Almost one year to the day, Cole Seely, 29, native Newbury Park resident, was getting ready for his second race in the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross season; he finished seventh his first race. For the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, on Jan. 5, Seely finished 10th — but that in and of itself may be something of a miracle. During the 2018 season, Seely got into an accident during a race and fractured his pelvis and tailbone. Having fully recovered, he is preparing for his next race this weekend, Jan. 19, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, having learned some painful lessons. He endures with an unrelenting spirit to keep pursuing his passion.
VCReporter: Last time we connected, it was at Anaheim last year. Tell us about how your races were going early on last season. Who were your biggest competitors?
Seely: Last season was going really well, I was second in points when I went down. It’s hard to say who the biggest competitor was, because it’s such a stacked field. But, obviously last year Jason Anderson was first in points so he sort of has a target on his back this year from everyone else. But aside from Jason, my teammate Ken Roczen is going really fast, Eli Tomac, etc. It’s always a stacked field full of guys who can win on any given night. So, this is a typical night for me. It’s been about a year since the accident but I’ve been doing this a really long time so it just feels like a start to another season.
You got into an accident on the track. Tell us how the accident happened. When did you know you were in trouble?
I wasn’t very comfortable with the timing section that I crashed in and I didn’t give it enough throttle off the takeoff and misjudged the jump entirely. It’s just an unfortunate racing incident. It was kind of a freak accident the way it happened, the bike kind of caught me and the way it impacted me is very rare. If the bike hadn’t hit me the way it did, the injury wouldn’t have been as bad as it was. It is what it is, it’s in the past now.
How long was recovery and what did you have to do?
I had a broken pelvis, broken sacrum on both sides, dislocated sacrum and I tore my abdomen wall off my pelvis. That was pretty painful and I actually found out two days later that I had separated my shoulder, too. So, I had to pay attention to that in the recovery process as well. The road to recovery went well though. Getting back on my feet and getting back on the bike was a little easier that I thought it was going to be because of the initial pain and the first few weeks were really tough but then it ended up getting easier
What were your first thoughts about this injury? Did you worry you wouldn’t be able to walk or ride again?
No, I’ve been through a lot of crashes where you hit the ground and right away you start checking yourself out. Like I can move my feet, I can move my legs, I can feel everything, I know where the pain is. There was never any fear of not being able to walk again and even after my first surgery, they told me I would lose 2 percent of flexion in my hips, which is basically nothing. So, if that’s the only side effect, that’s fine. But I haven’t felt any limitations since then.
At what point did you get back on your bike? Did you ever hesitate or think that you would not return to racing?
Well, I could have gotten back on the bike a lot sooner, I’m sure, but doctors told me six months so I waited six months and listened. Every limitation the doctors gave me and every date I listened to, whether it was waiting to walk, waiting to get on a bike, waiting to cycle. Anything they gave me a date on, I just listened to. There was no point in rushing it.
I’m excited to start the new season. Any new season brings jitters, nervousness and excitement all mixed into one, but definitely excitement is the main feeling for the night.
What are your goals for the season?
I just take it night by night, to be honest. We have 17 races and there is a lot of time in between. Obviously, you want to win as much as you can and be in the front as much as you can. But coming back from this injury, I’ve been setting minor goals and minor steps to get me back to where I was last season.
Seely will be racing at the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross on Saturday, Jan. 19, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Gates open at noon and racing starts at 7 p.m. Tickets and FanFest Passes are now available for purchase online at Tickets.com or charge by phone at 800-352-0212.