he 2016 AMA Pro Motocross season concluded with the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where Team Honda HRC’s Fredrik Noren rode to a respectable ninth-place overall finish. In moto one, Noren got off the line to a less-than-desirable start but quickly began navigating through the pack. By the halfway point, the Swede had worked his way into ninth, which is where he finished. On the opening lap of moto two, Noren got tangled with a downed rider’s bike, causing him to fall back to nearly last. He put in an impressive come-from-behind performance over the remainder of the 30-minute-plus-two-lap race, advancing to ninth by the checkered flag.
- After nine weeks of recuperation from a finger injury, Cole Seely is expected to return to riding this week. The Californian had been enjoying the best AMA Pro Motocross season of his career, with two third-place moto results, when he suffered the injury, which required surgery. “The recovery process took a little longer than I thought,” said Seely, who attended the Ironman National as a spectator. “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.”
- Rain throughout Friday night and Saturday morning left the Ironman track covered in thick mud for the timed qualifying practice period. Fredrik Noren was ninth fastest with a 2.36.957 lap time, posted in the first session.
- For Team Honda HRC, there is no break following the final AMA Pro Motocross race, as the team is quickly switching gears back to Supercross mode. Testing starts right away for the Monster Energy Cup, to be held at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium October 15. “We have a ton of work that needs to be done,” said Team Manager Dan Betley. “Unlike in previous years when our bike had relatively few changes, the 2017 CRF450R is all-new, requiring a lot of testing. We won’t be taking any time off; instead, September will be the busiest we’ve been since the beginning of the summer.”
On the eve of the Pro Motocross finale, Team Honda HRC hosted an end-of-season BBQ in the Ironman MX pits to honor Trey Canard, who is departing to ride for another team next season. Everyone from the factory Honda squad was in attendance, as was the GEICO Honda crew, who had the pleasure of working with Canard during his 250 career. Before the festivities, Team Manager Dan Betley and Manager of Motorcycle Sports Takashi “Sam” Mishima presented Canard with custom trophies, one from American Honda and the other from Honda Racing Corporation and HGA (Honda motorcycle R&D) in Japan. In return, the Oklahoman showed his gratitude by surprising the team with its own plaque that he had made. A few days before the race, Honda had also issued a farewell video featuring memorable moments from Canard’s time with the brand.
Canard has spent 10 years in the Honda family, and his departure has been surrounded by positive feelings. “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 10 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 12 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.”
Everyone at Honda wishes Canard the best in his next endeavor.
Fredrik Noren 39I’m not feeling great about my results today. A 9-9 score isn’t that bad but it’s obviously not where I want to be. My riding was pretty good today though, so I’m happy about that. Overall it’s been a bumpy year but I’m glad to have ended it with some pretty solid motos with these guys. I just need to get those starts dialed. In moto 2, I had a decent spot coming by the mechanics’ area and was about seventh when [Benny] Bloss went down in front of me and I ran into his back, getting stuck. I was one of the last guys once I got going again, but felt like I was riding really well after that. I had worked my way up pretty far and was feeling good until I crashed and just lost all my momentum.
Team ManagerTo say this was a tough series would be an understatement. I’m happy for it to be over and to be moving toward 2017. We started strong with Trey and Cole both riding well at the opening rounds, but we were dogged with injuries for the rest of the series. We had Freddie come on board for the last three rounds, and although we had hoped for some top-five finishes, we’re happy with the results he produced. We can just plan for next year and try to come back strong.
Mechanic (Fredrik Noren)Freddie is probably one of the most consistent riders I’ve ever worked with. Wherever he qualifies is where he finishes; he was ninth in practice and ninth in both motos for ninth overall. The day wasn’t too bad overall, and I think he rode well, but he needs to be better on his starts. He can’t get pushed around on the start straight or the first turn, but to have two crashes in the second moto and still come back to ninth is really good. He was riding really well, and it was a pleasure working with Freddie these past couple weeks.
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