Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Blake Baggett continued to show resilience in the face of adversity in Saturday night’s second round of the AMA/ FIM World Supercross Championship in Phoenix, Arizona.
Baggett overcame a hard fall in his Heat race, a tough gate-pick and getting caught-up in a first-turn log-jam that caused him to drop to the back of the pack. In spite of it all, he regained his bearings and used his powerful Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 to methodically make his way around a half-dozen riders by the chequered flag to end up 13th; second among the highly-touted rookies in the premier class.
“There’s definitely been a big learning curve,” admitted Baggett, who leaves Phoenix 13th in the standings, just five points from being inside the top-10. “In the Heat race I went down in the first turn. It was just a mistake I made.”
Baggett was not alone. The first turn at Phoenix funneled riders who had inside gate-picks slightly towards the middle of the track and it resulted in multiple crashes similar to Baggett’s, where the inside riders were pinched-off with nowhere to go. The first-turn crash put Baggett into a Semi and he said being forced to come through that race actually helped him.
“The Semi went decent,” he explained. “I ended up third. I worked my way up and started figuring out some lines and got a little bit better.”
At the start of the Main, Baggett started towards the outside. Again the funnel effect caused a major traffic jam in the first turn and Baggett got totally boxed-out and was left near the back of the pack. A few mistakes caused him to lose a few more positions and by lap four of the 20-lap final Baggett had fallen all the way back to 19th.
It was starting to look like a very tough night, but as he’d done at Anaheim 1, Baggett shook-off bad luck and errors and got to the task at hand. He steadily made passes the rest of the night, including on fellow rookies Cole Seely and Dean Wilson, and worked his way up to 13th at the finish.
After playing it smart and gradually getting his feet wet in his first two Supercross ‘Mains, Baggett indicated he might be looking for a bit more next weekend in Anaheim. “I definitely need to pull the trigger and make something happen,” he concluded.
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s next event is Anaheim II, the third round of 17-race AMA/ FIM World Supercross Championship this Saturday, January 17th, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
Phoenix 450 Supercross Results: 1. Eli Tomac (Honda) 2. Ken Roczen (RCH Suzuki), 3. Ryan Dungey (KTM), 4. Weston Peick (Yamaha), 5. Davi Millsaps (Kawasaki), 6. Jason Anderson (Husqvarna), 7. Andrew Short (KTM), 8. Trey Canard (Honda), 9. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki), 10. Chad Reed (Kawasaki).13. Blake Baggett (Yoshimura Suzuki).