Open Mic: Southwick

Open Mic Southwick

July 10, 2017 12:10pm

Blake Baggett | Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-WPS KTM | 2-2 for second in 450MX

Racer X: We know your thumb hurt you today. How’d you deal with it?
Blake Baggett: Just taped it up, but it’s hard to tape it because if you tape it too much you lose the feel of your grip and everything, and you can’t move it. You need to be able to move it but also be able to brace it out. We’ll get an MRI done on Monday so we’ll know the complete damage. I don’t know if we did any more damage from racing this weekend or not, but we’ll be racing at Millville no matter what.

Is it a case where you’re holding on with your fingers more to compensate, or did you not notice it out there?
No, every bump, every drop off, and every valley, normally I probably jump further and launch things farther than anybody, but I tried to keep my wheels on the ground today, and just find smooth spots. With doing that, I couldn’t really ride like myself.

One good thing is your starts. It seems like you figured something out.
It’s been good. We got a few things figured out, it was very simple. I felt like everything else I was doing was good, we just needed one small change and now we’re up there every time. So that’s going to play a big part—hopefully something will happen in the championship and we can make up a lot of points. If we’re up front every time that’s going to better our chances.

Gotta piss you off though because I remember some great rides by you at this place. You’ve got to be frustrated when the #3 [Eli Tomac] goes by you and you’re kind of powerless.
Yeah, you don’t have much fight, but he’s beaten some of the best riders in the world here. It’s a long way from where he’s from, but I’d say this is his best track. It is what it is. Come away with a 2-2 and lose some points, but we’ll just try to keep getting good starts and capitalize on any mistakes that will come our way.

Marv’s [Marvin Musquin] out front second moto, are you just like “I’ve got to get by him because I know the #3 is coming.”
There must have been a bunch of French fans over there. He just made the hardest left I’ve ever seen, maybe he just wanted to go see those French fans! No, it’s a bummer to see him do that. I checked on him to see if he’s alright. That was a blessing in disguise for us, I don’t think I had the speed to run him down, it was going to have to play on endurance and survival. Bummer to see him go out like that, but it helped us today. I’ll take the 2-2. – Steve Matthes

Jeff Kardas

Adam Cianciarulo | Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki | 15-9 for 10th overall in 250MX

Racer X: There’s one track I would not want to fall I think twice on the first lap, one track in history – it’s Southwick. So, congrats on that. That started your day off awesome.
Adam Cianciarulo: I’m going to keep my tone upbeat in this interview, because I don’t want to be that depressing guy, but just know that I feel like drowning myself in a puddle right now.

One week after we talked about how you can’t get too up and down.
Exactly. I’m doing my best to stay in the middle right now, but it’s pretty difficult. A couple bad weekends for sure.

Your face is all jacked up.
Yeah, there’s a lot of things jacked up. First moto, my starts have been so bad. Seriously, if I was Mitch [Payton], I would make me race a 125 or something. I don't know. It’s been awful. But first moto was awful off the start, but I was maybe in 15th or something on the first lap and I just weeded it bad. Just face first into a bank over there before that Buckley turn, that little G-out there. Smacked my face pretty good. Was already way behind the leaders, and then my bike was destroyed, bent up. I went into the next corner and tipped over and got stuck under the bike. I didn’t catch anybody until three laps into the race, the last guy. I’m surprised I scored points, honestly. I thought they were going to pull me off because I wasn’t going to score points. But I got 15th. Second moto, locked bars with somebody right out of the gate. Came into the first corner and got stuck behind somebody crashed in front of me, so I was dead last. Came back to ninth.

In the first moto the only guy that was really ahead of you could see was probably your teammate Forkner.
Seriously, I couldn’t see anybody. I really couldn’t. So, second moto I got stuck behind that guy on the start and was last. Felt really good for like 20 minutes, but I used so much energy trying to pass everybody right away, because once they get spread out it’s over. Then just kind of rode it through. It’s one of those deals where could say “shoulda, coulda, woulda,” but I feel like these last couple weekends my fitness has felt better than it ever has before and it’s so frustrating because I haven’t been able to show it at all. I feel like if I would just get a start, even on my bad days I feel like I could be—let’s say I start sixth. I’m not going back to 10th. I’m going to get fifth, sixth, fourth, whatever. Not saying I’m going to run J-Mart [Jeremy Martin] or [Zach] Osborne down, but it’s just a shame. I’ve really been blowing it these past couple weekends.

You qualified fastest today. That was nice.
Yeah. Like I said, I felt good. I feel like what I’ve been doing during the week is what I need to be doing. It’s one of those deals—you can’t go into Monday, you can’t bring the weekend into the week and kind of drag the energy down. I’ve been doing everything I can. It’s just one of those little slumps that we’re in right now. Starts with getting off the gate. I feel like we could string together a few good races.

