Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett Starts Season with First Career Motocross Win at Hangtown

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett Starts Season with First Career Motocross Win at Hangtown

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett Starts Season with First Career Motocross Win at Hangtown - Photo 1 of 9

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett earned his first-career motocross win with a 2-1 finish at the AMA Motocross Championship season opener at Hangtown MX in Rancho Cordova, Calif. The win comes in only his seventh professional outdoor race after being forced to sit out most of the season in 2010 with injury. Teammate Dean Wilson finished close behind with a 1-3, putting him in second overall after opening the day with a moto win. Tyla Rattray rounded out the overall podium with a solid second-moto comeback to finish 5-2. Teammate Broc Tickle overcame a crash in the first moto to finish 13-7 and ninth overall. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto made a trip to the podium after finishing third overall with a 3-3. Teammate Jake Weimer earned the recovery award with a great second-moto ride to earn 12th after a 21-6 ride.

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett Starts Season with First Career Motocross Win at Hangtown - Photo 2 of 9

Winner


With three supercross wins already to his name, Baggett earned his first motocross overall victory with two great rides aboard his Kawasaki KX™250F. In the first moto, he was running up front, but had a minor crash that pushed him outside the top-10. He didn’t give up and made his way up to second, posting the fastest lap time of the race on the final lap. In the second moto, he kept pace with his teammate Rattray and made the pass in the final laps to earn his first motocross win.

“It feels great to finally win a national,” said Baggett. “Supercross is great being in a stadium with all the people, but with motocross you have to be there for two motos on rough tracks. It almost feels better because I had to put in the hard work the second moto to get the win. It’s a great way to start the season and I want to keep the streak rolling.”

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Podium Finisher


After ending the 2010 season with a win, Wilson showed he was ready to keep the wins coming. He started off strong with a Moto 1 victory. He was looking good in the second moto, but a crash pushed him back from the lead pack. He recovered quickly to secure third and finish the day with second overall.

“The day started off great, but I made a mistake that cost me too much time to reach my teammates up front,” said Wilson. “I really wanted to win, but it was a good weekend overall. I got some good points and I’ll try for the win again next week.”

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Close Behind


Making the podium a complete Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki sweep, Rattray bounced back from a fifth-place finish in the first moto to grab second in the final moto and push himself onto the podium with third overall.

“It was great to finally get back outdoors and race motocross,” said Rattray. “I felt good and I’m pretty happy to get on the podium. The track was super rough and by our second moto, it was very physically demanding. It would be great to get back up there again next weekend.”

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Back on the Podium


After sitting out the AMA Motocross Championship for nearly two seasons with injury, Villopoto returned to the form of racing that has already seen him earn three championships in the 250cc class. He came into Hangtown confident that he could run up front and he did just that. After finishing third in the first moto, Villopoto ran out front for nearly half the moto before finishing third to earn him a solid third overall.

“It was a tough track today and recovering from being sick definitely didn’t help,” said Villopoto. “It’s good to get back into racing motocross after being out of it for so long. I got some good points and we still have 11 races left. I’ll be working hard to get a win.”

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett Starts Season with First Career Motocross Win at Hangtown - Photo 6 of 9

Transition


Reigning AMA Supercross Lites, Western Region champion Tickle started the motocross season showing his perseverance in both motos. In the first moto, he was making his way through the field when he went down, pushing him back to 24th. He rode hard to the end to finish 13th and improved even more in the second moto with a seventh to finish ninth overall.

“I felt good all day, unfortunately my results didn’t show it,” said Tickle. “When I feel good, but have a tough day, it makes me even more motivated to go out the next week and make up for that last race. I’m glad we got the first race out of the way and I’m looking forward to Texas.”

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Recovery Winner


With only two races under his belt as a 450 rider, Weimer was looking to prove he could run with the experienced 450 riders. After a tough first moto, Weimer bounced back in a big way finishing sixth, which put him 12th overall with a 21-6.

“I was hurt for a long time and regardless of whether I was riding supercross or motocross, I’ve missed a lot of time on the bike,” said Weimer. “I’ve been playing catch up and all things considered, I think the first race went pretty well. I had a bad first moto going down twice, but I think the second moto showed that I am capable of running up at the front.”

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett Starts Season with First Career Motocross Win at Hangtown - Photo 8 of 9

Hot and Humid


The next race on the circuit brings the riders to Texas. Typically, the race at Freestone Raceway is always hot and humid, which challenges the racers physically and mentally to get through 30 minutes plus two laps.

“I’m not sure why, but I’ve always had fun racing in Texas,” said Tickle. “When it’s hot and humid, it really shows who is in shape. I got on the podium there last year and I want to do it again this year.”

