We were pleasantly surprised to see Travis Baker turning in some motos at Pala Raceway the other day, decked out in his old Troy Lee Honda riding gear but aboard a Valli Motorsports Yamaha YZ450F. Until recently, we were under the impression that T-Bake was going to have to go the privateer route for 2013 and that he was busy putting his own effort together. Needless to say, we were happy to learn that he had landed a gig for 2013 and beyond…
Travis! At first, we were thinking, “Look at that goon wearing Honda gear on a Yamaha.”
I know, right? [Laughs] I didn’t realize so many people would be out here today and I was thinking that I was looking kinda goony.
So can we assume that you’ve found a ride for 2013?
Yes, I just signed a deal with Valli Motorsports. I started talking to Chad Lanza and the rest of the guys at Valli, and we were able to put a deal together. Everything is all signed, and I’m excited. I’m riding a 450 today just to have some fun, but I will be on a 250 on West Coast Lites and 250 Nationals.
This will be Valli Motorsports Yamaha, separate of Star Racing Yamaha, correct?
Yes, the two teams have split after the 2012 season. It looks like I will be the only rider for Valli next year, and I am really excited. We will have a really legit effort. I get to be a spoiled, only child [laughs].
You will be getting back on a Yamaha YZ250F; a bike that you have plenty of history with…
Yeah, I have raced and ridden Yamahas my whole life, except for the past two years when I was with Troy Lee Designs Honda. I love the Yamaha YZ250F. I have always been comfortable on it, and I am excited to get back onto one.
You just got married and now you have a wife to support. It must be a huge relief to have secured a deal!
Oh yeah! [Laughs] It’s a huge relief. I just got married. It’s cool! I am living in my own home, away from mom and dad. There’s definitely been some pressure and some stress these past few months, but I always knew that I had my family and the people behind me to help me do it myself if I had to. Thankfully, Chad and the guys decided to back me, and I can’t thank them enough for putting their trust and effort into me. I am excited for this effort to come together. I am ready to do work.
You are fresh off a pretty solid year! Tenth in the 250 Nationals is nothing to laugh at…
I was a consistent guy this year. The two seasons before that, I just kept getting hurt over and over. So this year, I kind of stepped back a little bit and tried to just build a good base. I feel good and confident now, and I am ready to step it up again and get into the top five. I know I can.
When will you start on a 250?
I’m pretty sure that we start testing next week. They are building the bike right now.
Well, it’s good to see you riding, Travis. Good luck!
Follow Travis Baker on Twitter @TRAVISBAKERmx and on Instagram @travisbaker