Honda's 2016 Press Day and Factory Race Shop Tour

With the AMA Supercross Series right around the corner, Honda invited us out to its Factory Race Shop at Honda’s US headquarters in Torrance, California. The HRC Honda Team chatted about their plans for next year and how the “off season” is going, while we also heard a little from the GIECO Honda Team, JCR Honda Team, and Honda Montesa Trials Team. Afterward we got a little tour of Honda’s factory race shop and had our pockets checked on the way out to make sure we didn’t have any titanium bits or factory cylinder heads stashed away.

The Honda HRC Team will field two riders in the 450 class, both returning racers Cole Seely, number 14, and Trey Canard, number 41. The team is also stoked to have a second year of support from HRC (Honda Racing Corporation), which previously worked primarily on Honda’s road racing efforts.Courtesy of Honda
This will be Cole Seely’s second year in the 450 class and he is excited about racing with more experience under his belt. “Everyone who lines up on the gate is thinking about the championship,” Seely says. “That’s the ultimate goal, but I also want to work on being more consistent. Now I know what to expect going into each race, and I want to be a threat week-in and week-out.” He also feels 100 percent healthy after rehabbing his shoulder from a crash in the motocross series and subsequent surgery.Courtesy of Honda
Trey Canard kept things light hearted, speaking of his recent trip to Japan where he won the last round of the All Japan National Championship. “We got to see Asimo, which was awesome-o,” Canard joked. He was also asked if he got a chance to see any future motocross machines. “Yep,” he replied with a big grin that let us all know that he couldn’t talk about it further.Courtesy of Honda
GEICO Honda rider Justin Bogle was on hand as well as teammate Christian Craig. Team Manager and supercross legend Mike LaRocco was also present to talk a little about the team’s effort for 2016. Nothing is really different and LaRocco said that he is just excited to keep forward momentum and win some races.Courtesy of Honda
It was also announced that Trey Canard is the new spokesperson of the Ride For Kids Program, part of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Mary O. Ratcliffe, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation explained that Canard exemplifies a strength of character on and off the bike that makes him the perfect fit for the Ride For Kids Program. We will have more on the Ride For Kids in an upcoming interview with Ratcliffe, but in the meantime you can go to to learn more.Courtesy of Honda
Chris Bach’s GNCC racer is a think of beauty.Photo by Sean Klinger
Johnny Campbell’s name is synonymous with Baja, but it has been two years since the JCR Honda team has switched gears completely and is now racing the Grand National Cross County series with CRF450R rider Chris Bach. Campbell was tight lipped with the details, but he did announce that he is very close to having a second rider in his pits this coming season.Photo by Sean Klinger
The tour of the race shop begins – not many garages have racks of frames like these.Photo by Sean Klinger
The race shop has every machining and fabrication tool imaginable and here are some of the raw materials that might just end up being that amazingly trick, one-off part on factory race bike.Photo by Sean Klinger
A frame with one radiator, the rear section of the tranny, a Showa shock with no spring, and a swing arm… Don’t know what is going on here and they aren’t going to tell us either.Photo by Sean Klinger
Two changes to Justin Bogle’s supercross machine for 2016 – the career number 19 and a white background behind the new number. For those who didn’t hear, Bogle will be moving up to the 450 class next year. We are excited to see the young racer ride a big bike with the big boys.Photo by Sean Klinger
We don’t know if this is for supercross or motocross but this metal (titanium?) tank sure looks fast!Photo by Sean Klinger
Canard’s CRF450R is ready for Anaheim One. The work spaces that the factory bikes were in were clearly cleaned up for the prying eyes of the media. Everything they didn’t want us to see was put away and the shop was immaculately clean, just like your garage is, we’re sure.Photo by Sean Klinger
Factory triple clamps, anyone? Yeah, we’ll take a few of those… Quick, while the Honda dude isn’t looking!Photo by Sean Klinger
Swingarm heaven. Race teams spare no expense and HRC Honda is no different. Now the real question is if these are just spares, or is each one slightly different?Photo by Sean Klinger
We love how nonchalantly the hardware cabinet is labeled… “titanium this” and “titanium that.”Photo by Sean Klinger
Pipes upon pipes. Now we know that you conspiracy theorists are going to freak out seeing two-stroke pipes in the race shop, but don’t get your hopes up too much. We peaked around and didn’t see any other two-stroke paraphernalia and those pipes are pretty old.Photo by Sean Klinger
Pick a seat, any seat.Photo by Sean Klinger
If they have the money and space, which Honda clearly does, a good race shop will have nearly every optional part available to get the bikes just right.Photo by Sean Klinger
Race motors are worked on in-house. Every ounce of power is squeezed from the Unicam engines.Photo by Sean Klinger
Honda’s room of number one plates is pretty impressive, starting with Gary Jones in 1973.Photo by Sean Klinger