In the second 450 moto at the RedBud 2 National, Blake Baggett took his first moto win of the 2020 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. The Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-WPS-KTM rider finished 6-1 for second overall to earn his first overall podium since the 2018 Thunder Valley National. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne finished 4-2 for third overall as he maintains a 28-point lead over Marvin Musquin (3-4 for fourth overall) in the 450 points standings. After the race, Baggett and Musquin joined the media for the post-race press conference, which was hosted by Casey Huntley, representing MX Sports Pro Racing.
Racer X: Blake, congratulations. Is that a big monkey off your back, or does that actually create more pressure going into Millville?
Blake Baggett: I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I’ve won. In the past I was able to win races and win overalls and stuff, but it’s been quite a few rough goes at it. I had some slight signs of brilliance. It feels good to get the little devil off my shoulder and be able to get the job done. I had some gifts handed to me with those guys falling over, so I didn’t have to necessarily pass them. It was pretty tough to pass. All in all, I’ll take it. Winning a moto and second place overall, I’ll take that all day and run home with it.
Blake, how did you feel with the double header?
Yeah. I kind of liked it. We were there for a little bit longer than it felt like. Once we were there I was like, we’re kind of here for a while, five days. I think it worked. I think the weather was awesome. We had a little bit of rain but it made the track perfect. It was pouring when I left this morning [Tuesday]. I think we dodged it and got perfect weather. What else could you ask for? It was RedBud, good weather, two awesome events. You just fly in, you race, you hang out for two days, you race again. So I didn’t mind it at all.
There were some fans there but not a lot—just the amateur racers could watch. So Blake, how different was it? Or did it not feel that different? I don’t know how much the fans affect you guys.
It probably affects Adam [Cianciarulo] a lot more than me! He’s a people person! So I didn’t even notice there was no fans. [Laughs] No, I did notice it. For me, I was just trying to go out there and go as fast as I can. So for me, I didn’t care if there was martians or aliens on the side of the track.
Zach, third overall on the day. Another consistent day, getting some solid points. I know you mentioned not having quite the same energy as on Friday, but you did manage to extend your lead by a couple additional points. How was that two-day format for you?
Zach Osborne: I feel good going into the final stretch. The two days were a little tougher than I anticipated. For Monday I just felt really kind of off in the first moto with some serious arm pump. Then the second moto it was a little bit better, but I was just a little bit flat. Looking forward to some downtime and getting back going here after a couple weeks and finishing this thing off.
Zach, there’s a question I was thinking this weekend and just wondering. If you win this title, do you think you might go back to the GP’s and try to run against those guys at some point?
No. I’m way too old for another transition back to the other side of the pond. So no, I don’t think that’s in the cards, unless there’s something I don’t know about it as far as from the team or something like that. But no, I don’t think so.
I wasn’t thinking full-time. I was just watching the GP this weekend and watching you, and I’m like, I wonder if Zach has an itch to maybe see what he’s like against those guys at some point.
I used to have a big itch for it, just to go back and do a year or two of GP’s. But man, it’s so tough right now there. The level’s high. It’s high here too. But to go back there and take my whole family and transition back into living in Europe and all that would be tough. The one-off GP would be okay, but to do it full-time, no way.
Blake, where did this one come from? Sixth in the first moto, and then you literally just ran away with moto two. I think at lap 14 you were going old school Chupacabra two or three seconds faster than everybody late in the race. Where did that come from?
Baggett: I don’t know. [Grant] Langston said I just needed to pack it in my backpack more often. I made a small bike change before the second moto. It was something that I had ran before. Just one of those parts that you go back and forth and you’re not sure. Some days it feels like it’s better. Other days you’re not sure. So I made a call to switch before the second moto and it really helped with my corner speed and just driving out of the turns. I feel that when I was in the first moto that the front guys, Adam was out front and the guys behind him, it was just tough to get a good run on people out of the turns. I was losing a lot of time. Made a call for the second moto and things came together.
On the podium, you said you were kind of in a funk where you weren’t believing in yourself, basically. Did something happen this week?
I didn’t do anything different. I just got out there and then probably 13 or 14 minutes in stuff just started happening really slow motion, it felt like. Everything was slowing down. I just started clicking away.
Zach, as far as setup goes, I know a lot of you guys were choosing between the paddle tire and the intermediate tire. How do you guys go about that as far as weighing the different variables?
Osborne: For me, the paddle tire is something that I’m really familiar with and that I use really often. So if I even think that there’s a chance I can use it, I’m going to use it. RedBud’s probably 80 percent okay with it, and then 20 percent where you have to be careful, just a few jump faces. But for the most part, if there’s even a 60 percent chance I can run it, I’m going to give it a go.
We’re going into September, which we weren’t supposed to do this year. No one knew when we were going to be racing or not, so it’s not like you guys could take giant breaks. I’ll start with you, Blake. Does it feel like it’s starting to drag on, now that we’ve gone one whole weekend past where we’re supposed to go and we have a couple more weeks to go?
Baggett: No. I don’t think so. I think that the way the world is right now everything is so messed up and whatever it’s hard to tell even which direction you’re going in. It’s fine. I think that we’ve had enough time for everybody to regroup and come on strong for the end. Now with a little bit of the off time after supercross ended and now getting into outdoors, I think everybody is physically fine. I think maybe if they threw a Monster Cup in or something like, it would be pretty gnarly to try to get back on the supercross program. But if we got a little time off and then we start riding supercross and continue to roll right into Anaheim.
