Blake Baggett’s Back As Motocross Heads Into A Two-Weekend Break
Let’s just put it out there. It’s pretty safe to say that the 450 championship is Ryan Dungey’s. Unless something vastly unexpected happens over the next seven rounds, or more like five rounds (he’s expected to clinch pretty early), the 2012 450 championship is headed Dungey’s direction. After the commanding display at Budds Creek MX Park over Father’s Day weekend, there’s no question that Dungey is ready to repeat his 2010 effort.
Despite his dominating 43-second gap over second place in Moto 1 and 33-seconds in Moto 2, there were some decent rides going on behind him. The Budds Creek spectators got to see 450 rookie Broc Tickle’s best ride of the season, finishing second in both motos. Tickle has shown his outdoor speed before with a third place finish during the second moto at Thunder Valley, but had been marred by mechanical issues that took him out of overall contention. With the next race in his home state, we’ll see if he can back up his finish in front of friends and family.
The two riders finishing behind Dungey and Tickle currently hold the second and third spots in the points standings. Mike Alessi grabbed his signature holeshot in the second moto and finished the day third overall. His consistency over the first five races has put him in the position of current runner-up to Dungey in the championships standings. While Alessi was grabbing the holeshot in Moto 2, Weimer seemed to get a slow start. He would eventually make a last turn pass for fourth in the moto over Josh Grant, but didn’t make his normal charge. What was unseen at the time was that Weimer was coughing up blood after taking a hit to the chest from a rock on the opening lap. He was checked out okay with just a contusion, but he’s just proof how hard core these riders really are.
While the 450 moto saw a clear winner, the 250 class was putting on a show for the spectators in Maryland. After a brief drought following his win at the opening round, Blake Baggett earned his second win of the season at a track that is normally not on Baggett’s favorites list. During his rookie season in 2010, he severely broke his arm at Budds Creek, and last year he finished a disappointing seventh. But this year was different. He came through the pack in the first moto to finish just 1.5 seconds behind moto-winner Justin Barcia, while he was able to shave off seconds each lap to get by Ken Roczen with four laps to go in Moto 2. It was Baggett’s day and now he heads into the two-weekend break with a 13-point advantage.
Roczen was the rider that led the most laps in the 250 class at Budds Creek, but once again it didn't lead him to victory. In his first year competing in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, Roczen has led the second most laps this season - just one lap less than Barcia - but hasn’t been able to finish what he’s started at so many races. Considering he’s the only rider in the top-four in points to not have a win so far this season, he’s still tied for third in the points. It’s only a matter of time before the World Champion rider puts together a winning ride.
Along with Roczen, Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac and Barcia are also keeping Baggett honest in his run for the title. It was a tough weekend for Tomac, but Barcia has been getting the starts and running a strong pace. Both riders are capable of winning, but Baggett seems to have a slight edge. The top-four riders have each made some sort of mistake so far this season that has kept them perfection and in the end, at the final moto of the season, the champion crowned will be the one with the fewest of them.