We spotted Blake Baggett spinning some laps around Hesperia, CA’s Competitive Edge MX Park this afternoon and caught up with the Monster Energy Pro Circuit rider to see how the injured wrist has healed up and what his plans are for next year. Today was Baggett’s third day back on the bike, but he looked as comfortable as ever on the rough outdoor track. Needless to say, he’ll, again, be a force to be reckoned with come 2014.
By: Casey Davis
First off, lets talk about the injury. How’s it feeling now?
It’s doing good! I’ve fully recovered now. I took about nine and a half weeks off after the Lake Elsinore National to give the bones in my hand some time to heal. After an outdoor series on a pretty fresh injury, it took quite a beating. But, everything’s feeling good thus far with riding.
How long have you been back on the bike now?
Today is my third day on the bike. So, definitely the countdown to A1 has begun for me since it’s just right around the corner. We still have plenty of time for preparations, so it’s nice not having to rush things and sort of ease my way back into it.
Now, what exactly did you do, again, for those that don’t know what happened? Obviously it started at the this year’s opening round of Supercross at Anaheim and then escalated to other injuries.
It started at A1 in the first turn. Jessy Nelson’s bike landed on my wrist and dislocated it breaking three or four bones. Then, went into surgery to have everything fixed up and replaced some of the ligaments that had torn. Ultimately, I basically sat out the entire SX series. Finally, outdoors rolled around and about halfway through the series I re-injured it, but was able to tough it out and finish the series. After outdoors, my doctor gave me the option to go back under the knife or take eight weeks off. I opted for the eight weeks of healing to let it mellow out and see if we could make more progress that way rather than going in for surgery again because cutting it open just adds to the already existing trauma. It’s feeling better, but I only have about 70% of my range of motion, which I’ll be stuck with for the rest of my life. But it could be worse, so I’ll take it!
You’re out here at Competitive Edge riding. Everyone’s practicing for Supercross, so what are you doing out here instead of being at the test track?
Since this is my third day of riding, I decided to go ride some outdoors rather than jumping onto a SX track. Outdoor riding is a little bit more mellow compared to SX and if you get a bad hop going down a rhythm section there’s really no escape lane. For another week or so I’ll stay on a few outdoor tracks to ensure my wrist feels good, then I’ll slowly make my way into some test track riding. We still have two full months of testing and practice before Anaheim if I ride the West Coast rounds. Mitch usually makes the decision on East or West for us, but he wants us all to prep for A1 in the case of someone getting hurt.
You’ll be on Mitch Payton’s team again for next year. Is it nice coming into a new season not having to worry about changes in bikes or a new team in general? Kind of just go into it the way you did last year…
Yeah, definitely. This will be my fourth year on Mitch’s team, so were just coming into 2014 with almost everything being the same. Obviously there will be little changes like every other team, but it’s only to benefit everyone. The biggest thing this year, though, is to just get through round one healthy. It seems like the past five years, round one has managed to come up and bite me in some crazy way. So, again, my biggest goal for round one is to just leave healthy and put together a solid Supercross season after that.
Obviously 2013 was a forgettable season for you. Are you looking at 2014 as a complete fresh start?
Yeah, definitely a fresh start. My goal, for now, is to just get comfortable on the bike and get everything dialed for SX. Again, get through round one without some freak accident happening and try to go for a title. Obviously I’ll worry about outdoors when we get there, but 100% of everything right now is aimed at Supercross. I’ve had good rounds here and there in prior seasons, but just haven’t been able to put it all together. Last year was a complete wash with injuring my wrist at the beginning of the year, so I just want a good solid season before I move onto the big bikes in 2015.