MXA INTERVIEW BLAKE BAGGETT
Blake is a trend-setter. Winning always looks good.
MXA: What are the toughest things about being a pro?
Blake: A big difference between pros and amateur guys, is that pros have to race week-in and week-out. That’s definitely one of the hardest things. When you are traveling you don’t want to get sick, and in the airplane there’s a lot of of germs. You can also get jet-lagged pretty easily, or have a rough flight. With the abuse of racing week-in and week-out you don’t have much time to recover. Your are still training during the week. You are trying to let your body recover from the last weekend while training for the coming weekend. It’s a very fine line, and not everyone can take the same steps during the week. Some people, who took the same steps, would be burnt out over the weekend and some would think that they have hardly done anything. Every rider is different and you have to find your niche. Then there are always unexpected things like crashes, where you’re bruised and beat-up, and you can’t do everything that you normally can. You have to be creative to get some training in. That would probably be the hardest part and the biggest difference between amateurs and pros.
What sets pros apart on the track and on the bike?
Basically, we’re still riding a motorcycle like everybody else. I guess we try to go as fast as possible and sometimes we go a little overboard and we crash. There is such a thing as going too fast. I guess I would have to say that we are just pushing the limits of how far you can go for a full 30 minutes, compared to a normal race that is only five or six laps. Fatigue comes into play. These guys are strong. There are some amateur kids who are just as big and strong, but AMA Pros have to hang on for 30 minutes.
“Every weekend is different and every race is different.”
Is it a conscious part of your strategy to turn it up at the halfway point of the moto?
That is just kind of how it has worked out. It’s really not planned; it’s just kind of how the races have played out every weekend, and it seems to be working so I am just sticking with that. If I have to I will wick it up at the beginning part or kind of cruise it at the end. I will do whatever I gotta do to do to win. It seems around the halfway point I start to find my niche, or whatever you want to call, it and turn it up.
Are there any other racing strategies that you have learned this season?
Not really, because every weekend is different and every race is different, so you can’t go by a set strategy. The main strategy is really just to get a decent start and see how it plays out. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. If someone thinks that he can pin it and pull away, everyone’s going to try to match that pace. Or at least everyone around him will. That’s when it comes down to self-confidence and knowing what you can do. Whoever is stronger will win.
Would you rather be in the lead right away, or be in second or third right behind the leaders and play the role of the hunter?
I don’t really know. That’s a tough question. Both are good, and both have advantages to them. Both also have disadvantages. If you have a good lead right off the bat, it’s good because nobody can really see your lines. But, if you are in the lead and they are right on you, they can see every line you are taking and that’s a downside. You have to play that one out. It’s kind of good to get behind somebody and follow them, but you also have to have be able to go past them, and it gets kind of tough sometimes.
What is been your favorite moments on the track this season?
One of my favorite moments was at High Point. Being in the lead, pulling away, crashing, then getting back up and passing Tyla Rattray back was cool. I would say that was probably the highlight of my career. It was pretty cool. Hangtown was also pretty cool, to come from pretty far back and get to the lead in the second moto. It was pretty cool to know that I could do that. I was about 6 to 8 seconds down in that moto. In the first moto, I was about 12 seconds down on Eli Tomac.
What is your relationship with your teammates off and on the track?
On the track we are all going for the win. There is a bunch of money on the line at the end of the day, and that’s what we’re all shooting for. But, we’re all teammates and we are all cool with each other. I guess I would rather be fighting for it with a teammate than what somebody else because I know what my teammates are doing. They’re in the same truck and I can see what they’re doing, whereas with somebody else you’re not sure.
Blake’s at home in these rut/berms.
Is it an advantage being so close to other fast guys?
I’m really not sure if it’s an an advantage. Mentally, it might be a little bit of an advantage, but it might be worse for some people.
What experience do you have at Millville and some of the other upcoming tracks?
I raced there a few years ago as an amateur and it was pretty fun. I think Unadilla is pretty cool and I’m excited for that one as well as Millville. I haven’t raced Washougal in probably six or eight years. I think I was on 50s the last time I was there. That one will be kind of cool to come back to.
Do you feel like you learn tracks quickly, or do wish you had more time?
They give us plenty of time. In the laps that we have there is plenty of time to learn the tracks.
Thanks for the interview. Is there anyone you want to thank?
I have to say thanks to Pro Circuit, Monster, Kawasaki, Traxxis, Vans, Volcom and SoCal Super Trucks.
