CORONA, CA – July 15, 2014 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – With an eight-year winning streak at legendary Budds Creek, the three-rider lineup of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki knew they had an opportunity to get the second half of the 2014 AMA Pro Motocross Championship off to a flying start. With both Blake Baggett and Dean Wilson serving as former winners at the track, they entered last Saturday’s action as favorites to stand atop the podium at day’s end. Ultimately it was Baggett, the reigning back-to-back winner at Budds Creek, who seized the day to earn his third straight victory in Southern Maryland and continue the team’s dominance of the track. The third win of the season for the former champion also signified big gains in his continued chase towards a second career 250 Class title.
While Baggett led the way, Wilson and Justin Hill fought hard for their results and showed impressive resiliency in what was undoubtedly the toughest weather conditions of the season thus far with high temperatures and high humidity.
Back-to-Back-to-Back for Baggett
Missing out on the overall podium the week prior left Baggett with a chip on his shoulder coming into Budds Creek and he sought to reassert his dominance at arguably his most successful track on the schedule. He started the day with a top-five time in practice and was ready to attack the heat over the course of two grueling motos.
Baggett emerged in seventh place off the start in the first moto, but began his march towards the front immediately. He and Wilson teamed up in the early stages to close in on the lead pack, which allowed Baggett to engage in a battle for the top three halfway through the moto. After taking over control of third, his torrid pace late in the moto resulted in a three-rider battle to the finish, in which he ultimately maintained the final podium spot.
In the second moto Baggett came away with a stellar start in fourth and wasted little time taking advantage of it. He moved into third by Lap 2 and patiently waited for his chance to take over second on Lap 7. Once he had the leader in sight, Baggett closed in and made quick work of assuming control of the moto, leading the final six laps to not only take the moto win but also secure his third straight triumph at Budds Creek.
“The conditions were gnarly today but I knew that would play into my favor,” said Baggett. “I enjoy racing in this kind of weather because it really separates the guys who are prepared from the guys who aren’t. My fitness is great and the Kawasaki KX250F is exactly how I want it to be. We were able to get a couple solid starts and I just did what I had to do to get to the front. It feels great to get back on top of the box and continue our fight to the top of the championship.”
Baggett’s victory moved him into second in the 250 Class standings, 27 points out of the lead.
Hill Holds His Own
The last couple weeks haven’t been easy on Hill after suffering an apparent dislocated elbow, but he’s fought through the effects of his injury to remain a constant in the 250 Class. At Budds Creek that was no different as Hill posted a top-10 time in practice to set the tone for a solid afternoon.
The sophomore rider had his work cut out for him in the opening moto, crossing the line in 14th place on the opening lap. After losing ground early on and dropping to 16th, Hill settled into a rhythm and methodically worked his way forward, ultimately battling his way into 13th as the checkered flag flew.
The second moto was a reversal of fortune for Hill, who secured a strong start and positioned himself just outside the top five in sixth. The opportunity to race with the lead group resulted in a higher pace for the Oregon native and more aggression. He stayed in the thick of the hunt for the top five throughout the entirety of the moto as other competitors faltered, ultimately finishing where he started in sixth. Hill’s 13-6 moto scores were good enough for seventh overall.
“We dealt with a little bit of everything today so I’m pretty happy to come out of here with a top 10,” said Hill. “The weather just made everything that much more difficult and it took some time to get acclimated to it. I learned a lot coming into the second moto and changed my approach a bit, which paid off. The Kawasaki KX250F was great as always and we’ll take what we learned from here to try and come out stronger next weekend.”
Hill maintains control of ninth in the 250 Class standings, still facing a 16-point deficit to eighth.
Hard Charger Wilson
Since returning to competition from injury, Wilson had made consistent improvements out on the track and was racing his way back to the level that would allow him to challenge for wins. The former champion was feeling optimistic about his chances of landing on the podium at the site of his first career win, but misfortune ultimately played a role in the outcome of Wilson’s afternoon.
Wilson began the opening moto with a great start, leading the way for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki in fifth. He and Baggett were able to push one another to the lead pack, from which Wilson then engaged in heated battles for the top five. After going bar-to-bar for 17 laps, he crossed the line in seventh knowing where he could improve in the second moto.
As Moto 2 got underway, Wilson put himself in position to get another strong start only to have a fellow competitor crash directly in front of him. While Wilson didn’t go down, contact did cause an issue with his starting device and he was relegated to the mechanics area for a quick repair. Once out on track, Wilson faced a near one-minute deficit to the leader in 37th and had a 10-second gap to make up on the rider ahead. The Scotland native put his head down and laid down the best moto he could to surpass 21 riders and climb all the way to an impressive 16th-place finish, ultimately earning the series’ Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award for his resilient effort. Wilson’s 7-16 moto scores left him one point shy of the top 10, ultimately finishing 12th.
“I’m definitely not happy with how things ended up there in the second moto, but I did all I could given the circumstances,” said Wilson. “I really wanted to put the Kawasaki KX250F up at the front and fight for a spot on the podium, but luck wasn’t on our side there at the end. We still got a decent result out of it and it felt good to push myself in conditions like this, so I’ll do all I can to learn from today and come out better next weekend. There’s nothing I want more than to contend for a win, so my goals are pretty simple right now.”
Wilson is now 15th in the 250 Class standings as a result of his spirited ride. He sits just five points out of 14th and 10 points out of 13th.
Photos courtesy of Steve Cox and Hoppenworld
Looking Ahead >>
Spring Creek National
After three rounds in the Eastern Time Zone, the AMA Pro Motocross Championship returns to the Midwest this weekend with its annual trek to Minnesota for the Spring Creek National in Millville. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki has five wins at the track, with its most recent victory coming in 2011 with Tyla Rattray.
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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.