CORONA, CA – July 8, 2014 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – The 2014 AMA Pro Motocross Championship hosted its sixth round of the season on Saturday, signifying the halfway point of the summer schedule. Famed RedBud in Buchanan, Michigan, has been an Independence Day tradition in American motocross and produced arguably the most competitive afternoon of competition this season. In the end, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki left the iconic facility with top 10 efforts from each of its three riders.
The entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki lineup of Blake Baggett, Dean Wilson, and Justin Hill were in the mix in each of the 250 Class motos. The trio often found themselves engaged in teammate-to-teammate battles, ultimately pushing one another to higher speeds, lower lap times, and better finishes.
Baggett Barely Misses Podium
As the hottest rider in the series coming into RedBud, in addition to being the winningest rider at the track in the 250 Class, Baggett garnered the bulk of the attention on Saturday. His impressive climb into the thick of the title fight made headlines and he looked for continued success at one of his favorite tracks.
After posting the third-fastest lap in practice it was apparent Baggett would be in the hunt for victory, and he got the afternoon off to a strong start by slotting into fifth out of the gate in the opening moto. His steady climb to the front put him into second by Lap 8, from which he proceeded to challenge the leader through to the checkered flag, just missing out on his fifth moto win of the season.
In Moto 2 Baggett had his work cut out for him after starting outside the top 10. Nevertheless, the former champion did what he does best and charged forward, eventually moving into the top five on Lap 6. As he looked to gain more positions and cement his spot on the podium, Baggett went down late and dropped two positions, ultimately crossing the line in seventh and narrowly missing out on the overall podium in fourth (2-7).
“That’s a tough way to end our day for sure, but we were where we wanted to be today,” said Baggett. “The last thing I wanted was for a mistake to cost me a spot on the podium, but I’m happy with how I rode and how the Kawasaki KX250F performed. I’m still confident we’re the team to beat in this [championship] and we’ll regroup to come out better next weekend.”
Baggett now faces a 28-point deficit sitting third in the 250 Class standings, but sits just five points out of second.
Wilson Working His Way Forward
In his first race back from injury one week ago, Wilson posted a solid top-10 effort despite missing six motos of competition. With a week of racing under his belt, the Scottish native looked to continue his upward progression at RedBud and begin his journey back to the podium.
Wilson began the day with a solid eighth-place effort in practice and slotted in just behind his teammate off the start in the opening moto in sixth. He remained in a hotly contested battle for the top five until contact with another rider sent him to the ground. Wilson lost several positions but rode strong through the finish to secure ninth.
In Moto 2, Wilson started inside the top five and was once again part of a thrilling fight to maintain that spot. He stayed out of trouble and outlasted multiple challenges to secure a season-best fifth-place result and finish sixth overall.
“Just another step in the right direction,” said Wilson. “I got good starts and we were right where we want to be with the Kawasaki KX250F. If not for that incident in the first moto we could have been in podium range, so I’m feeling great. I think things will continue to come to us every time we line up.”
Wilson gained two spots in the 250 Class standings and currently has possession of 16th, five points out of 15th and 14 points out of 14th.
Hill Hangs On
After a forearm injury kept him out of action from the second moto one week ago, Hill was on the mend at RedBud. However, based on his performance it was hard to believe he was feeling any ill effects.
Hill started the day with a conservative 12th place positioning in practice, but was ready to rise to the occasion in Moto 1. Despite starting outside the top 10, he made steady forward progress and fought his way to a solid 10th place finish. He stepped up even more in Moto 2, positioning himself just ahead of his teammate in fourth and engaging in a competitive battle for the top five. In the end, Hill grabbed a hard-earned eighth-place finish to land 10th overall.
“I wasn’t sure how things would go today, but I felt good and I’m happy with a top 10,” said Hill. “The competition out there was intense and it felt like everyone stepped it up today. The Kawasaki KX250F was performing great and it felt good to mix it up with my teammates up front. I’m feeling good and looking forward to next weekend.”
Hill moved to ninth in the 250 Class standings and faces a 16-point deficit to eighth.
Photos courtesy of Steve Cox and Hoppenworld
Looking Ahead >> Budds Creek National
For the last eight seasons, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki has owned Budds Creek MX Park. The seventh round of the 2014 season is arguably the team’s most dominant venue with eight consecutive wins dating back to 2006 and 11 victories overall. Baggett is the reigning back-to-back winner in Southern Maryland.
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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.