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Minneapolis Supercross backstage pass with Team HRC

By Liz Keener

Race makes its debut at U.S. Bank Stadium

I’ve been pretty lucky to have traveled to Supercross races over the past three years. In 2014, I went to the Oakland race with Bell Helmets, and in 2015 and ’16, I attended Atlanta races with Parts Unlimited. 

But when Supercross was finally returning to Minneapolis after a three-year hiatus, I had to be there. The crew at American Honda heard I was planning to head to the race, so they hooked my dad and me up with a special experience. 

Mandie Fonteyn, powersports account manager for Dispatch Communications and communications lead for the Honda Factory Racing team, welcomed us into the pits, which were situated in a parking lot across the street from the stadium. There was no pit party held because of the small amount of space allotted to the racing crews, but Fonteyn saved a pit pass for my dad, and I was able to jump in with my press pass. 

Team HRC rider Cole Seely is introduced to the 50,000-plus in attendance for the Supercross race at U.S. Bank Stadium. Seeley rode out in a custom No. 14 Minnesota Vikings jersey that he then gave to someone the crowd.

Once inside, we were treated to more than an hour with Fonteyn, learning about Team HRC, its weekly routine and its trucks. Fonteyn walked us through the truck from which the Team HRC techs work on the bikes. We got to see how organized the trucks have to be for the convenience of the techs, the ease of ordering new parts and also for inspection when the team crosses the U.S./Canada border for the Toronto race. 

She showed us some improvements the team made to the tech truck, when they ordered a new one for this season. A new slide-out, for example, gives the techs more room to work. And a sliding cabinet allows the team to bleed brake lines in advance, so damaged lines can be easily replaced. We were also able to touch a few parts, including titanium bolts and foot pegs that were incredibly light weight. 

After touring the tech truck, we checked out the hospitality truck. The vehicle houses snacks and water for the team, a stationary bike for Team HRC rider Cole Seeley to warm up on and space for Seeley to relax or watch film. In the back, there’s even room for a Honda Ridgeline pickup, so the truck driver can run errands, such as grocery pickups, at each stop. 

Team HRC takes a look at Cole Seely’s No. 14 Honda after the qualifying round.

After the grand tour of the Team HRC pit, we wandered the rest of the pit and peeked in on the prep the other teams were completing. 

When it was race time, Bill Savino, manager of four wheel market planning at American Honda, hosted my dad and me in a suite he was sharing with his family. From there, we watched a great night of racing. 

In the first Monster Energy AMA Supercross race at U.S. Bank Stadium since it opened last August, Joey Savatgy took the top of the podium after a hard-fought, intense 250 main event. Eli Tomac then won the 450 main event after taking the lead from Davi Milsaps in Lap 2. Hometown favorite Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, took third behind teammate Marvin Musquin. Team HRC’s Seeley took the holeshot, but he soon after took a spill and ended the race in fifth.

With a crowd of 50,000-plus, the Minnesota return of Supercross seemed to be a success. And my dad and I definitely enjoyed our time at the race and with Team HRC. 

 

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