Irvine, Calif. – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett scored his second win of the season at Round 5 of the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Budds Creek MX Park in Mechanicsville, Md., with a 2-1 moto result. Baggett will continue carrying the coveted red plate on his Kawasaki KX™250F for a fifth-consecutive week after extending his points lead to 13. His teammate Broc Tickle captured the first outdoor overall podium of his career aboard his KX™450F, landing in second place with a 2-2 moto score. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer started off strong in the first 450 moto scoring third, but a fourth-place finish in Moto 2 left him just off the podium with fourth overall. Ivan Tedesco got good starts in both 250 motos, but not long after grabbing the holeshot in Moto 2 he crashed and had to pull off the track.

Getting it Done
After finishing off the podium in fourth last weekend, Baggett was determined to do whatever it took to keep the red pates on his KX250F. In the first moto, Baggett got a good start inside the top-five and began pushing toward the front. By the second lap he moved into third and began pacing the leaders on the tight track. With five minutes plus two laps left in the race, Baggett made a pass for second place stick and finished in the runner-up spot. In Moto 2, Baggett got a great jump off the line and came around the first lap in third. He moved into second by lap eight and began pacing the leader. When the leader made a mistake on lap 13, Baggett took over the lead and never looked back. The victory marked his second win of the season and extended his points lead to 13.

Irvine, Calif. – Monster Energy Kawasaki’s off road team headed south of the border to Tecate, Mexico, for the 2011 Tecate Hare Scrambles, and dominated the event. Racers battled through two loops, a total of 52 miles, winding through the Mexican desert and over a myriad of challenging obstacles on a tight, single-track course. Despite freezing temperatures and a brief snow flurry, Taylor Robert charged to the front of the field to take the overall win. Bobby Garrison fought hard looking for opportunities to make passes around racers on the tight course and finished in the runner-up spot.

After finishing runner-up in last year’s Tecate Enduro, Robert decided a Kawasaki KX™250F would better suit the technical Mexican trails for this year’s hare scramble format. He got a mid-pack start and immediately began reeling in the leader. Before the end of the first loop, Robert charged to the front of the pack and gapped the field by two minutes. He maintained his lead throughout the second loop and took the checkered flag uncontested.

“It was a really technical race,” said Robert. “I decided to go with a KX250F because I remembered how tight this course was last year. There were lots of rocky sections and tight canyons with sand washes that you really had to slow down to get through. I was in first gear a lot, which is unusual for the kind of racing I usually do. Off the start I ended up around fifth after the first couple turns and just started picking off riders. I got behind the leader and followed him for several miles looking for a place to pass. We got into some virgin trail and I found a spot to make a sketchy pass. I made it stick and started charging until the finish. It was a lot of fun.”

Battling For the Box

Reigning 2010 Tecate Enduro champion Garrison came to Mexico looking to take his second-consecutive title. Aboard his new 2012 KX™450F, he battled hard every turn of the race pushing toward the front. By the end of the first loop he was in fourth, only a few feet behind third and second. Refusing to be held up on the tight course any longer, Garrison forced a couple passes in the bushes and made them stick. He moved into second and began charging toward the leader. Garrison crossed the finish in second, less than a minute behind teammate Robert.

“Overall it went pretty good,” said Garrison. “I didn’t get the best start, but just kept working my way up. I tried to make a few moves, had a couple bobbles, but eventually moved into fourth. I got close to Robert until he moved up two positions to take over the lead. I battled through the entire first loop with (Ivan) Ramiriz and (Ian) Blythe, looking for a place to get around them, and finally got past them early in the second loop. I just kept charging from there and was looking to reel in the leader, but ended up finishing in second. My 2012 KX™450F rode awesome. It had more than enough power for the course, and the suspension was really absorbing everything. I’m pretty happy with the bike and looking forward to taking it to WORCS next season.”

