Cole Seely, 28, grew up riding BMX and dirt bikes in Ventura County. Born in Westlake Village, finding trails locally to perfect his passion was no easy task but his love of motocross kept him in hot pursuit. Now, a resident of Costa Mesa, he is tearing up the race track, placing seventh in his first race of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross season on Jan. 6 in Anaheim. His next race is set for Jan. 20 at Angel Stadium.
Seely talked to the VCReporter after his last race about going pro and doing what he loves.
You seem to be living the dream, going pro in motocross. According to your profile at promotocross.com, you started BMX at age 3 without training wheels.
I actually remember very little from BMX just because I was so young, I was only 3 or 4. I remember going to Las Vegas for nationals and always being at the track, but I don’t remember racing. Then I remember I got my first dirt bike around age 3 or 4 and it came with training wheels. My cousin, who is like my older brother, still is, and is also a Ventura County native, he was like, “No. That’s dumb. We’re taking those things off right away.” I think I rode it for maybe 10 minutes with the training wheels and then he taught me how to ride with none. And it’s been, I guess, history ever since then.
Who did you admire most as kid in the sport? As an adult?
Jeremy McGrath was definitely the most dominant, and still is the most dominant and has the best record in Supercross. He was my idol, my hero. Nowadays he’s someone who I can call my friend. But back in the day his style was so cool and I wanted to be just like him. He rode a lot of BMX on the side so I always tried to keep that in my corner and keep my riding skills in check with BMX.
Tell us about pursuing your passion in Ventura County.
Being a Ventura native, it’s kinda tough to find places to ride. There is a track in Piru I went to a lot. The best and closest track was Gorman, and that was still and hour and a half drive. It was kind of tough, it was a trek for us to get a good day of riding in. Any track that would pop up in the hills, we would try to find out where that was. For being a professional and at the top level of the amateur ranks when I was younger, I didn’t really ride that much.
What were the most exhilarating experiences in motocross?
I’ve had so many. I think the most vivid is winning my first 450SX race, and my only at this point.
What was the most discouraging event that happened to you in your professional career?
The most discouraging, I would say, my rookie year on a 450SX, so that was 2015. I had come off a really good year, almost a championship year, and moving up to the new class was kind of intimidating. My first race, I crashed and I got 14th, which obviously isn’t a good result. But then the next weekend, I went out and I rode terrible and I got 14th again. At that point, I was like man, maybe I’m not made to do this. It was really hard to dig myself out of that hole. I think that was the most depressed I’ve ever felt in my professional career and probably the hardest moment I’ve ever had to overcome. But then the next weekend I went on to get sixth, and then fifth, and then was on the podium for the first time. So, it just escalated really quickly after that. And then by the end of the year I won my first race and was named Rookie of the Year. It just started in a really low moment in my career and ended up being a really great season.
What would you tell people who wanted to get into it professionally?
I think a lot of people from the outside looking in see this as living the dream. The only part they see is the racing and the riding. They don’t really see the hard parts that go into it. There’s definitely been days where I’m in the gym late at night thinking it would be way easier to have a 9 to 5. I think, if kids are trying to get into it, they should prepare themselves for a lot of work, but at the same time try and keep it fun. That’s the most important thing and why we all started, because it’s fun. I try to never stray too far away from that.