We actually saw some of the guys from Baker’s Factory rode at your place. I don’t know if you went and rode at theirs. Is that something different this year leading into the season?
Yeah. You’ve guys got spies everywhere. I try to hide. I’ve been practicing this social distancing for so long that this is normal to me. We rode together maybe a month and a half. Every day we rode, we rode together. We rode here, we rode there, we rode everywhere together. As I call it, I got to jump in with the reindeer games. I feel like I was a little bit of the black sheep or Rudolph to play with the reindeers, but it felt good to jump in. I think it was different for them, too. I think it just brought everybody to another level. I think that showed. Zach, Marv, Coop, everybody has been running good, even the Lites bike guys with RJ and everything. If you ride together I think it brings up the pace and things just kind of take place from there. You don’t even realize it but all of a sudden in two weeks everybody’s a half a second or a second faster than they were. You don’t want to have that guy beat you and then you got to go back and listen to him tell you that he beat you.
Musquin posted a photo of the Baker's Factory squad taking over Baggett's El Chupacabra Ranch.
Did you have some confidence coming in to the season? Did you feel like moto wins and things like that were going to happen? Did you need a few races to get that confidence?
No. I pretty much take the complete opposite approach of that, and not lead laps. That’s not really my style. That’s more of a Zach and Adam style. So I don’t know. It’s just one of those things where when you haven’t done it for a while it’s like, I’ve went to so many races and I haven’t been able to get it done. I got one moto done last year, but the second moto I was like 17th. So it was one of those things where it was maybe a fluke. But today I had one of those moments where everything slowed down. When that started happening about the halfway point, it kind of started bringing my memories back to riding Lites bikes at RedBud with Deano and battling with everybody back in the day. Then all of a sudden just things started clicking. That was an awesome feeling. It’s one of those feelings where I can’t make it happen, but when it does it’s like, okay, here it goes. Things are going now. I’ve got it on a roll. But I had some gifts because there were some guys that crashed in front of me.
Yes but you did have to pass Zach. Can you describe the pass that you made? That was completely bizarre.
I think it was like the GEICO commercial where the guy’s got the dollar bill on the string line and he’s faking you with it, and he pulls it up and down. I kind of pulled one of those. I faked that I was going right but I went left! [Laughs] That doesn’t happen often. I’ve been riding with Zach, so we know each other now. I was going to go to the right and go to the outside, but when I jumped on the table top he gave a little look over the shoulder and I’m like, he’s never going to let me pull this one off. I know it. So that was a last-second decision.
Zach, can you describe that pass from Blake?
Osborne: Yeah. He read me like a book. Of course, I wasn’t going to let him just ride around the outside of me. I had been taking that outside quite a bit because I was basically just following Adam. Then whenever I got in the lead I was like, oh wow, now I’m going to have to make some lines of my own. I could hear him on the right side of that table top and as soon as he landed I was like, I’m just going to go outside. I know he’s already on my right. He must have slowed way, way down to pull back and then go left. I got buried up in that berm out there and he was gone.
Is the length of the season starting to feel different or wear on you at all?
No, not really. The hard part about this season was the three, eight-week training periods that we had time to do. Now that we’re racing, it’s not that bad and it’s manageable during the week. When you’re training at the end of that Salt Lake thing and there’s another eight weeks until the season, that’s not really positive. That’s when it was hard. I’ve had some good results, that makes things a lot easier and a lot more exciting to go riding during the week. So for me, it’s not that bad. Obviously Monday was not my best result, just because Friday was amazing. It’s more just managing it at this point, managing the fatigue.
You said this really would be pivotal, this double-header, to really set up the championship. Do you feel like you accomplished what you wanted at these two?
Yeah, for sure. That’s what I wanted to do, especially after losing so many points in that first Ironman moto and just really riding terrible, the worst that I have all season. It was nice to win on Friday and then to have a solid result yesterday was really good. It would have been nice to go 1-1 again of course, but also to take some more points and stretch it to second was really good for me.
Blake, I know a lot of the riders have said the track was very one-lined. Do you think that was how they ripped it? Or do you disagree with that? Do you think the track was fairly as fast as inside as the outside?
Baggett: I think I’m the wrong person to ask that! I think Zach and Adam know. I got too much heavy equipment around me. It’s everywhere. I’m way too picky on that. I think that when it starts out super muddy like that, and then of course when you’re going for qualifying times, everybody will take that same line because the mud is getting pushed out of it. It gets down to the hard base, and that’s the fastest line. I think everybody across both classes would agree. So when there’s not just a practice to just get grooves in and get everything kind of lined out, then it just gets that one line. It does make it difficult. The top tree turn, there was the inside line and then there was a middle muck line. I kept trying the middle the whole first moto and kept losing spots. Then the second moto I was able to make it work, but really I think everybody would agree that the inside was by far dominant all day. When I rode with Zach and we rode at Aldon’s or we rode here, we would spend the first 20 minutes of the day getting multiple lines going, and there’s ten of you guys. You can get them all going, and that’s kind of what we do. At the race when it’s a lap time battle, you’re going to go to the best line and try to murder it and hit it as fast as you can because it’s qualifying time. So I think it’s just the way that the schedule is laid out and the way the race format goes. It gets one-lined because of the way qualifying is set up.