Mexican Snowstorm

Typically when you head south to Mexico, you expect warm weather and lots of sunshine. However, the weather in Tecate didn’t seem to follow the rules. The night before the race, temperatures dropped below freezing and the hacienda where the teams slept didn’t seem to provide any relief from the cold. Although the race began under clear skies, by the second loop snow flurries inundated the racers.

“The weather was crazy out here,” said Robert. “Last night was freezing cold. Even though we had a fire in our room it barely made a difference. In the morning when the race started the weather was perfect, it was sunny and cool. On the second lap the clouds moved in and it suddenly got really cold. When it started snowing I decided to pin it until the finish line. My hands started feeling numb and I just wanted to get across the finish so I could get into some warm clothes and get indoors as fast as possible.”

Cactus Attack

Since a majority of the course was tight, single-track surrounded by dense manzanita and cactus, racers had to work to find places to pass. Since the one-lined course provided almost no room to pass, Garrison found himself blasting through the bushes several times in an attempt to get around slower racers. Although his hard work and determination eventually paid off, Garrison’s jersey showed the abuse he withstood to earn a place on the podium.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of room to pass out there,” said Garrison. “The trail was really tight and packed with brush on all sides. It was really hard to get around slower racers. I kept charging through the bushes trying to make something happen. I went through a bunch of cactus and manzanita several times trying to make passes. There were so many areas where you had to lean your bike around corners and it looked like your radiator was going to get impaled by branches at any moment. Even though the dirt was perfect, making passes on that tight trail was the most challenging element of the race.”

Family Tree

Usually the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. In the morning race, Robert switched roles with his father, who lined up to compete against the veteran riders aboard his son’s 2011 KX450F practice bike. As his father raced around the course, Robert took on a support role helping his dad in the pit. Although he hadn’t raced in years, by the end of the race Shaun Robert took the win in the Sportsman 40+ class, only hours before his son won the event.

Results

2011 Tecate Hare Scrambles
Tecate, Mexico
December 3, 2011

Pro Class Results
1. TAYLOR ROBERT, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
2. BOBBY GARRISON, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
3. Ian Blythe, KTM
4. Ivan Ramiriz, KTM
5. Colton Haaker, KTM

Irvine, Calif. – Kawasaki’s Vicki Golden dominated the Women’s Motocross event at X Games 17, winning both her heat and taking home the gold in the main event. The Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, Calif. was filled with dirt and setup similar to an Arenacross track, but with some very unique features. Golden excelled around the tight track, navigating the myriad of obstacles with precision. In the middle of the track was a 65-foot ramp-to-dirt jump, which didn’t slow Golden for a second. She flew over the massive jump with style every lap, throwing her bike sideways with a fist in the air as she flew past the checkered flag. Kawasaki rider and French-national Livia Lancelot rode solid throughout the event to finish third, taking home the bronze medal. Sara Price qualified for the main event, but after getting tangled with another rider finished in fourth.

Good as Golden

The tight track setup inside the Staples Center couldn’t have worked out better for Golden. She has been working hard and putting in a lot of time racing the guys on Arenacross tracks over the past year. This year Golden became the first woman ever to qualify for a main event in the AMA Arenacross Lites class. When she got on the track at X Games 17 she really exuded confidence on every part of the track, from the whoops to the massive ramp jump. Golden easily won her heat and advanced to the final where she grabbed the holeshot and checked out. She was the fastest out of the gate, smoothest over the whoops, and most stylish off the huge jump aboard her Kawasaki KX™250F. Golden’s impressive riding resulted in her first ever medal at the X Games, with gold.

The French Connection

Lancelot came to America on loan from the Bud Racing Team in Europe a couple weeks ago and went immediately to work perfecting her supercross style. Fresh off the plane, she came to Kawasaki and began testing her on new KX250F. Lancelot arrived at the X Games feeling confident even though she had never raced anything like the unique track. She adapted to the foreign track quickly, successfully navigating the awkward wooden drop-in ramp and ramp-to-dirt jump. At the first indoor race of her life, Lancelot finished with a bronze medal amidst the world’s best athletes.

