Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett Earns Back-To-Back Wins
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett rode his Kawasaki KX(TM)250F to his first back-to-back win of the season in the 250 class at the sixth round of the AMA Motocross Championship series at Red Bud in Buchanan, Mich. His fourth win of the season pushed him into second in the point standings. Teammate and class points leader Dean Wilson once again put in a solid 2-2 ride for his fifth runner-up finish of the season. Helping sweep the podium with green, Tyla Rattray worked his way through a tough first moto to comeback and finish third overall with a 5-3 moto result. Broc Tickle earned his third top-five finish of the season. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto overcame a tough first moto to grab his third moto win in Moto 2 and finish on the podium in third with a 9-1. Teammate Jake Weimer came back from mechanical issue in Moto 1 to earn ninth in the second moto for 13th overall.
He’s Got A Streak
While he had the most wins coming into Red Bud, Baggett hadn’t collected two-consecutive overall finishes. He worked his way through the pack in Moto 1, but the second moto was a different case as he led wire-to-wire for his seventh moto win of the season.
“I was wondering if I would be able to ever put two consecutive overalls together,” said Baggett. “It’s feels really good to do well at tracks I’ve never been to. I’ve been using practice to get it dialed. I wasn’t up there on the board, but I don’t worry about that too much. My starts have been getting better. I struggled with consistent starts and now it’s been much better. It will be good to get some time off and hopefully I can add another win and get closer in the points.”
The day started off in Villopoto’s favor as he posted fast lap times in both practice sessions prior to the motos. In Moto 1, he got off to a top-five start, but just after the second turn, went down and remounted in last. Down but not out, Villopoto went to work on the competitors in front of him, steadily picking off riders in his path. After 30 minutes plus two laps, Villopoto made it inside the top-10 to finish ninth. Ready for redemption in Moto 2, Villopoto led from the first lap and earned a trip to the podium with third overall.
“I’m definitely lucky to walk away from that crash,” said Villopoto. “I knew after I crashed that I had to get focused and start working my way to the front. It wasn’t easy since I had damaged my bike a little bit when I went down. The KX450F held together and I was able to get ninth. I knew I had to go back out and gain as many points as I could in the second moto.”
Wilson’s steady and consistent riding this year has put him on top of the point standings with six rounds to go in the series. Both motos saw Wilson start near the front and he worked his way into second early. With six rounds in the books, Wilson has spent every race on the podium, and the consistency has paid off so far.
“I’m trying to not think about the championship and take the series one moto at a time,” said Wilson. “It’s hard to do, but I want to keep doing what I’m doing. Getting on the podium each race is one of the goals I have and I’ve been able to do that. I’m going to try and get some down time in during the weekend off, and hopefully come back even better at Millville.”
Never Give Up
Proving he isn’t one to give up, Rattray worked his way through the pack of riders in the first moto to come from outside the top-20 to finish an impressive fifth. He got a better start in the second moto and made his way to the podium for the fifth time this season in third with a 5-3.
“It’s not the race I was hoping to have, but I did what I could with my start in the first moto,” said Rattray. “I did feel better this weekend than I did last weekend. I’ve been working hard and it would be nice to get another win. It will be nice to get a weekend off after a month of racing.”
Looking to bounce back from a tough weekend in Colorado, Tickle proved he was worthy of a top-five finish. He pushed his way into seventh in the first moto and made his way into fifth during the second moto to earn his third fifth-place finish.
“It’s nice to get a good finish after a bad overall last weekend,” said Tickle. “I feel like I’ve been getting better and better. Hopefully I can break inside the top-five next race. A podium would be nice, but I’ll focus on getting a good start and riding strong the entire moto.”
Making progress all year long, Weimer’s good starts have often put him toward the front of the pack. In the first moto, Weimer was riding in the top-five when a rock got stuck between the brake pedal and the clutch cover. The problem wasn’t visible in the mechanic’s area and Weimer was forced to retire early in the moto. The second moto saw Weimer put in another solid ride in ninth, bringing him up to 13th overall despite scoring points in only Moto 2.
“I am a little disappointed with my overall result because I know I have been riding well,” said Weimer. “There was no way to prevent the rock getting jammed, but it’s still a bummer because I was in the top-five. Hopefully my motos will start turning around and I can get a top-five finish in the next few races.”
Hot and Humid
While the rain held off on race day, the skies opened up and stayed open all day Friday as the teams prepared for the weekend. The rain that soaked the ground on Friday only added to the humidity throughout the race day, but the track developed nicely throughout Saturday.
“The track was pretty good considering all the water it got the night before,” said Baggett. “I wasn’t sure how it would take it since I had never been here before, but it turned out to be a good track. Some of the off-cambers and ruts were pretty gnarly, but I usually like a rougher track.”
With six rounds completed, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team has had a successful first half of the season. The riders have won every moto and overall so far this season and have swept the podium three of the six times. In the 450 class, Villopoto has claimed one overall victory and has three dominating moto wins this season.
After racing four weekends straight, the series will get a weekend break before heading to Spring Creek MX in Millville, Minn. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders will go for their seventh overall, while Villopoto looks to earn his second overall finish of the season.
“It will be nice to have a break,” said Villopoto. “While I won’t take a break from training, being able to stay home and not travel will be a good change.”