Irvine, Calif. – Deep in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett swept the 250 Class with a 1-1 performance at the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in Mt. Morris on Saturday. Baggett returned to the top of the podium at High Point in dominant fashion capturing the 125th moto win for the KX™250F and its 150th overall podium finish. Justin Hill rode his KX250F to another top five moto finish and placed eighth overall. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Brett Metcalfe overcame some mistakes to finish ninth overall just behind fellow Australian, Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki rider Chad Reed who placed eighth overall in the 450 Class. Jake Weimer was in position to have a banner day until he crashed in the first moto and was struck by another rider. The collision left him cut up and battered, forcing him out of competition for the day.
Making his Rise
Two years ago Baggett won the overall at High Point, rebounding from a crash that left his bike twisted and his helmet visor broken. That day earned him the nickname “El Chupacabra” and on Saturday, “El Chupacabra” returned to dominate once again. Baggett started the first moto within the top five and wasted little time making his way to the front of the field. By the ten minute mark, El Chupacabra had shown his teeth and passed from fourth to first including the current points leader. From there he continued to pull away and crossed the finish line with more than a 10 second margin. In the second moto, Baggett got another great start on his KX250F and was into the lead by Lap 6. The past champion swept the day and will continue his quest for the top of the points standings in Tennessee as he sits third, just seven points out of second place.
2014 High Point Coverage
“This one really goes out to the team at Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki,” said Baggett. “With my eye injury, we only had a handful of days on the bike before the start of the season and it showed. But each week, together we have been working our butts off to get the bike where I like it and my eye continues to improve as well. We’ve got a deficit to make up, but I’m hungry for that red plate and we’ll keep chipping away until we get it.”
Metcalfe came into the weekend feeling optimistic, despite High Point being one of his least favorite tracks on the calendar. The No.24 Kawasaki KX™450F qualified as fifth fastest in practice and looked comfortable on the slick, hard-packed track. In the first moto, Metcalfe was making his way forward within the top-10 and was as high as eighth before a late race crashed knocked him back and finished ninth. Still shaken up from the crash, the Australian battled through the second moto to finish a strong seventh and remains fifth overall in the points standings
“All things considered, today wasn’t horrible but not ideal,” said Metcalfe. “This track isn’t one of my favorites, but the Monster Energy Kawasaki team has done a tremendous job at getting the bike suited for me and I felt good. The crash in Moto 1 took the wind out of my sails a bit. We salvaged some good points and I’m excited to head to Tennessee, a track I’ve never been to.”
Hill was in a constant battle on the track all day at High Point. In the first moto, he had to come through the field after getting pinched off on the start and was constantly jockeying for position. He was able to find his way into the top 10 and finished ninth. Hill got a much better start in the second moto and rounded the first turn up front with the leaders. Coming across the first lap in third, Hill pushed his pace to stay up front, battling within the top five. He challenged for a spot on the podium in the second half of the moto until a crash cost him a couple positions and he crossed the checkered in fifth.
“Crashing sucks,” said Hill. “I really felt good running the pace of those guys and of course the start was crucial. I started to push it a bit and made a bunch of mistakes and eventually one got the better of me. It was a good moto to build on and I will carry this momentum through the weekend off and into Tennessee.”
Reed showed off the impressive power of the Kawasaki KX™450F as he ripped two holeshots on the uphill High Point start and was able to lead a lap and be upfront for the first time this season. The Australian settled into his pace in the first moto and finished fifth, while the second moto Reed made a few mistakes and rounded out the top 10.
The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship heads into its first weekend off, but the work will not ease up for the Monster Energy Kawasaki riders. Round 5 brings the team to the Tennessee National on June 28th. The riders will take advantage of the weekend off to continue testing and improving, while Weimer will have a week to rest his injuries sustained from the weekend.