Supercross fans have been eager for injury update news of Ken Roczen and Cole Seely as they recover from surgery. They have also been watching with interest to see who Team Honda HRC would bring in for the injured duo and today the Ride Red Factory team announced their temporary substitute.
Of course, plenty of bench racers, some serious, and some just looking to troll had suggested James Stewart as a possibility. For them, they will be disappointed that Bubba either didn’t get the call or turned it down – I’ll leave it to you to come to your own conclusions on that one.
Considering the injury Roczen was coming off at the start of the AMA Supercross series, Team Honda HRC got off to a decent start and the pair of CRF450R pilots improved as the rounds clicked off with both Seely and Roczen looking stronger each round. Roczen had posted three podium finishes in the first five rounds, while Seely had moved himself up into second in the points standings.
But since San Diego the team has been decimated by injury. First Roczen as he suffered injuries to his right hand in San Diego followed by injury for Cole Seely when he fractured his pelvis and sacrum at the Tampa round.
Both Roczen and Seely will take a significant amount of time to recover. Roczen has already confirmed this week that he is out for the remainder of the Monster Energy Supercross championship and will now target a return for the AMA Pro Motocross series, which kicks off at Hangtown on May 19 – it’s likely that Seely will have a similar target.
Roczen is optimistic about the future and is making progress in his recovery. On Tuesday, February 27, the German visited his local physician for his first follow-up appointment since Dr. Viola performed surgery on February 16. Roczen’s stitches were removed from all five incisions, and another X-ray was taken.
He is still wearing a brace and has another checkup in three weeks. Roczen is optimistic about the future and has his sights set on the start of the AMA Pro Motocross series, which begins at Hangtown on May 19.
Team-mate Seely is still admitted at Tampa’s St. Joseph’s Hospital but is hoping to be released by the end of the week. At that point, he will return to his temporary home in Claremont, Florida, where he’ll remain until his follow-up appointment.
So with both riders out for the next couple of months, Christian Craig will once again step in to fill the rather large hole left by Ken Roczen and Cole Seely as the lone rider for the red Factory outfit.
This marks the fourth time that the GEICO Honda rider has served as a stand-in ride for the Factory outfit. Last year Craig posted a pair of 11th place finishes at the Salt Lake City and Las Vegas AMA Supercross rounds, and he then finished 11th overall in the AMA Pro Motocross series. He also rode for the team at the Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas last October.
“I’m super excited to be riding the CRF450R for the next few weekends, but I’m also extremely bummed for Cole and Ken,” Craig said in a press release.
“Cole and I are training and riding partners and kind of do everything together, so seeing him get hurt last weekend was really upsetting. I worked with the team for a couple supercross rounds last year and the entire summer, so we know each other well. I also have an idea of what settings I like on the bike.
“We’ll have a couple days to test before heading to Atlanta this weekend. I’m grateful for this opportunity and hoping Cole and I can get back to doing our normal routine soon.”
Team Honda HRC Manager, Erik Kehoe, explained: “With Christian already being a Honda team rider and having spent a lot of time on our bike last year, it made the most sense for him to transition into the 450 class for us.
“He’s got the speed and talent to deliver solid results for us, so we’re looking forward to working with him again. This is one of the many benefits to having such a great partnership with GEICO Honda, and we appreciate them allowing us to have Christian so quickly.”
Following the Daytona Supercross, Team Honda HRC will make a decision on its rider lineup for subsequent rounds.