Blake Baggett's 2017 season has shown promise and progression without a doubt. He made the switch to Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM and has been working hard on his ranch in Florida for training. After a quiet year in 2016, he made his presence known throughout Supercross despite being labeled an outdoor only rider. With this in mind, many predicted he'd do exceptionally well when the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series got under way. After four motos, he's proving those predictions right. We had a chat with Baggett this week to talk about his season so far.
Your first rounds have gone pretty well, are you happy with the first two rounds?
I'm happy with my fourth moto for sure, the first three motos I was getting my feet under me and figured out where I was going to be. We've got the bike figured out, I definitely hadn't ridden it a lot outdoors, but now we're figuring that out and making a lot of changes. First moto at Glen Helen I just didn't feel like I rode to my full capabilities, then the second moto I got a good start and had a really good moto. I got to lead a few laps and figure out what the lead pace was going to be. After that, I got into second, but we were still running a really good pace. Looking back at all the lap times and watching all of the videos, I'm pretty happy with where we're at and we're also going to make some more changes this week to be a little more comfortable in some areas that I think I can be better in. We'll give it heck at Colorado and we're definitely looking to get some moto wins and overall wins. That's the goal.
Like you said, leading those laps has to be huge to get in the mindset.
For sure, it's been a long time since I've gotten a chance to get out front. I got a decent start and then I was able to pass for the lead. I felt comfortable out front; I just didn't have the exact pace. I had a fast pace looking at lap times, I was second fastest, but Jason had me in some areas and I was more than willing to let him take that and chock up some good points. There are 20 more motos to go and it's going to be a long year. I think we're in a good spot right now and things are going to shuffle like they do. I think we're going to do what we did this weekend more and more. It's going to be a crazy year.
Do you think that mentality comes with age? Would a younger Blake Baggett feel the need to win that moto?
Yeah, maybe. It's just getting smart. I think everybody would like to say that, and I think that I am. I feel comfortable and confident in my abilities, I just have to get back to my old self and what I was actually capable of doing. I know I can do that again. It's still in there and if you can do it once, you can do it multiple times. Sometimes as you get older and things change, you have to adjust and change with it.
You're heading to Florida soon, are you excited to get back there?
We're definitely headed to Florida after this weekend so I'd like to have a good weekend here at Thunder Valley and then get back to the ranch. I'm excited to get back there. That's country living at its finest and El Chupacabra Ranch has come a long way. It's something that I enjoy doing and I have fun doing it, whether it's ranch work or whatever it is around there. I just enjoy being there and being away from the city. That's my happy place.
Do you think the first two tracks were more challenging and rough than normal?
The first track [Hangtown] had lots of ruts and you had to make sure you were on point and ready for that. I don't think I was as ready for that. At a certain point, you run out of time and go with what you've got. At the same time as you get in and you start racing you start to figure it out. That's when you figure out what areas you like and what areas you're not so much a fan of. That one was nothing but long ruts, the dirt was hard and crusty. It started really muddy in the morning and then everything dried so it was crusty and hard. It was a weird track to get a flow on. This past weekend at Glen Helen it was really rough and the braking bumps were massive. It was leftover down the hills from amateur days. Things started out as rough as possible and then we continuously tore it up all day.
Some people said it was safer that way.
I think it is. Some people made some comments about it being dangerous, but it's dangerous when it's in between and there are a few big bumps, but you're still going fast. I think it was so rough that the speeds were slower down the hills.
Last year was pretty crazy; the track changes seemed safer as well.
For sure, the track was safer. The jumps weren't as big. I think people want to go back to old motocross. There are too many jumps involved and there's not enough natural terrain where motocross started. I think that's what they need to go back to.
What's your favorite track to go to?
I like Thunder Valley and Budds Creek a lot. Millville has been good to me. Washougal is kind of hit or miss, but some years it's really fun. I'd say Budds Creek is probably the one that sticks out the most to me. It's one of those tracks that no matter what you're having fun with all of the elevation changes and the obstacles. There's big jumps and small jumps and off cambers. That's what I tried to mimic with my ranch in Florida.