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Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki Shows Their Dominance at Hangtown Motocross

Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki Shows Their Dominance at Hangtown Motocross

Ryan Dungey grabs second overall and Brett Metcalfe takes fifth in the first event of the season

Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki Shows Their Dominance at Hangtown Motocross - Photo 1 of 2

Photographer: Jake Klingensmith

SACRAMENTO, CA – Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki showed off the dominance of their riders and the Yoshimura-equipped Suzuki RM-Z450 in the AMA Pro Motocross Championship season opener at the 43rd Annual Rockstar Energy Hangtown National. Ryan Dungey rode strong all day, scoring the win in the first moto and backing that up with a solid second-place podium finish in the second. Teammate Brett Metcalfe had a solid day as well, with two fifth-place finishes in his first race since an injury sidelined him in March.

Dungey and his RM-Z were strong from the get go, with two solid practices that gave him the eighth gate pick for moto one. A great start put Dungey near the front, just behind teammate Metcalfe. He worked his Suzuki into second in lap two and made a charge for the lead, which he was able to grab in lap six. Dungey powered his RM-Z450 across the finish for the first 450 moto win of the year. In moto two, Dungey had another strong start, which put him in second place, and he was able to pass for the lead in lap six. Dungey fell back to second in lap eight and battled for the lead for the remaining laps but was unable to make the pass and finished second. His one-two moto finishes gave him a second-place overall for the day. Dungey is tied for the lead in the season points going into next weekend’s event in Texas.

“Overall, our day was really good,” said Dungey. “We had a good, strong setup on my Suzuki from practice and my Rockstar Makita Suzuki team made just a few adjustments, which made it even better for the two motos. I got good starts today, which was very helpful. I was able to get out in front and pull away for the win in the first moto, which was a good start to the season. I wasn’t able to get the job done in the second moto and ended up in second for the moto and second on the day. It’s a really good solid start for the season. There’s a lot of motos and a lot of racing. We’ll keep moving forward and building from here and we’ll be good.”

Teammate Metcalfe had a great first day back on his RM-Z and started by scoring the seventh fastest lap in practice. In moto one, The Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider blasted his Suzuki out of the gate and into the front. Metcalfe ran in second for the first two laps before falling back and finishing fifth. Metcalfe had a solid start in moto two and rode strong to move from tenth to eventually cross the line with another fifth-place finish. His five-five moto finishes gave him fifth overall for the day.

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Photographer: Jake Klingensmith

“It was really awesome today,” said Metcalfe. “It’s good to be back with my Rockstar Makita Suzuki team after being out injured for a while. My Yoshimura-equipped RM-Z was unreal this weekend. It is good to be back racing and I really like the outdoors, so that’s a plus for me. I wanted to get a good start to the season and I’m really happy with this five-five and fifth overall finish. Coming away, we got a good load of information and learned a lot that will help give me a little more speed out there by making me more comfortable, and then I’ll be able to be more aggressive. I’m really looking forward to the next round in Texas so I can build on this result.”

The Rockstar Makita Suzuki team’s next event is the second round of the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, May 28th, at the Rockstar Energy Freestone National in Wortham, TX.


Troy Lee Designs / Lucas Oil / Honda Kicks Off 2011 Motocross Series in Sacramento

Troy Lee Designs / Lucas Oil / Honda Kicks Off 2011 Motocross Series in Sacramento

Following a very successful 2011 supercross series, the Troy Lee Designs boys made their way to the California capitol for the opening round of the national motocross series last weekend. With Cole Seely and Travis Baker competing in the 250 class, Christian Craig riding the 450 and Tarah Gieger going after a WMX title the team had plenty going on.

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Travis Baker, Photos: Kardas

The weekend started off great when Cole Seely started second in the opening moto. Cole’s last national at Pala in 2010 ended with his first podium finish in a moto and the team was hoping he would pick up right where he left off. But Seely had his struggles and dropped back to seventh by the end of the moto. His lites teammate, Baker, had an even more difficult time and was credited with 32nd position in moto one after a big crash while running ninth. The Asterisk crew advised Baker to sit the rest of the day out and Travis’ day was over just like that.

The second moto started well for Seely again and he found himself battling with the frontrunners. Unfortunately, Cole had spent himself in moto one and he had nothing left. After fighting for position for 30 minutes and two laps, he found himself in 13th spot. His moto scores would earn him tenth overall on the day, not what he was hoping for but still a good platform from which to start the series. Baker was credited with 35th in the second moto.

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Cole Seely, Photo: Kardas

“It was a pretty disappointing day,” said Seely of Hangtown. “I feel good on the bike and my speed was actually pretty good, it just didn’t come together for me today. We’ll regroup and get after it next weekend. I ended last season with a podium so there’s no reason I shouldn’t be up there again right now.”

Christian Craig was excited to get back to racing after spending the past few months healing from an injury sustained at the Los Angeles supercross. Craig was feeling good and showing good speed in timed qualifying. He is known for his great starts and he pulled one out in the opening moto of the series. After rounding turn one in second behind Kevin Windham Christian tightened up. The first fifteen minutes of the moto he lost several spots and was clearly riding tight. He loosened up towards the end but he could only hang on to 14th position. He spun off the gate in moto two and came around the first lap buried in the pack. Craig put his head down though and never stopped charging, riding much better in the process, and finished tenth in moto two. It was good enough to give the young rider tenth overall on the day.

