CORONA, CA – June 2, 2014 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Following a promising start to the 2014 AMA Pro Motocross Season in which Blake Baggett just missed out on a spot on the overall podium in the 250 Class, sophomore rider Justin Hill continued to keep Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki at the forefront of the division at the season’s second round, the Hangtown Motocross Classic. Hill fought valiantly throughout each of the motos at the legendary facility just outside Sacramento, California, to duplicate the efforts of his teammate a week prior, finishing fourth overall.
While Hill carried the torch for the squad, luck wasn’t on Baggett’s side as an afternoon littered with adversity left the former champion looking ahead to the next round of action. Despite a weekend of ups and downs, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki continued to progress as a whole and sits on the cusp of breaking through as a contender for wins.
Hill Shines in Rough Conditions
After a difficult season opener the week prior, Hill entered Hangtown in search of redemption and rose to the occasion. After setting the 10th-fastest practice lap of practice, Hill set his sights on a run for the podium in each moto. Out of the gate in the first moto, Hill positioned himself just outside the top five and eventually began his climb forward. He surged in the late stages to close in on the rear fender of third place, ultimately settling for fourth.
The second moto provided an added challenge for Hill after starting outside the top 10, but he wasted little time in coming through the field and sat inside the top five by the fourth lap. As he looked to track down a podium spot, Hill suffered a brief crash that dropped him to just outside the top five in sixth. He quickly returned to action and put huge pressure for fifth place, which would have ensured an overall podium result, but came up mere inches short of taking the position after a pass attempt in the final corner. Nevertheless, Hill’s 4-6 moto scores landed him with a career-best fourth-place finish overall, just two points shy of the podium.
“That’s the kind of performance I know I’m capable of each week,” said Hill. “I do feel like I let a podium slip away there in the final moto, but I’m really happy with how I felt all day on the Kawasaki KX250F. That crash left me a little shaken, but I was so determined to get on the podium that I was able to get back into my groove at the end. This was a big boost for me and the team and I’m really looking forward to the next round.”
Hill moved into 10th in the 250 Class standings and faces just an eight-point deficit to fourth. He is currently 57 points behind the championship leader.
Baggett Battles Adversity
As one of his favorite tracks on the AMA Pro Motocross schedule, Baggett looked to Hangtown to serve as a chance to make his presence felt in the title hunt. The two-time winner at the facility clocked in with the eighth-fastest lap of practice and was confident in his ability to race up front. He put himself into solid position at the start of the first moto in 10th, but experienced misfortune on the opening lap and found himself on the ground. He remounted still within the top 20 and then made a thrilling charge through the field to move just outside the top five on Lap 13. He took the checkered flag in sixth, passing 12 riders in order to do so.
With a surge of confidence from his comeback effort Baggett hoped for better luck in the second moto, but contact off the gate relegated him to a 19th-place start. True to his style, Baggett made quick work in climbing his way through the field and fought his way up to just outside the top 10 by Lap 7 only to experience heartbreak with his motorcycle, resulting in a DNF. As a result, Baggett’s 6-34 moto finishes landed him 14th overall but he remained optimistic.
“That’s not the way we wanted to end our day but sometimes that’s just how things go,” said Baggett. “The Kawasaki KX250F was really fast and it made it easy to make the passes I needed to. I ended up needing to do a lot more passing than I anticipated, but I was happy with how well I came through the field in each moto. We have some positives to build from with this and we’ll come out ready to fight back next weekend.”
Baggett maintained a spot inside the top 10 in the 250 Class standings, currently sitting in a tie for seventh. He is just 15 points outside of the top three and faces a 52-point deficit to the leader.
Looking Ahead >>
Thunder Valley National
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki will now set its sights on the third round of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship season with the series’ annual visit to the mile high altitude of Thunder Valley, just outside Denver. With it’s thin air, dramatic elevation changes, and sometimes-unpredictable weather, Thunder Valley serves as one of the most unique and demanding stops on the schedule. Despite the challenges the track presents, no team has been more dominant at the facility than Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, with seven wins in nine attempts.
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About Pro Circuit
Based in Corona, Calif., Pro Circuit Products, Inc. is a leader in off-road motorcycle and ATV exhausts and aftermarket performance parts. Started in 1978, Pro Circuit is the go to shop for recreational riders and professionals for everything from suspension work to complete engine packages, and everything in between.
Created by former desert racer Mitch Payton, Pro Circuit proves its products and services week-in and week-out through its tagline “We Race.” Every product that dons the Pro Circuit stamp stems from the legendary Pro Circuit race team. A staple in the professional paddock, Pro Circuit Racing has earned 29 AMA championships and more than 200 race wins in more than 30 years of competition.