Irvine, Calif. (July 8, 2012) – The temperature may have reached triple digits on Saturday in Buchanan, Mich., but that did not stop Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett from running away with both moto wins in the 250 class at Round 6 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship at RedBud. In the 450 class, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray made his return to racing with a 4-5 moto score for fourth overall. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle rode two strong motos to finish sixth overall. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer had an impressive ride in moto one to take second place, but crashes in the second moto left him with 10th overall.
Back on Top
Baggett’s weekend at RedBud was in question Saturday morning when he awoke feeling sick to his stomach and wasn’t sure if he would even ride practice. Even feeling under the weather couldn’t keep him from the track and he went on to qualify sixth. Once the gate dropped, Baggett was untouchable. He won the first moto by 10 seconds and won the second moto by nearly 20 seconds on his KX™250F. Baggett amassed the large lead in the second moto, despite tipping over and momentarily losing the lead. Baggett had not swept both motos since the opening round at Hangtown and now holds a 19-point lead in the standings.
“I felt pretty good today, despite being sick,” said Baggett. “First moto I didn’t get the best start so I put on a charge right away and was able to make quite a few passes. I jumped LaRocco’s Leap the very first lap, which I’ve never done before and no one had done in practice; I just went for it. I got into second and was able to pressure for the lead and take the win. In the second moto, I was out front and had a small tip-over. I was able to settle into a rhythm and found some faster lines and took the lead back. Feels good to go 1-1 again.”
After making his much anticipated 450 class debut aboard the Monster Energy Kawasaki KX™450 at Round 1 in Hangtown, Rattray’s day came to a premature end when a rock broke his hand in the first moto. He returned to RedBud determined to be up front battling. In moto one, Rattray came around the first turn within the top-10 and started working his way forward to finish fourth. In the second moto, Rattray had to battle from much farther back, but was still able to make his way up to fifth, giving him fourth overall.
“It’s my first race back, so fourth isn’t bad,” said Rattray. “First moto, I was catching third but didn’t want to push too hard towards the end, so I backed it down and saved it for moto two. I came from way back to finish fifth in the second moto, which gave me fourth overall, which I’m happy with. Racing is always different than practicing, so with each race I should improve. I’m just going to keep working hard each week.”
Input = Output
Tickle has been working extremely hard in between races and over the two-week break and felt he made some great strides. He battled within the top five in both motos after getting impressive starts aboard his KX450F. He and Rattray found each other in both motos and were running a blistering pace. A crash in the second moto dropped Tickle to 15th, which he then fought his way back up to ninth. His 5-9 moto score gave him sixth overall and Tickle now sits fifth in the points standings.
“The track was gnarly today,” said Tickle. “It was rough, but like a different rough with bumps everywhere and no rest at all. I struggled to get a flow going in the first moto and wore myself out a bit, but towards the end I started settling down and starting making ground. We made a couple bike changes the second moto and I felt much better, but a small tip over spoiled that. Today was all about setting your lines up and flowing around the bumps.”
Ups and Downs
Weimer’s day started off on the right foot, as he qualified third going into the first moto. He got a top-five start and quickly made moves to get into second place where he would finish, but not without some pressure. Weimer had company for the first half of the moto, but kept a cool head and in the second half of the race he was able to pull away and separate himself. Feeling good about the second moto, Weimer got off to another top-five start only to come together with another rider halfway through the first lap, leaving him in last place. Weimer did not let the crash faze him and immediately went to work, passing riders and making his way up to 19th. By the half way mark he looked like he could redeem his moto, until contact with another rider sent him back to 35th once again. Weimer put in one final late race charge and made his way to 20th by the checkered flag.
“Overall, it wasn’t the day I wanted to have,” said Weimer. “I made some quick passes in the first moto, but by the time I got into second the leader was gone. It was really hot so I just concentrated on riding smooth and saving energy for the second moto. I’m happy with how my day was prior to the second moto, but I still want to be up front battling for the lead. I’m heading back to Florida before Millville, so it’ll be good to get used to the humidity again.”
Roughest Track Yet
Not only is racing in 100 degree weather for 35 minutes grueling for the riders, but they also were subject to the roughest track of the year thus far. The riders always look forward to RedBud’s famous, loamy dirt every year, but this year the track developed much rougher conditions than usual.
Along with the spectacular dirt, RedBud also features one of the most famous obstacles in motocross, LaRocco’s Leap. The uphill triple is extremely difficult to clear for the 250 class and can make a huge difference in laptimes. After practice, no one in the 250 class had attempted the leap, but first lap of moto one Baggett knew he needed to make up time and went for it. He was one of the only riders in the class to consistently clear the leap, which helped contribute to his dominance.
“First lap I just went for it,” said Baggett. “I thought I was going to over-shoot it, but ended up almost coming up short. I had never done it before so it was pretty intense that first lap. It got a little sketchy in the second moto so once I was out front I backed it down.”
The AMA Pro Motocross Championship has now reached the halfway point and the battles continue to heat up. Baggett will continue to sport the red plate as current points leader in the 250 class, while Weimer looks to close the gap to second place in the 450 class. Round 7 takes the championship to Millville, Minn., which is another track that riders look forward to every year. The humidity and track conditions should be similar to this past round in RedBud and the racing should be just as exciting.
AMA Pro Motocross Championship
RedBud – Buchanan, Mich.
July 7, 2012
250 Class Results
1. BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF. MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI (1-1)
2. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda (2-2)
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (5-3)
4. Marvin Musquin, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (4-4)
5. Ken Roczen, Temecula, Calif., KTM (3-6)
6. Wil Hahn, Wichita, Kansas, Honda (6-5)
7. Gareth Swanepoel, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha (9-7)
8. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki (7-12)
9. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda (12-9)
10. Travis Baker, Temecula, Calif., Honda (11-10)
250 Class Points Standings
1. BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF. MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 272
2. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda, 253
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 236
4. Ken Roczen, Temecula, Calif., KTM, 235
5. Marvin Musquin, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 189
6. Wil Hahn, Wichita, Kansas, Honda, 161
7. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki, 125
8. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki, 121
9. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda, 109
10. Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Honda, 105
450 Class Results
1. Ryan Dungey, Waconia, Minn., KTM (1-1)
2. Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Honda (3-4)
3. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki (6-3)
4. TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI (4-5)
5. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki (11-2)
6. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI (5-9)
7. Cole Thompson, Ontario, Canada, Honda (7-8)
8. JOSH GRANT, RIVERSIDE, CALIF., JWR KAWASAKI (9-7)
9. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., Honda (12-6)
10. JAKE WEIMER, TWIN FALLS, IDAHO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI (2-20)
450 Class Points Standings
1. Ryan Dungey, Waconia, Minn., KTM, 286
2. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 214
3. JAKE WEIMER, TWIN FALLS, IDAHO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 202
4. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., Honda, 178
5. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 162
6. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 151
7. Brett Metcalfe, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 142
8. JOSH GRANT, RIVERSIDE, CALIF., JWR KAWASAKI, 137
9. Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Honda, 131
10. KYLE CHISHOLM, CLEARWATER, FLA., JWR KAWASAKI, 100
24. TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 34