A Tale of Two Seasons

A Tale of Two Seasons

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With the 450 National Championship already wrapped by Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, the focus of this weekend’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Finale at The Red Bull Elsinore National is the heated battle in the 250 Class. Blake Baggett holds a 14-point lead, but Eli Tomac, has been riding with the kind of intensity and unbridled aggression that sends spectators to the dentist to have their gaping jaws unlocked. Sound familiar? In the first part of the season, Blake Baggett logged those types of rides, and that, combined with new-found consistency, is what got him into the points lead in the first place.

But in the second half of this year, Baggett has not been the same, a scenario not unlike the second half of his 2011 season. To get some perspective, let’s dig into some stats.

Baggett 2011
Rounds 1-6 Rounds 7-11







Avg. moto finish
3.83
4.3







Points scored
244
183







Avg. points per moto
20.33
18.3







Overall wins
4
1







Moto wins

7
1







Points deficit after six rounds:

14
Points Deficit coming into the final round:
61


Baggett 2012
Rounds 1-6 Rounds 7-11







Avg. moto finish
1.92
3.2







Points scored
272
(6 races)

200
(5 races)








Avg. points per moto
22.67
20







Overall wins
3
1







Moto wins

6
3







Points lead after six rounds:

Led by
19
Points lead coming into the final round:
Leads by 14



Tomac 2012
Rounds 1-6 Rounds 7-11







Avg. moto finish
3.5
2.2







Points scored
236
(6 races)

222
(5 races)








Avg. points per moto
19.67
22.2







Overall wins
2
2







Moto wins

3
5







Points deficit after six rounds:

36
Points deficit coming into the final round:
14

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Baggett's average moto finish has risen from 1.9 to 3.2 in the second half of this season.
Cudby photo

For Baggett, the obvious difference between 2011 and 2012 is that he’s held the red plate all season long following Hangtown. Last year, even though he was dominating races, inconsistency on his off days had Dean Wilson leading the points, despite not winning an overall until the ninth round. While Baggett hasn’t been killing the competition in the last few weeks, the improvements he’s made this year in consistency, in both the first and second halves of the season, are undeniable. And surely, holding that points lead late has probably changed his strategy from all-out to points protection.

The only problem for Baggett is that Tomac, who has nothing to lose, is having a fantastic second half. Check out the average points per moto and average moto finish categories. Tomac’s first half bears almost identical numbers to Baggett’s second half, and Tomac’s second half is nearly the same as Baggett’s outstanding first half!

For even more insight, let’s take a look at some stats from the 2010 and 2011 championship winners.

Canard 2010
Rounds 1-6 Rounds 7-11








Avg. moto finish
5.25
2









Points scored
205
(6 rounds)

231
(5 rounds)










Avg. points per moto
17.08
23.1









Overall wins
1
4









Moto wins

1
7









Points deficit after six rounds:

55

Points deficit coming into the final round:
7



Wilson 2011
Rounds 1-6 Rounds 7-11








Avg. moto finish
2.5
1.8









Points scored
258
(6 rounds)

23
(5 rounds)










Avg. points per moto
21.5
23









Overall wins
0
2









Moto wins

3
6









Points lead after six rounds:

Led by
14

Points lead coming into the final round:
Led by
52









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Tomac has dropped his average finish from 3.5 to 2.2.
Cudby photo

In 2010, Canard was able to overcome a 55-point deficit to win the title, although he did have a little help when Christophe Pourcel crashed out in the first moto at the final race of the year at The Pala National. But you can see a massive difference in Canard's riding from the first half and the second, which is what got him into contention in the first place.

Last year, Wilson rode consistently well the whole year, and when the second half came, he upshifted, had his lightning greased and put the championship on ice with one round to spare. And the stats above don't even reflect him going 1-1 again at last year's finale.

As you can see, the rider who has surged in the second half of the season is the rider who has taken home the championship for the last two years. Will Baggett break this emerging trend, or will GEICO Powersports Honda make 2012 a year completely void of championships for Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki?

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