Solid Effort

Price finished second behind Golden the first heat, and was feeling good going into the main event. She had a crash in the first lap, after getting tangled with another rider, which prevented her from getting back into medal contention. Price dusted herself off and finished the race on the bubble.

KX Proof

The X Games 17 Women’s Moto X event was dominated by green bikes, from start to finish. By the main event, 75% of the bikes on the line were Kawasaki KX250Fs. After 16 whoop-filled laps, the KX250F came out on top, delivering both Golden and Lancelot medals.

 

Irvine, Calif. – Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto earned his first overall victory of the season with a 1-2 moto result at the third round of the AMA Motocross Championship series at High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa. The win is the second of his career in the 450cc class and moved him six points closer to the points leader. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett also grabbed his second career victory in the 250cc class with an impressive come-from-behind 1-1 finish on his Kawasaki KX™250F. Tyla Rattray moved into the points lead with his hard earned 3-2 result for second overall, while Dean Wilson now sits two points back from his teammate after going down in moto two and earning a 2-8 finish on the day for fourth overall. Broc Tickle earned his best moto and overall finish of the season, riding to a 10-4 finish for fifth overall. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer overcame a first turn crash in Moto 2 to come from last to finish with a 7-11 and ninth overall.

A Winner Once Again
While Villopoto had finished on the podium at the first two rounds of the AMA Motocross Championship, he wasn’t going to be happy until he grabbed a win.  In Moto 1, he proved he was a championship contender, taking the lead in the opening corners and finishing with his first moto victory. The second moto proved to be challenging with a downpour of rain covering the track just prior to the parade lap. Villopoto rode smart, kept his Kawasaki KX™450F on two wheels, and brought home his first overall victory of the season with a 1-2 moto finish.

“It was definitely good to get the monkey of my back,” said Villopoto. “My last win was in 2009 and I just wanted to get this one out of the way. It’s been good getting back to the East Coast and I’m really excited for the next few rounds.”

Gaining Momentum
Showing that he still has the speed he delivered at Hangtown, Baggett made a comeback from his Round 2 result with a big 1-1 finish in Pennsylvania. In both motos he had to come-from-behind and in both motos he won by over 10 seconds. He overcame a tough start in the first moto and worked his way from 10th to first with four laps to go. In the second moto, a crash on lap seven pushed him back to second, but would regain the lead with three laps to go.

“It wasn’t the easiest day for me, but I felt good in both motos,” said Baggett. “The second moto was a lot tougher with the rain that had come down, but after my crash I was able to get back into a groove really fast. I think that helped me because it’s easy to get frustrated with all the mud that was out there. It’s good to win and it helps make up some points.”

Points Leader
With his 3-2 finish at High Point, Rattray became the third Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider to take over the points lead and the coveted red number plate. He rode smart and consistent in both motos, leaving him with a two-point lead over his teammate Wilson.

“I’m happy to get the points lead, but I’m focused on staying consistent,” said Rattray. “That is often the key to being there at the end and I know I have been riding well. I would like to get another win and I like Budds Creek a lot. Hopefully I can get back on the podium and keep the points lead.”

Still There
While Wilson’s weekend didn’t go as planned, he still sits just two points behind the leader Rattray. He came through the pack in the first moto to claim second, but most of his work was in the second moto. While leading, Wilson went down and was outside the top-20, but came back for eighth and fourth overall for the day.

“I am upset with myself because I put myself in position to win, but can’t seem to put the two motos together,” said Wilson. “I know I can do well and I just hope that I can have the same luck at Budds Creek as I did last year.”

Best Finish
Tickle’s goal of improvement showed as he claimed his best finish of the season with the top-five result. His first moto started off slow with a top-20 start, but he eventually worked his way through to 10th. The second moto had him up in the front-pack from the start and would finish the day with a 10-4 for fifth overall.

