps | BTOSports.com KTM | 12th in 450SX
Racer X: I thought you looked good in practice all day, times were good. Unfortunately early in the main event you fell on that triple and that was it from there, right?
Davi Millsaps: Yeah, it was pretty much it for being in the front. There are so many fast guys out there. Everyone that I was going by, trying to catch back up—it’s unreal how many factory guys are out there. I was just pumped to ride good and start feeling better. We had a little bit more work to do with myself and the bike to get stronger, get the bike a little bit more comfortable for me. As soon as I can get a start I think it’ll be fun.
Feel better this week than you did last week?
Yeah, way better this week. Honestly I didn’t ride that much this week. I had a lot going on this week and didn’t really have much time to do anything. So I think everyone struggled last weekend. I don’t think it was just me. I think it was all 22 people on the gate. But I had massive arm pump. I couldn’t feel my hands. My shoulders were shot and my legs were shot. So whatever happened last weekend I was over it and wanted to move on from it. This weekend I felt good. My arms were great, my legs were great. So just trying to stay consistent and feeling great, I guess.
In the main event you were moving up on guys and catching them, so that’s nice.
My lap times were good. I was catching them.
Some good guys.
Yeah. Everyone in the class is good, so it’s hard to really say. All in all I felt good. The bike was good. Just a bummer to hit the ground like that.
The whoops looked like they got a lot easier from practice. I guess they rolled them, right?
Yeah. Everyone was saying the whoops are so big. They weren’t big, they were just very uneven. The problem is you’d have them to where one was really small and the next one was really big. I think that’s what kept catching people off-guard. You just had to go in and just not even worry about it and do the best you can to get through them.
You’re pretty good at them anyway so for you it would have been better to be gnarly all night.
I don’t mind gnarly whoops. I like them better than easy whoops. – Matthes
Cooper Webb | Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha | 1st in 250SX
Racer X: Another win for you but I’m worried because these starts, they’re not good.
Cooper Webb: No, they aren’t. It wasn’t very good tonight, but in my defense I think it started a little bit in the heat race. The gates, the ruts were pretty jacked up. If you weren’t the top three gates I don’t think you would have really had a good chance. They’ve been sucking. I was sucking at them today. I think we just haven’t really tested much starting stuff just because of all the stuff we’ve had going on. We just were worried about the motor and the bike and everything like that. So this week we’ll really focus on that and try to get it done.
What’d you think of the track tonight? Where were you really good?
I thought the track was awesome. I thought the dirt was really good. It turned out good. I think for me it was a little bit corners but I felt really good in the whoops. Then the rhythms I felt like I could really charge those. I thought it was a good track. It made for some good racing from what it looked like. The 450 Class seemed to have some good battles.
In the main event I didn’t see you do the three-in rhythm too much or at all. What was the reasoning? What’d you think?
I’m not too sure. I think for us it was just a lot harder. We had to go outside and really get that first one. I probably should have done it actually now that you say that, behind Zach [Osborne]. But when somebody’s right on your ass it’s kind of hard. 2-2-3-3 I think was good, but not quite the fastest.
I don’t know if you had the Dartfish [video program] or not, I wonder what the difference was in that section.
Yeah, we don’t have all that.
Some contact with Zach there.
Yeah, that’s what they said. I didn’t realize I actually bumped him. But it was good. He stuck in that next turn so it was fun racing. I knew he wasn’t going to make it easy. He’s been riding really good today, so I figured he’d be the guy to beat.
He’s shaping up as a guy that could cause you some trouble, huh?
Yeah, for sure. He gets good starts and he’s definitely been racing for a while so he knows how to get it done. – Matthes
Zach Osborne | Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna | 6th in 250SX
Racer X: Led some laps, getting some heat race wins, battling Cooper Webb. The result’s not going to be what you wanted but the riding was good.
Zach Osborne: Yeah, it’s a little bummer that I went down but at the same time I was going for the win. Second would have been definitely nicer than sixth, but I went down trying so I’m not that bummed about it. It happened really quick and I didn’t even have a chance to save it. It is what it is.
What’s cool though is that when you had the lead, and even when Webb got there, it looked like you were comfortable up front, like you had been there, done that.
Yeah. I’ve just been killing it this off-season honestly. I feel good about my bike. I feel good about my program. He kind of came in there pretty hot [when he made the pass]. I maybe should have been a little more aggressive or even waited to go through the whoops and done it at the end of that turn, but I wanted to answer quick. I didn’t want him to feel like he just owned me and he was just going to carry on. I just wanted to throw it back in there. It is what it is. I’m learning each weekend. I know it sounds ridiculous for a fourth year Lites guy to say he’s learning but all these guys help each other during the week and we are pulling for the same thing and that’s for Husqvarna to be at the front. It’s just a really solid environment. – Jason Weigandt