MT. MORRIS – Professional motocross has some new stars coming through its ranks. As a result, expect to hear the name Blake Baggett more often.
On a hot, sunny Saturday afternoon at High Point Raceway, Baggett, also the winner at Thunder Valley two weeks ago, rode to his second consecutive victory on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship circuit, winning the High Point National in the 450 Class and seizing the lead atop the season point standings.
“I’ve just been trying to get more comfortable, and the more comfortable you are, the faster you go,” Baggett said. “I knew what I needed to do to get the job done. Today, I felt it was enough to get the win.”
The past two years saw Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey dominate the professional motocross circuit. Roczen has battled injury, and Dungey, a three-time Lucas Oil Pro Motocross champion, announced his abrupt retirement earlier this year.
Baggett won the first 450 Class with relative ease. A strong start saw him start off in second out of the holeshot, but eventually he and Dean Ferris, an Australian who is the current MX1 points leader in the Australian Motocross Nationals, finished first and second, respectively.
High Point marked Ferris’ pro motocross debut, with it being the first time he has competed in a motocross event in the United States. After finishing second in the first moto, Ferris finished 14th in the second moto, good enough for seventh place overall.
In the second 450 Class moto, Baggett had slow start and fell behind after the holeshot, but a third of the way into the race he began to slowly climb back towards the leaders. By the 13-minute mark, he had climbed into second place behind Eli Tomac.
“At that point, I had a 1-2 (first in moto No. 1 and second in moto No. 2) going and knew that I could slow the pace down a little bit,” Baggett said. “I took the smarter option because I already had the overall top spot locked up. I don’t want to sound too cocky but sometimes out here you have to be cocky.”
Tomac, who came into Saturday second in the season point standings, finished fourth overall after a crash on the opening lap of the first moto.
Baggett’s win vaults him to the top of the standings with 155 points. Marvin Musquin sits in second place with 147 points. Tomac is third with 144 points.
The 250 Class was much closer.
Zach Osborne, the winner at Hangtown and Glen Helen in the first two races of the season, continued his season-long dominance, winning the first moto.
After struggling at the start of the second moto, Osborne climbed all the way back to third place before taking the second spot from Alex Martin with two minutes remaining. Jeremy Martin finished in first place.
“It’s been one heck of a rough season,” Jeremy Martin said. “Wins are hard to come by, especially because of how good these guys are.”
Those participating had to get used to a different track layout from past experiences at High Point.
“I want the old High Point back where we are racing out there in the field, but I still think it’s one of the better tracks even with some of the other elements taken out of it,” Osborne said.
High Point’s hallmark has always been its valleys and constant elevation changes. This year, more jumps and hills were added to increase the level of difficulty, but the riders preference between the old and new tracks still remains to be seen.