Irvine, Calif. (7/15/2012) - Following a humid Saturday in the heart of Minnesota, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett both took home third overall in their respective classes in Millville, Minn. The Spring Creek National, Round 7 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship, saw Weimer race upfront all day and finish with a 2-3 moto score to earn his third overall podium finish of the season. Baggett raced from behind in the first moto to take a spectacular win, but a crash in the second moto while leading dropped him to third overall. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Broc Tickle finished sixth overall with a 12-5 result. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Tyla Rattray started strong with a sixth-place finish in moto one, but would end the day ninth overall.
Back on the Box
After a few weeks of just missing the podium, Weimer stood on the box in third place following a strong 2-3 moto result. In the first moto, Weimer got off to a great start on his KX™450F and battled for the lead on the first lap. He was shuffled back to third, but was able to make his move into second just past the halfway point and finished out the moto not far off the leader. In the second moto he had to make his way through a few riders and although he was catching the leaders, he ran out of time to challenge them and finished third. Weimer sits third in the points standings just 12 points from second.
"I knew I felt good leading up to the first moto," said Weimer. "I didn't get a clean lap during qualifying, but I wasn't too concerned. I led briefly early on and tried to hold onto the leaders. I think I rode the strongest I have all year and the goal is to keep cutting that gap down to the leaders and battle for the win."
Pushing the Limits
As the current points leader, Baggett lined up for the first moto calm and confident. Off the start he was pushed wide off the track, but was able to jump back in around the middle of the pack. Baggett made quick work of some riders and crossed the finish line for the green flag in ninth. After only 10 minutes, he had made his way to fourth, but he had a large margin to make up. That didn't stop him, as he consistently dropped the fastest laps of the race on his KX™250F and made the pass for third at the 20-minute mark. With three laps remaining he made an aggressive move to take the lead and carried on posting lap times, five-seconds a lap faster than the next rider. His aggression got the better of him in the second moto when he crashed entering the sand whoops just after taking the lead. He dropped to seventh and was able to climb back to fourth, even though his body and bike had taken a beating. Baggett maintains an 18-point lead in the championships standings.
"I made an epic pass for the lead in the first moto," said Baggett. "It was pretty hairy, but I made it stick and went on the build a good gap. I felt good in the second moto, but a mistake put me down and it took me a while to get back to my bike. I salvaged third overall so I'm happy. I'm pretty confident I can make it happen every weekend, but it's no fun coming from behind. My Kawasaki is perfect where it's at right now, so we'll just keep plugging away."
Tickle has shown that when he has two solid motos, he can challenge for the podium. While running fifth in the first moto, Tickle was catching the leaders until a get-off threw him over the bars in the whoops. Never one to be defeated, Tickle came back charging in the second moto to finish fifth. He knows he has the capability to be up front battling, and continues to push himself and his KX450F to get there. Tickle sits fifth overall in the points standings.
"It was frustrating to have a crash first moto," said Tickle. "My times were fast all day and I was starting the catch the leaders. I regrouped for the second moto and came out around 10th, made some clean passes and finished the race in fifth. Man, the track was brutal today and tough on the body. I want to be on the podium again, and I think with some good starts I should be there. We made some changes to the forks this week and they were definitely a positive."
With a race under his belt, Rattray felt more comfortable on his KX450F and started the first moto in the top-10. He rode in tow behind Tickle for the first part of the moto and carried on to finish sixth. Rattray knew that a better start would put him with the leaders for the next moto. Unfortunately, after rounding the first corner of moto two within the top-10, a crash knocked him to the back of the field. Charging through the field like a freight train, Rattray made an aggressive pass for 12th and in doing so made contact with another rider and damaged his front brake rotor. He finished the moto in 28th, but his strong finish in moto one left him with ninth overall.
"I could have pushed harder that first moto," said Rattray. "I was fifth off the start in moto two until a rider in front of me got squirrely in the rollers and I hit him from the side, knocking me over. I felt good coming through the pack, but I hit another rider pretty hard, which twisted my front end and caused me to lose my front brakes. I made progress on the bike this week and we'll continue working hard and hopefully be on the podium soon."
Millville Sand Whoops
The infamous sand whoops of Spring Creek were extremely challenging this year. The longest and gnarliest set of whoops of the season, this year the riders claimed them to be bigger and deeper than years past. A rider could easily lose or gain multiple positions in that section alone. Both suspension and momentum were needed to tackle the whoop monster.
The Battle Continues
Next weekend, Round 8 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship brings Monster Energy Kawasaki to the Northeast woods of Washougal, Wash. The picturesque track is settled in the trees and known for some of the most punishing roost. Baggett leads the 250 class, while the rest of the team continues to work on climbing up the points standings.
AMA Pro Motocross Championship - Round 7
Spring Creek - Millville, Minn.
July 14, 2012
450 Class Results
1. Ryan Dungey, Waconia, Minn, KTM (1-1)
2. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki (3-2)
3. JAKE WEIMER, TWIN FALLS, IDAHO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI (2-3)
4. Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Honda (4-4)
5. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., Honda (5-6)
6. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI (12-5)
7. Les Smith, York, S.C., KTM (11-9)
8. Cole Thompson, Ontario, Canada, Honda (15-7)
9. TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI (6-28)
10. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda (14-14)
450 Class Points Standings
1. Ryan Dungey, Waconia, Minn, KTM, 336
2. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 256
3. JAKE WEIMER, TWIN FALLS, IDAHO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 244
4. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., Honda, 209
5. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 187
6. Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Honda, 167
7. James Stewart, Hanies City, Fla., Suzuki, 151
8. JOSH GRANT, RIVERSIDE, CALIF., JWR KAWASAKI, 150
9. Brett Metcalfe, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 142
10. KYLE CHISHOLM, CLEARWATER, FLA., JWR KAWASAKI, 113
20. TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 49
250 Class Results
1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (3-1)
2. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda (2-2)
3. BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, (1-4)
4. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (4-3)
5. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki (6-5)
6. Wil Hahn, Wichita, Kansas, Honda (5-7)
7. Marvin Musquin Murrieta, Calif., KTM (7-6)
8. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda (10-8)
9. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki (8-10)
10. Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Honda (9-13)
250 Class Points Standings
1. BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 315
2. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda, 297
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 281
4. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 273
5. Marvin Musquin Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 218
6. Wil Hahn, Wichita, Kansas, Honda, 191
7. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki, 156
8. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki, 145
9. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda, 128
10. Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Honda, 125