Can’t teach speed. Maybe you have it?
I’ve been saying that for a long time now, and obviously being hurt and then coming back and it’s the building thing. That’s kind of been the trend the last couple years, but I’m pretty over just waiting for it to happen. It’s time. I’m good enough. There’s definitely another level I can go to. You see it with somebody like Osborne or J-Mart where those are really the only guys that can….

But Osborne’s like 40.
It is what it is. But, you know what I mean. That’s still feasible on a 250F. You see another human being that can do it. That’s another level I have to get to. But I’m not where I was at these last couple weeks. That’s the frustrating part for me. It’s time for me to start executing every weekend. I’ve been doing it long enough now to where the mistakes, when they’re there, they should be either less or not as often. These last couple weekends it’s just mistake after mistake.

Let’s focus on the positive. I know from wrenching here and even racing here, by the way, hard track to pass. So where are you getting guys? What are you doing to get guys? Did you have a spot?
No, I think it’s just especially when those guys in the back, they’re always looking for the smooth line. If you watch Osborne or J-Mart or A-Mart [Alex Martin], [Dylan] Ferrandis, they don’t care if it’s smooth. They’re looking for the radius and to carry momentum. You look at [Jeffrey] Herlings, you watch a million videos of Herlings and he’d even say the same thing—everybody tries to find the smooth line, but I just take the shortest way around and go right through the rough stuff. Everybody out there is good and they all deserve respect. I didn’t pass a lot of factory guys today. It took me too long to get up there. There was a few guys I did in that second moto, but the other guys, it’s easier to kind of out-will them into a corner. Just kind of break them. I had to pass [Shane] McElrath in the second moto and you kind of just have to dive bomb him. You’ve just got to go for it. – Steve Matthes

Rich Shepherd

Fredrik Noren | TiLube Honda | 8-10 for eighth overall in 450MX

Racer X: I thought you couldn’t ride sand. You used to tell me how you can’t ride sand, but eighth overall today. Ran up front in the first moto and you even did it with some guy’s practice motor. Nice job.
Fredrik Noren: Yeah, thank you. I’ve always struggled a little bit with sand in the past. Last year coming here, I don't know, I just started riding better in sand. Actually I did some studying, like watching GoPro’s from some fast guys. I learned a lot from just seeing what they’re doing, hearing how they ride their motor and everything. I feel pretty comfortable in the sand right now. I wouldn’t say that I’m a bad sand rider. I still prefer dirt or a nice clay, good ruts, but I’m getting better. So, that’s a good thing. It’s been a hectic day, for sure. Crazy day.

Tell us what happened a little bit with your motor.
Well actually we can go back a little bit. We had Tristan Titus, a guy from Kentucky, he was bringing my bike here for me, my race bike from Muddy Creek. His turbo in his truck blew up, so he got here super late yesterday [Friday]. We couldn’t go through tech. So I had to move tech to this morning. So we thought, oh, man. That’s a whole thing. I have to go through tech at 7:00 in the morning and all of that. Then fourth lap we had a little bit of a bike issue. Chris Makuta, awesome guy over here in the privateer pits. He let me borrow his practice bike motor. So it was pretty cool. We took it out of his practice frame and put it in my frame so I could do the motos. I missed second practice. I only did like four laps of practice and then just straight into the motos. It was good. I had a really good start that first moto. I got the corner good. I was second. I wasn’t really necessarily riding super fast. I was just kind of just riding kind of stupid. Then I got passed by a bunch of guys. Then I kind of settled down a little bit. I finished eighth which was super good. I’m pumped on that. Then second moto I had a good start. Then I actually stalled the bike coming into the corner and then just tipped over. So, I was last, and then I was feeling really good. Adrian at Showa did some suspension stuff before that moto that was for sure a lot better. Found a good flow and could get up to 10th. It’s awesome. God’s got a plan for me and sometimes I can’t see where that’s going, but for sure blessed. All these great people behind me, it’s kind of amazing how this day ended up after how it started.

Your mechanic is the true hero of the day, that’s for sure.
Yeah, he’s been going nonstop since this morning, from starting with the practice pushing it up the hill … it’s been crazy, but everyone’s been helping out. Tyler’s done a great job today wrenching. Amy’s [Fredrik’s wife] done a great job, and the Mosiman’s for helping me take my bike to the rounds. Just all my sponsors and everyone. It’s really good. I’m pumped.

Let’s catch up to the season as a whole. We’re halfway through. You’re consistently the top sort of privateer guy every week. As a whole, have you been happy with your year?
Yeah. I feel like I’m starting to be where I need to be or where I should be with my results. Obviously I want to always be better than what I’m doing, but the first rounds have been good. I’ve been happy. I’ve been consistent, but I haven’t really been where I wanted to be as far as results go. So, it’s nice now mid-season that it’s starting to be a little bit better results. Being top 10 both motos today was really good, so I’m happy with that. I looked at the numbers and we’re actually having the best season so far as far as points go, even though I’m a little further down in the standings, as far as my points I’m having a good season. – Steve Matthes 

Rich Shepherd