Irvine, Calif. (May 23, 2011) – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett earned his first-career motocross win with a 2-1 finish at the AMA Motocross Championship season opener at Hangtown MX in Rancho Cordova, Calif. The win comes in only his seventh professional outdoor race after being forced to sit out most of the season in 2010 with injury.
Teammate Dean Wilson finished close behind with a 1-3, putting him in second overall after opening the day with a moto win. Tyla Rattray rounded out the overall podium with a solid second-moto comeback to finish 5-2. Teammate Broc Tickle overcame a crash in the first moto to finish 13-7 and ninth overall. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto made a trip to the podium after finishing third overall with a 3-3. Teammate Jake Weimer earned the recovery award with a great second-moto ride to earn 12th after a 21-6 ride.
With three supercross wins already to his name, Baggett earned his first motocross overall victory with two great rides aboard his Kawasaki KX™250F. In the first moto, he was running up front, but had a minor crash that pushed him outside the top-10. He didn’t give up and made his way up to second, posting the fastest lap time of the race on the final lap. In the second moto, he kept pace with his teammate Rattray and made the pass in the final laps to earn his first motocross win.
“It feels great to finally win a national,” said Baggett. “Supercross is great being in a stadium with all the people, but with motocross you have to be there for two motos on rough tracks. It almost feels better because I had to put in the hard work the second moto to get the win. It’s a great way to start the season and I want to keep the streak rolling.”
After ending the 2010 season with a win, Wilson showed he was ready to keep the wins coming. He started off strong with a Moto 1 victory. He was looking good in the second moto, but a crash pushed him back from the lead pack. He recovered quickly to secure third and finish the day with second overall.
“The day started off great, but I made a mistake that cost me too much time to reach my teammates up front,” said Wilson. “I really wanted to win, but it was a good weekend overall. I got some good points and I’ll try for the win again next week.”
Making the podium a complete Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki sweep, Rattray bounced back from a fifth-place finish in the first moto to grab second in the final moto and push himself onto the podium with third overall.
“It was great to finally get back outdoors and race motocross,” said Rattray. “I felt good and I’m pretty happy to get on the podium. The track was super rough and by our second moto, it was very physically demanding. It would be great to get back up there again next weekend.”
Back on the Podium
After sitting out the AMA Motocross Championship for nearly two seasons with injury, Villopoto returned to the form of racing that has already seen him earn three championships in the 250cc class. He came into Hangtown confident that he could run up front and he did just that. After finishing third in the first moto, Villopoto ran out front for nearly half the moto before finishing third to earn him a solid third overall.
“It was a tough track today and recovering from being sick definitely didn’t help,” said Villopoto. “It’s good to get back into racing motocross after being out of it for so long. I got some good points and we still have 11 races left. I’ll be working hard to get a win.”
Reigning AMA Supercross Lites, Western Region champion Tickle started the motocross season showing his perseverance in both motos. In the first moto, he was making his way through the field when he went down, pushing him back to 24th. He rode hard to the end to finish 13th and improved even more in the second moto with a seventh to finish ninth overall.
“I felt good all day, unfortunately my results didn’t show it,” said Tickle. “When I feel good, but have a tough day, it makes me even more motivated to go out the next week and make up for that last race. I’m glad we got the first race out of the way and I’m looking forward to Texas.”
With only two races under his belt as a 450 rider, Weimer was looking to prove he could run with the experienced 450 riders. After a tough first moto, Weimer bounced back in a big way finishing sixth, which put him 12th overall with a 21-6.
“I was hurt for a long time and regardless of whether I was riding supercross or motocross, I’ve missed a lot of time on the bike,” said Weimer. “I’ve been playing catch up and all things considered, I think the first race went pretty well. I had a bad first moto going down twice, but I think the second moto showed that I am capable of running up at the front.”
Hot and Humid
The next race on the circuit brings the riders to Texas. Typically, the race at Freestone Raceway is always hot and humid, which challenges the racers physically and mentally to get through 30 minutes plus two laps.
“I’m not sure why, but I’ve always had fun racing in Texas,” said Tickle. “When it’s hot and humid, it really shows who is in shape. I got on the podium there last year and I want to do it again this year.”