Coming into High Point, many were wondering if Blake Baggett could keep the momentum going from Thunder Valley. Well, he had another good day in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania, going 1-2 for the overall and jumping up to the top of the championship standings by eight points over Marvin Musquin.
Jason Anderson grabbed his third podium in four rounds with 5-3 scores. He's happy with the podium finishes but is ready to get a win this season. Broc Tickle rode well to get his first podium of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season and is happy with the way his season has started out.
Here’s the post-race press conference, hosted by Jimmy Albertson.
Racer X: Just your general thoughts on the day, the track, and how everything developed.
Blake Baggett: The track was good. New layout. High Point is always good. Maybe a little muddy this morning, just they watered it and then with the rain coming in. But the track turned out really good for racing. It kind of was your typical High Point. Got decent starts and was able to get the moto win in the first moto and then just glided it in for second in the second moto, and claim the overall.
Jason Anderson: I thought the track was pretty good, especially for all the rain and how muddy it was in practice. The motos were pretty good. As for my riding and stuff like that, I’m kind of not bummed, but not pumped. The first moto I crashed two or three times, just going for it too much. Then second moto I was up there, but I feel like I made some changes to my bike that made me not really be able to run the pace. Also, it was freaking hot out there. You really had to be flowing with the track. I really didn’t have it going on. Got waxed again for the second weekend in a row, but I got a podium so that was cool. Really need to step up my game and try and bring it at Tennessee.
Broc, obviously your first time on the podium for a while. You had your injury last year after you had that good run of podium finishes. Now after getting over that wrist injury, back on the podium. Good to see you back up here. What are your general thoughts on the day?
Broc Tickle: I like the layout here. I feel like if it would have been dry and not so rutted it wouldn’t have been good for racing. It shaped up well. It was a little wet this morning, but it was a good day for me. I got not a really good start the first moto. Second moto I got the holeshot and hung in there with these guys for a little bit. It was hot out there the second moto. I knew if I was consistent and I could be strong till the end I knew that I would end up on the podium overall. It was overall good. Lakewood I struggled with the track so we made some changes this week and it felt really good going into that second moto when the track was really beat up.
Can you talk about how the track developed? Like you said, it started pretty muddy in the morning and then first moto and then obviously pretty rutty in the second.
Tickle: This morning, first practice was tough. We knew that the second practice was going to be faster because they just needed to get [the mud] blown off the track basically. It probably would have been really dry [for the motos] if it wasn’t too wet this morning. As the track developed, it developed a lot of lines. I felt like it made it for good racing. You could go to different places if you needed to and not follow. Overall it developed quickly and I think due to the heat it dried out quickly, too.
Baggett: Basically, the same thing. It was muddy in the morning and just a slop fest out there. You knew the second practice was going to be quicker. Thunder Valley was nice and muddy in the morning, but then it turned out good and had lots of ruts to choose. Sometimes when it gets muddy everybody just sticks in that main groove. It started to do that today. There was some other lines, but really the main line was a lot faster.
Anderson: Basically muddied and rough and rutted. Same.
Blake, I know you changed a lot of stuff the first few rounds. Is the evolution continuing? What areas have you been focusing on dialing in?
Baggett: Just comfort. Just trying to get it more comfortable. The more comfortable you are the faster you go. It’s just like the rental car you get. You get a hot rod rental car, it handles good, you’re driving it faster. Basically the same thing. Just getting more comfortable with it. I feel like we’ve got it basically where I need it to be to try and get the job done. Now it’s just left on me.
Jason, after the race you said you had a good day but kind of same situation in supercross where you were almost right there. Is that starting to frustrate you a little bit?
Anderson: No. Obviously, I want to win but still at the same time I’m having a good time and getting podiums. I want to be on top of the box, because that would be pretty cool. But at the same time I’m getting podiums and stuff, so I can’t really be too bummed. At the same time, I need to get it together a little bit and start racing these guys and make it a little harder on them. I want to be able to … I was leading, but I just was a little uncomfortable. We will bring it next weekend and try and not let them beat me again for sure.
Blake, what happened on the start of that second moto? I think you were fourth and then you kind of got shuffled back a little bit. Then right at the end you put in consecutive 1:55s and then cut it to eight seconds, and then it kind of went back. So, just take me through that.
