With team-mate Cole Seely sidelined due to injuries sustained in a practice crash last week, Trey Canard was the sole Team Honda HRC rider at round 12 in Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium.
Two days before the Santa Clara race, Cole Seely suffered a hard crash while practicing at Southern California’s Milestone MX and chipped off a piece of his C7 vertebra.
Seely didn’t travel to Santa Clara, and although his prognosis is not definitive, he’s currently expected to return in two to four weeks.
After getting off to a mid-pack start and charging though the field, Canard rode to a fifth-place finish in the 20-lap main event. Meanwhile, fellow Red Rider Justin Bogle, of GEICO Honda, led in the race’s early going and eventually scored a sixth-place result, his best of the season so far.
After checking out the dirt during the morning’s designated track walk, Canard opted to run hand guards on his CRF450R. “The dirt was pretty bad,” said mechanic Brent Presnell. “There were so many rocks, I knew we’d be putting hand guards on. It was almost like Vegas.”
For the first time, Canard opted to race while wearing Asterisk’s AC System, which is designed to open up a rider’s nostrils. “I ran them once at home for the first time and really liked them, so I decided today that I wanted to run them for the race too,” Canard explained. “They were great. They really open up your breathing.”
The Santa Clara track showcased some of the lowest lap times seen so far this season. Canard was impressive throughout the day’s qualifying practice, securing the second-fastest time with a blistering 43.563 seconds. He was one of only three riders to drop into the 43-second mark. Bogle was ninth with a 44.686-second time.
Canard was forced to transfer to the main event via the semi race, but he used the opportunity to lay down his fastest lap time of the night: 43.053 seconds.
This week, the series heads to Indianapolis for round 13. On Friday, the Honda Red Riders will make an appearance at Westfield Powersports from 6 to 7:30 pm to sign autographs and hang out with fans.
“Tonight wasn’t bad,” said Canard. “I got in a first-turn crash in my heat race, so that started things off a little rough, but I had a decent main. My start was actually okay, but then I got shuffled back in the beginning. Overall, I just need to get a better start, which I keep saying, but if I can figure it out I know I can run with those guys.
“All in all it was a good day though – getting the best time in one of the practices, second overall in combined qualifying times, and I just felt good all day. We made some changes to the bike before Detroit, and I’m really happy with how everything is working right now. I just need to have the results that reflect that.”
Team Manager, Dan Betley commented: “I sound like a broken record, but we were solid all through the day again and just didn’t have the start in the main event. Trey ended up turning the fastest lap of the entire day in his semi race, which was awesome, but another bad start left him fighting from the back.
“I felt like he was more aggressive during the day than he’s been all season and was racing like the old Trey. He has the speed, so there’s no question there; we just need to put it all together.
“Bogle got a great start in the main event, which was awesome, but he’s still working on getting fully up to speed. We did some suspension changes to his bike this week, so it was definitely an improvement. He’s making progress and there are a lot of positives to take away from tonight.”
THE FOCUS: Back in the Saddle
After competing for 11 consecutive weekends, the racers used spring break to refocus and recover for the final stretch of the series. “It was great to have a weekend off,” Trey Canard said. “It was a good opportunity to spend some time at home with family without having to travel. Our schedules are so hectic each weekend – we’re always riding and then hopping a plane – that it was cool to just relax and not worry about getting on a plane.”
Unsurprisingly, Canard didn’t spend all of the extra time with his feet propped up. “Although we had the weekend off, it didn’t mean the work completely stopped,” he said. “This was a great opportunity to regroup, focus on things we need to do, and try to come back strong in the final races of the series.”