One year ago, the leaders of the 250cc class in both America and Europe were rather different than they are now. Here in the States it was Trey Canard and Christophe Pourcel battling for the title, while Frenchman Marvin Musquin motored off with the MX2 FIM World Championship—his second in a row. Now all three of those guys are having forgettable summers. Canard—the AMA Motocross Champion in the class—and Musquin were both knocked out by injuries. Pourcel, on the other hand, has become something of a hot potato—difficult to handle. After sitting out SX and then catching on briefly with MotoConcepts Yamaha for two terrible outings, he's back in Europe racing for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, though he did not score any points in his “warm-up” ride this weekend.
Baggett has proven to be a title contender in just his second year in the 250 class.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson
Now that Musquin is in America, his teammate and rival Ken Roczen has stepped up to lead the MX2 class over there. Kenny won again yesterday at his home GP in Germany, and he appears set to keep stretching away from his own teammate, young Jeffrey Herlings, as he seeks to become the first German since Paul Friedrichs to win a world title. Then he's coming to America, where he will take on someone who wasn't really on the radar last year....
When Racer X Online posted our poll to ask our readers who would win Hangtown, we listed ten choices. None of them was Blake Baggett. Big mistake. Baggett blew everyone's minds at Hangtown, including his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammates Dean Wilson and Tyla Rattray, two guys who won multiple nationals last year against Canard and Pourcel. Baggett has won four of six rounds to date, yet Wilson leads the points because of BB’s bad rounds.
How fast is Baggett compared to Roczen on a motocross track? That's a great question for bench racers, and right now it's hard to tell. But having been to two GPs and five of the six nationals so far, my nod would go to Baggett right now—but it would be very close. It might even depend on the individual track.
We will likely know more in September. That's when Roczen will no doubt be Germany's entry in the MX2 class at the Motocross of Nations, and Baggett is looking like our man on the 250. It should be a great race, on a great track at St.-Jean-d'Angely. It will also likely be the first outdoor preview of what is sure to be a battle for the 2012 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship!
Roczen has been unstoppable across the pond.
Photo: Ray Archer