Troy Lee Designs / Lucas Oil / Honda Kicks Off 2011 Motocross Series in Sacramento - Photo 3 of 4

Christian Craig, Photo: Kardas

“I’m a little bummed with the way my first moto went,” said Christian. “I had such a good start but it made me ride tight. It’s good because I know I can get a good start with all those guys. Next time I’ll be a little more relaxed and I might be able to hang onto it. It was a good start though. I’ll take this top ten and start working on getting into the top five from here. My bike is great and I’m looking forward to Texas.”

Tarah Gieger went home with a fourth overall on the day. The feisty Puerto Rican rode to a solid fourth in moto one but was taken out in the second moto by one of her competitors. She was able to get up and rebound for seventh in the moto. Look for Tarah to be back on the podium where she belongs next weekend.

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Tarah Gieger, Photo: Kardas

Freestone, Texas is the site of round number two this coming weekend. If you happen to live in the great state of Texas, or somewhere near it, head down there and watch the Troy Lee Designs team get to work in the Texas heat.


Honda Tops Hangtown

The Honda Red Riders took on round one of the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship and WMA Women’s Motocross Championship over the weekend at the Hangtown Motocross National held in Sacramento, CA, and Honda newcomer Chad Reed dominated the 450 Class, taking the overall victory on his Honda CRF450R.

With American Honda Racing’s Trey Canard and Josh Grant unable to compete at the opening round due to injuries they sustained during the Supercross season, veteran Honda racer Kevin Windham made his return to the factory Honda squad aboard an American Honda Racing-prepared CRF450R. Making a strong impression at his Motocross season debut with the team, Windham catapulted out of the start gate in moto one, grabbing the holeshot and maintaining the lead for six laps—much to the delight of the crowd. As the race went on, Windham relinquished several spots before finishing moto one in sixth position. The likeable Honda racer made up a few spots in moto two, finishing in fourth place to earn fourth overall.

“I had very little time to prepare for outdoors because I was off the bike while I waited for some internal bleeding to stop after my crash at the final race of the Supercross season,” said Windham. “However, I feel like today went really well and I’m happy with fourth overall. We came out here pretty much still a work in progress and just gave it our all. I’m happy about getting the holeshot in the first moto and that I held it for six laps. I know I have the bike to win and pretty soon I’ll get the legs to be able to hold onto the lead.”

Reed put in a dominating performance aboard his TwoTwo Motorsports factory-Honda-prepared CRF450R, finishing runner-up in the opening moto and taking the moto two win for the overall opening round victory. “I had so much fun out there today,” said Reed. “The last time I was really good outdoors and won the title I had this same feeling. I really want to thank American Honda for their support and for giving me a factory race bike. I plan to ride the wheels off this thing all season long and do my best to win the championship.”

In the 250 Class Championship, defending Hangtown event champ Eli Tomac raced his GEICO Honda CRF250R to third in moto one and secured fourth spot in moto two for fourth overall. Teammate Justin Barcia charged hard after getting a midpack start in moto one to finish the opening race in sixth place. Barcia blitzed the moto two start, grabbing the holeshot. Unfortunately, he crashed out of the race while leading, which gave him 13th place for the weekend. Honda privateer Darryn Durham went 10-9 for eighth overall, while Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda’s Cole Seely went 7-13 to finish 10th overall.

In the Women’s Motocross Championship, American Honda Racing’s Ashley Fiolek grabbed great starts with her Honda CRF250R in both motos and finished each race in the runner-up spot for second overall. Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda’s Tarah Gieger went 4-7 for fourth overall, while fellow Honda rider Kasie Creson finished eighth overall.


Video Highlights: Round 1 AMA Motocross 2011 Hangtown

Video Highlights: Round 1 AMA Motocross 2011 Hangtown

It’s the start of the AMA National Motocross Series, Round 1 at “Hangtown”, officially Prairie City California State Off-Road Vehicle Park, in Rancho Cordova. Hangtown has improved every year, and this year was no different. The track was changed up a bit, and provided all riders with quite a challenge as most of the AMA riders make the transition from indoors (Supercross) to outdoors (MX).

There are two classes in AMA professional motocross: the 250cc Lites class, and the “Motocross” class, which can run engine sizes from 251cc to 500cc. Most riders race 450cc machines, with KTM also having a 350cc machine.



Video courtesy of MXSports

Video Highlights: Round 1 AMA Motocross 2011 Hangtown - Photo 1 of 1

Blake Baggett

In the 250 Lites class, there are so many talented young riders. West Supercross Champ Broc Tickle, East Supercross Champ Justin Barcia. Eli Tomac. Dean Wilson. Tyla Rattray. Marvin Musquin. And others. Saturday at Hangtown, Blake Baggett, on the Kawasaki KXF 250, was the overall winner.

In the Motocross class, you have the top three riders in the world from Supercross – 2011 AMA / FIM Supercross Series Champion Ryan Villopoto. Defending Motocross Champion Ryan Dungey. And Chad Reed. Chad was the strongest rider of the day in the Motocross, tying Ryan Dungey on points (47 each) but Chad wins the overall by virtue of a better second moto performance.

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