NEW PRODUCT RELEASE: FLY RACING’S ANDREW SHORT & TREY CANARD REPLICA HELMETS
FLY Racing is proud to introduce its new Andrew Short and Trey Canard Replica F2 Carbon and Kinetic Pro helmets. Now you can wear the same helmet graphic scheme as Andrew Short and Trey Canard with these replica helmets. Both riders worked directly with the FLY Racing design team to develop their replica graphics and were given full creative freedom to incorporate personal touches into the designs. Short and Canard will each race in their state-of-the-art F2 Carbon Replica helmets, which utilize aircraft grade woven carbon fiber and Kevlar composite materials and meet the toughest safety standards on the market. Andrew Short chose to debut his F2 Carbon Replica helmet at the Red Bed National over the July 4th weekend, and Trey Canard is slated to debut his helmet upon his return to the outdoor nationals. Both the Short and Canard Replica F2 Carbon helmets will be offered in three colorways and retail price ranges from $259.95-279.95. Both will be available at your FLY Racing dealer in mid-August.
In addition to the Andrew Short and Trey Canard F2 Carbon helmets, FLY Racing is also pleased to offer Andrew Short and Trey Canard replica graphic schemes in its new entry level Kinetic Pro helmets. The Kinetic Pro is DOT and ECE approved for the USA and features a poly alloy shell, plush embossed pattern liner, aluminum visor hardware, and an amazing $119.95 retail price. An entry-level helmet never looked so good! Kinetic Pro helmets will be available in mid July at a FLY Racing dealer near you.
TREY CANARD RETURNS TO MOTOCROSS
American Honda Racing’s Trey Canard will make his return to AMA Motocross racing this weekend at the Spring Creek Motocross National in Millville, MN. Canard returns to racing aboard his factory Honda?prepared CRF450R, having recovered from the leg injury that he sustained earlier in the year while training for the Motocross season.
“Knowing that I’m only days away from racing again and to be racing my first-ever 450-class Motocross event feels awesome,” said Canard. “Since getting back on my bike and training for motos, everything has gone smoothly. I love riding the CRF450R and can’t wait to race it outdoors. I’ve been riding a lot at home in Oklahoma, and I’ve spent time in Southern California testing with the Honda team. I feel really good and the team has given me a lot of support. However, I expect it will take a little while to get up to full race speed.”
“We are excited to see what Trey can do at the remaining six rounds in the Motocross series,” said American Honda Racing Team Manager Erik Kehoe. “Trey has made a lot of progress in a short period of time since getting back on his bike. He’s an incredibly focused and determined racer, and I think that within a few races he will be mixing it up with the front-runners.”
NEW KID IN THE MX MIX: DALTON CARLSON
Dalton Carlson: Local wild card at Millville.
There’s a certain aura surrounding someone who is about to go pro. They are at the threshold of living the dream that every Tom, Dick and Harry who has thrown a leg over a bike can only imagine. Will he bust onto the scene, or will he burst into flames? It’s always fun to watch for the new guys, and Larson’s Cycle KTM rider Dalton Carlson (#297) from Minnesota will be making his professional debut at the Millville National this Saturday. Dalton will compete in the 250 class aboard his Dragon Fuel/AG Motorsports/KTM 250. We called up Dalton to get his story.
MXA: Tell us about your amateur career and getting to this point.
Dalton: As an amateur I had some up-and-down moments. It wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. I wouldn’t say it went how I wanted it to. But I feel like I’m ready for the pros. I have had a few podiums at Loretta’s.
Why debut at Millville?
It’s my hometown track and I feel really comfortable on it. I am from Dayton, Minnesota, which is two hours north of Millville. I feel like my fitness is there and that my riding ability is there. I know I’m in a pretty good spot right now so I am trying to make it happen.
What’s it like being a motocross racer in that part of the country?
I love it. Minnesota is my favorite place to ride out of every place I’ve been so far. During the summer it’s perfect weather most of the time. Sometimes it rains a little too much and sometimes not enough, but I think it has the best weather.
“The Daltonator” getting sideways.
Have you been able to pace yourself off some current pros?
I ride with the Martins every once in a while. They are obviously really fast, so I kind of have an idea. I rode with Killy Rusk a little bit. He is going to be my teammate. Riding with him and Jeremy and Alex Martin is all the gauging I have done so far. I’ll have to go out there and see where I’m at I guess
Are you going to do all the rest of the races?
