Irvine, Calif. – In the heat and humidity of Eastern Tennessee, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett went 1-3 in the 250 Class to earn his third straight podium finish in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Muddy Creek Raceway on Saturday. Baggett returned to the podium after a thrilling Moto 1 win by just eight one-hundredths of a second and a third-place finish in the second moto. Dean Wilson returned to racing after an injury at the season opener finishing ninth overall with a 14-7 result. Justin Hill rode his KX250F to the front early in the first moto, but an injury to his right hand forced him to miss the second moto and finish 15th overall. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Brett Metcalfe overcame a back injury during the week to earn seventh overall with a 9-7 result.
Baggett has reached mid-season form in the last few races and his trademark of finishing strong was never more applicable than in the first moto at Muddy Creek. Baggett slowly worked his way towards the front of the field and stalked the leader until the very last corner where he launched his way to the moto win by just .080 seconds. In the second moto Baggett was running up front from the beginning but throughout the moto he battled with lapped traffic. As he tried to pass for the lead, he ultimately got caught out by a lapper and went down, forcing him to settle for third. With his 1-3 result, Baggett gained 19 points in the championship standings.
“Today was a good day for me as far as points are concerned, but I feel I could have gotten the win,” said Baggett. “We have been working hard and I think the hard work is showing during the race. In the first moto I knew I had to go for it and I was pretty sure I won the moto because I was ahead of Cooper. In the second moto we were battling for most of the race, but late in the moto a lapper stopped right in front of me and I had nowhere to go. I went down, but I was still able to get back up to finish second.”
Metcalfe came into the weekend doubtful he would be able to race after injuring his back earlier in the week. With the injury, his back locked up and he has been working since Wednesday to loosen it up. In the first moto, the Australian was caught up in the first turn pileup, but he was able to get going and move into the top ten. In the second moto a better start saw Metty running solidly in the top ten the entire moto.
“The race went well,” said Metcalfe. “The Monster Energy Kawasaki team did a great job setting up the bike and making adjustments between motos. It has been a hard week with my back going out, but I was able to gut through it and when I was racing I didn’t really feel any pain, but in the middle of the motos it really started to tighten up. I’m looking forward to healing more this week and heading into RedBud at 100 percent.”
After a gnarly cut to the back of his knee at Glen Helen, Wilson returned to racing at Muddy Creek looking to regain his championship form. Wilson was caught up in a first turn crash in the opening moto and slowly plodded his way through the field to score a 14th place result. In the second moto, Wilson was able to avoid trouble in Turn One and rode strong in the top 10 to finish seventh in the moto and earn ninth overall
“I was disappointed to go down in the first moto,” said Wilson. ”I wanted to get back into the rhythm of racing and unfortunately I had to do that while fighting my way through the pack. The second moto went much better since I was in a battle the whole time. I’m going to keep working to get a win this season.”
The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship heads to Buchanan, Michigan for its annual Fourth of July weekend visit to RedBud. As one of the most revered tracks in all of motocross, RedBud always provides a solid test of both rider and bike amongst some of the rowdiest fans. The RedBud event will also serve as a backdrop for Kawasaki as they unveil their 2015 KX250F and KX™450F.