By Michael Antonovich
Photos by Casey Davis
An unexpected entrant to this past weekend's Muscle Milk TransWorld Motocross Spring Cup opener was Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda racer Travis Baker. The West Coast Lites rider has spent the previous weeks developing baseline settings for the coming outdoor tour and used the Cahuilla Creek round as a gauge to check his own speed and equipment. We caught up with Baker, who claimed the overall victories in both Pro classes, just after his final moto of the day.
Was today mainly for outdoor testing?
Yeah, basically just outdoor testing. I am doing suspension testing during the week and what better way than to try it on a race day? Usually it gets rougher on a race day than a regular practice day, so we thought, "Might as well try it out and have fun."
How have you stayed busy since San Diego? Did you ride any Supercross practice or did you launch immediately into outdoors?
Right after Supercross, we went into outdoors so I could get it done and start riding motos. We have all the base testing, so now I am riding motos and doing this and REM, just trying to race as much as I can on this break so I can keep my gate time up.
When you come to a race like this, when you get here at seven in the morning and are here until three in the afternoon, does it make you miss these kinds of events? Do you feel nostalgic about racing as an amateur or are you glad to be a professional racer where there is a set routine?
(Laughs) I am glad to be a professional. It is cool, because on a pro day you know exactly when you are racing and how long you are going. These are just 15-minute motos and I like doing longer motos on rougher tracks. On a race day, they prep it better than anywhere else does, so it is definitely different. I love the competition, too, because there are 40 guys that are fast and when you come to these, there is only a couple. It is totally different.
How did you feel? Was this your first race since San Diego?
Actually, I have raced two REM races already, and I feel good. That is why I want to come out here, to keep my racing up. A weak point of mine is that I practice really good and then race alright, so this will help me to race better.
How much longer will you test for the outdoors before you switch back to Supercross?
I will do outdoors for two more weeks and then start Supercross back up so we can do those last three.
How do you feel coming into those? You didn't race professionally during the break, but you stayed fresh by riding.
I feel really good. I like racing and that is why I came to do this. I didn't feel like I did my best during the first six. I had a couple of good races but I want to go show everyone what I can do. The whole Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda team is behind me with everything and I feel better on my bike now more than I did at the beginning of the year, which is always better.
Do you feel like you are more of a Supercross rider or an outdoor rider?
I don't really know. I want to be good at both, not just "wow" in one. I feel like I am consistent outdoors and last year I was around 10th to 12th, and in Supercross, I am in sixth to ninth. I am average, I guess you would want to say (Laughs).