“I’m happy to be moving in the right direction,” said Tickle. “Obviously I wanted to do better in the first few rounds, but seeing improvement is motivating. I know I can run out front with those guys, but I haven’t been able to show that since my starts haven’t been there. I will keep working to be out front early so I don’t have to come through the pack.”

Never Give Up
After finishing with a solid seventh-place finish in the first moto, Weimer had to dig deep to come back in the second moto. The slippery track claimed Weimer in the first turn, but he kept picking off riders down to the final laps to finish 11th and ninth overall.

“I felt really good in the first moto and was riding a good pace, but a small mistake pushed me back to finish seventh,” said Weimer. “The second moto was pretty bad from the start, but I didn’t want to give up because I know a lot can happen in 35 minutes. I just kept pushing and was able to finish inside the top-10. Not really where I wanted to finish, but I had to do with what I was given.”

Testing
After putting his full concentration on earning his first supercross championship, Villopoto was left with little time to test. Over the course of the week, the team tested with Villopoto and the results have been optimistic.

“I feel 100 times better since we have been able to dial in the bike for me,” said Villopoto. “There wasn’t a lot of time to test because we were focused on supercross. It’s good to get some testing time in and see good things. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.”

Budds Creek
The Budds Creek track in Mechanicsville, Md. has many memories for the Kawasaki-mounted riders. Villopoto led his 2007 USA team to victory at the Motocross of Nations with an impressive ride, while Wilson grabbed his first professional victory at the venue last year. Baggett will have more to overcome as the venue ended his 2010 season with a broken arm.

“I am going to try not to think about the memories of the past and focus on winning,” said Baggett. “I know the thoughts will be there, but I want to win and know I’ll be focused on getting out front and taking another win.”

AMA Motocross Series
High Point Raceway – Mt. Morris, Pa.
June 11, 2011

AMA 450 Motocross Class Results (Moto Finishes)
1.    RYAN VILLOPOTO, SEATTLE, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 1-2
2.    Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 2-3
3.    Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda, 5-1
4.    Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM, 4-4
5.    Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha, 3-9
6.    Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 6-5
7.    Tommy Hahn, Alvord, Texas, Yamaha, 10-7
8.    Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki, 8-10
9.    JAKE WEIMER, RUPERT, IDAHO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 7-11
10.    Nick Wey, Dewitt, MIch., Yamaha, 14-8

AMA 250 Motocross Results (Moto Finishes)
1.    BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 1-1
2.    TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 3-2
3.    Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 6-3
4.    DEAN WILSON, MENIFEE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 2-8
5.    BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 10-4
6.    Justin Barcia, New Jersey, N.J., Honda, 8-7
7.    Cole Seely, Corona, Calif., Honda, 11-5
8.    Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha, 5-11
9.    Darryn Durham, Butler, Pa., Honda, 4-14
10.    Alex Martin, Lake City, Minn., Honda, 13-6

AMA 450 Motocross Class Points Standings
1.    Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda, 138
2.    RYAN VILLOPOTO, SEATTLE, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 123
3.    Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 111
4.    Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha, 104
5.    Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki, 88
6.    Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 76
7.    Ricky Dietrich, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha, 72
8.    JAKE WEIMER, RUPERT, IDAHO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 68
9.    Tommy Hahn, Alvord, Texas, Yamaha, 65
10.    Christian Craig, Hemet, Calif., Honda, 59

AMA 250 Motocross Points Standings
1.    TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 127
2.    DEAN WILSON, MENIFEE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 125
3.    BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 116
4.    Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 104
5.    Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha, 90
6.    Justin Barcia, New Jersey, N.J., Honda, 79
7.    Cole Seely, Corona, Calif., Honda, 68
8.    BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 67
9.    Gareth Swanepoel, South Africa, Yamaha, 61
10.    Martin Davalos, Equador, Suzuki, 53

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.

Winner
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.