Following a very successful 2011 supercross series, the Troy Lee Designs boys made their way to the California capitol for the opening round of the national motocross series last weekend. With Cole Seely and Travis Baker competing in the 250 class, Christian Craig riding the 450 and Tarah Gieger going after a WMX title the team had plenty going on.
Travis Baker, Photos: Kardas
The weekend started off great when Cole Seely started second in the opening moto. ColeÃ¢Â€Â™s last national at Pala in 2010 ended with his first podium finish in a moto and the team was hoping he would pick up right where he left off. But Seely had his struggles and dropped back to seventh by the end of the moto. His lites teammate, Baker, had an even more difficult time and was credited with 32nd position in moto one after a big crash while running ninth. The Asterisk crew advised Baker to sit the rest of the day out and TravisÃ¢Â€Â™ day was over just like that.
The second moto started well for Seely again and he found himself battling with the frontrunners. Unfortunately, Cole had spent himself in moto one and he had nothing left. After fighting for position for 30 minutes and two laps, he found himself in 13th spot. His moto scores would earn him tenth overall on the day, not what he was hoping for but still a good platform from which to start the series. Baker was credited with 35th in the second moto.
Cole Seely, Photo: Kardas
Ã¢Â€ÂœIt was a pretty disappointing day,Ã¢Â€Â said Seely of Hangtown. Ã¢Â€ÂœI feel good on the bike and my speed was actually pretty good, it just didnÃ¢Â€Â™t come together for me today. WeÃ¢Â€Â™ll regroup and get after it next weekend. I ended last season with a podium so thereÃ¢Â€Â™s no reason I shouldnÃ¢Â€Â™t be up there again right now.Ã¢Â€Â
Christian Craig was excited to get back to racing after spending the past few months healing from an injury sustained at the Los Angeles supercross. Craig was feeling good and showing good speed in timed qualifying. He is known for his great starts and he pulled one out in the opening moto of the series. After rounding turn one in second behind Kevin Windham Christian tightened up. The first fifteen minutes of the moto he lost several spots and was clearly riding tight. He loosened up towards the end but he could only hang on to 14th position. He spun off the gate in moto two and came around the first lap buried in the pack. Craig put his head down though and never stopped charging, riding much better in the process, and finished tenth in moto two. It was good enough to give the young rider tenth overall on the day.
Christian Craig, Photo: Kardas
Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™m a little bummed with the way my first moto went,Ã¢Â€Â said Christian. Ã¢Â€ÂœI had such a good start but it made me ride tight. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s good because I know I can get a good start with all those guys. Next time IÃ¢Â€Â™ll be a little more relaxed and I might be able to hang onto it. It was a good start though. IÃ¢Â€Â™ll take this top ten and start working on getting into the top five from here. My bike is great and IÃ¢Â€Â™m looking forward to Texas.Ã¢Â€Â
Tarah Gieger went home with a fourth overall on the day. The feisty Puerto Rican rode to a solid fourth in moto one but was taken out in the second moto by one of her competitors. She was able to get up and rebound for seventh in the moto. Look for Tarah to be back on the podium where she belongs next weekend.
Tarah Gieger, Photo: Kardas
Freestone, Texas is the site of round number two this coming weekend. If you happen to live in the great state of Texas, or somewhere near it, head down there and watch the Troy Lee Designs team get to work in the Texas heat.