We all knew the heat was coming for the second consecutive year at the Independence Day round of the summer series. Thankfully, by the grace of God, this year the riders heeded the tragic cautionary reminder of Josh Lichtle’s passing last year at his home race. This year was every bit as hot as last year and apparently or simply coincidentally, Josh’s passing was lethal reminder of how important hydration is as a key to survival in those conditions.
It was great to see the many forms of support for Josh at the race. From the moment of silence for both Josh and BBMX’s Nick Hoffman, the many riders sporting the 811, including Nico Izzi’s parade lap with Josh’s jersey on and a pit setup geared toward Josh’s memory.
It’s kind of funny the way things shape our perspective on things. Last year following the tragedy at Red Bud, all the bench racing discussion was focused on how unsafe racing was in those conditions and the fans were speculating on what to change in order to make the racing safer when the heat becomes dire. This year, with no rider heat issues coming to fruition, there is nary a word on changing anything about the event even though the heat mimicked 2011’s.
Even though we’ve seen the “Blake Baggett Show” on multiple occasions this year, everytime he “flicks the switch” it is just as impressive as the first. It’s uncanny. Indescribable. Unanswerable. When the gate fell on both motos and Barcia forged to the front early and built pretty respectable leads, it was all for naught as it was glaringly obvious that Blake was blistering the track and unquestionably faster than Justin. At this point I’m bewildered by him. Freon in the handlebars? How about helium in the frame and tires, a nitrous system, 350 Chevy, stuck throttle, 15 shots of 5 Hour Energy (Extra Strength) and a clinically certifiable case of insanity. The dude is effing GNARLY.
I wrote in my PMT look at the MX2 front-runners that Eli was the man amongst boys; that may be so but Bad Boy Baggett simply doesn’t care. He’s attacking every race like it’s his last day on a bike and he has nothing to lose. As impressive as RV was on a little bike in 2007, Blake trumps him.