Baggett: That second turn just the ruts were deep that it just caught the rut and went into neutral. I was just a sitting duck out there and just got ate up fast. I was going to make a charge for it and try to make a push for it and catch him [Tomac]. Then it went through my mind that I was coming up on the lappers really quick and you pretty much can’t trust where they’re going to go. So I just called it and sort of decided I was going to just ride it in and get a second and just take that on the day. On the days where I need to go, then send it. But today I felt was enough to just get it done.
Did you think about it championship-wise? Did that enter your head? Like, I need to back it down a little bit?
Baggett: Of course. I had a 1-2 going and I had enough room behind me that I kind of just slowed the pace down a little bit and wasn’t worth hanging it out there and having something weird happen or crashing or getting hung up with a lapper and having an injury. Handing the championship over is not ideal. I took the smarter option. I already had the overall, so I just let him have that one and it is what it is. There’s a lot of races to go.
Blake, I think it’s the first time you got the red plate on the 450. Was it a surprise to you to have that at the end of the day?
Baggett: Not really. I felt good this morning. The track was muddy, rutted. I’ve always been pretty good here. When I seen him [Tomac] laying on the ground the first lap of the first moto I kind of figured the day was going to go pretty good as long as I did what I needed to do and just executed the best I could.
How’s it feel to have the red plate on there?
Baggett: It doesn’t really add anything. It’s just a sticker background. The bottom line is at the end you can have that all the way to the last moto and lose the championship to a tie or one point. It doesn’t even matter what the background color is. It’s just for the fans out here. The goal is to try to go each weekend and get the most amount of points and win overalls.
Maybe the lapped riders will see you coming a little easier, too.
Baggett: They don’t see blue, I don’t think. The blue flag, they just don’t see it.
I’m one of those guys that don’t see blue. You’ve lapped me [Jimmy Albertson] many times in my career. Let’s talk about the race between you and Eli Tomac. In that second moto I heard you say after the podium that you just kind of settled for second to take the overall on the day. Do you think that was a confidence boost in Eli’s mind? Is that something you were worried about giving up?
Baggett: I don’t want to sound too cocky, but I was down two weekends ago in the first turn and made it to third, so that’s self-explanatory. If it’s going to go that way then you’ve got to have confidence and you’ve got to be a little bit cocky. That’s basically where the sport’s going. No, I don’t think I gave him any confidence by doing that. At the end of the day, I won the overall and got the points lead.
Broc, previously you said Glen Helen and Hangtown aren’t necessarily your tracks, but you did have some success this year. Did it help you as we move east where you’re more comfortable?
Tickle: For sure. I think throughout supercross I was building momentum all year. I had flashes of brilliance and my starts got better. Even in outdoors I felt like Hangtown went really well compared to last year. Last year I ended up getting two podiums in a row about mid-season before I got injured. Coming into outdoors I knew I was going to be a podium guy. I felt that was realistic and it was capable. For me, I focused on my starts and that’s what I’ve been focusing on and obviously the things I needed to do to feel comfortable, obviously bike changes. We went a different direction coming into Hangtown. I think it was a good direction but I think we were a little off and it took me a couple races to figure out what direction we need to go, and we did that with this two-week break. We changed some stuff on the bike.
Every time you’ve seemed to pick up momentum you’ve had a little setback. Has it been hard to kind of get back and get that momentum again?
Tickle: I think that’s kind of what I feed off of almost. It’s something that comes natural to me. Now that I'm up here I want to try to be here every weekend and try to just keep getting the starts and running up front and maybe be a little closer to these guys a little longer.
Broc, you had good starts last week too. Have you ever had four straight motos starting up front?
Tickle: If you go look on the PDF [series stats} I think my average start is sixth, so it might be better even after this race. I don’t know what my first moto was, but second moto holeshot. I‘ve been working on starts and it’s helping and paying off. It’s making it a lot easier on myself.
Blake, everybody leaving Colorado kind of was like Blake normally does good at Colorado. Obviously coming to Mount Morris, I feel like this is a track for you as well. There’s many races in this championship that you’ve dominated. Do you feel like these two tracks play favor to you, or does it just happen to be some tracks where you’re catching traction in the championship?
Baggett: I think I’m just catching traction. I’ve had some good years and had some bad years as well. I haven’t put it together every single year at these two tracks, but I feel comfortable right now. The bike is amazing. Now it’s just up to me to try and deliver.
Blake, did you learn anything form you dad on the motorcycle? I know he gave you some riding tips the last couple of weeks back at the ranch.
Baggett: I’ll have to put that on Instagram later, but it’s absolutely just pathetic. He somehow did a handstand over the handlebars going so slow and uphill. Spring foot pegs or something. It must have kicked him over the bars.