Yes, I am going to do all of them, except Washougal.
Who is helping you out?
Jamie Slocum with Moto Cases. He has been helping me get everything together, and making sure I am on top of all of my stuff. Also Al Albiker of Dragon Racing Fuel/ AG Motorsports Racing Team. Dave with AXO. Mike Larson of Larson’s Cycles (here in Minnesota). He got me on KTM. EVS, Motorex and Gaerne Boots.
Do you have a target finishing position in mind for Millville?
I just want to do the best I can. I have a goal in my head, but I just want to be up towards the front and be close.
DUBYA USA JULY SPECIAL: UPGRADE TO D.I.D STX OR EXCEL A60 RIMS FOR $50
Dubya USA is now offering $100 back to customers who upgrade to D.I.D STX or Excel A60 rims in the month of July, and a free upgrade to red, white or blue spokes through July 8th
D.I.D STX and Excel A60 rims are the ultimate high performance rim upgrade, offering higher strength and lighter weight than stock. These offers are only available in the month of July, so order now!
The D.I.D STX rim is designed to stand up to the extremes of desert and enduro racing, where a rim’s durability can mean the difference between a win and a DNF. The STX rim utilizes D.I.D’s “7 Series” aluminum alloy to provide maximum strength while keeping weight to a minimum.
Excel A60 rims were developed with professional racer in mind, and offer a 15% increase in strength over the standard Takasago rim without any increase in weight. A60 rims also feature Excel’s new V-Curve profile, which is designed to combat mud buildup during those long motos to keep your bike as light as possible. These rims are the perfect solution for the motocross/Supercross racer looking for improved durability while shaving as many precious ounces as possible from their machine. For more information on Dubya sales and specials, check out their website at www.dubyausa.com.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN ROAD TRIP 2011:RIDE WITH MALCOLM SMITH AND J.N. ROBERTS
There’s only one Malcolm Smith.
Join motorcycling legends Malcolm Smith and JN Roberts for the ride of a lifetime August 24-29, 2011 and help celebrate their 70th birthday in the exclusive setting of JN’s backyard. Set on JN Roberts’ 1,400-acre ranch in Montana, the event is limited to the first 30 riders, and the proceeds go to a truly worthy cause. The Malcolm Smith Motorsports Foundation (www.racingforlife.org) has organized this epic event to raise $30,000 to benefit the Malcolm Smith Motorsports Foundation and the El Oasis Orphanage, located in Valle de Trinidad, Baja California. This six-day trip is open to anyone who loves to ride dirt bikes and would love to celebrate Malcolm’ and JN’s birthday with them. Experience the thrill of a lifetime riding with JN Roberts and Malcolm Smith for several days in the Rocky Mountains.
This is the second annual “Rocky Mountain Road Trip” the event will be held at J.N.’s private ranch, located about 30 minutes from Helena, Montana. The ranch features nearly 20 miles of single-track riding through beautiful Rocky Mountain forest. Like last year the riders will also join Malcolm and JN on the Saturday ride in the nearby Helena National Forest. After three exhilarating days of riding with the two legends, the caravan will return to Southern California on Monday, August 29.
J.N. Roberts?ready to ride.
Each rider will pay his or her own way, and will be asked to make a $1000 donation directly to the Malcolm Smith Motorsports Foundation. In return, riders receive a tax deduction receipt. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the education fund for the Hogar de Ninos El Oasis Children’s Orphanage, located in Valle de Trinidad, Baja California. The first student from the orphanage to graduate from college under Malcolm’ education program is Daniella Hernandez, 22. She graduated this spring from Navojoa University earning her teaching credentials, with a minor in psychology. Navajoa University is located in Navajoa, Sonora, Mexico.
NEW PRODUCT RELEASE: KENDON 20TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED-EDITION DUAL-RAIL MOTORCYCLE TRAILER
Kendon Industries, Inc., the originator of Stand-Up motorcycle trailers and innovative motorcycle lifts, has taken the wraps off its 20th Anniversary Dual Rail Motorcycle Trailer. The latest evolution in the patented product line, this limited edition version includes a show-stopping custom black/orange two-tone color scheme and loaded with accessories and upgrades that are not available on any standard model.
Accessories and upgrades incorporated into the Limited Edition 20th Anniversary model include:
* Limited Edition Orange & Black Custom two-process two-tone Paint Job
* New longer, wider, flat panel Deluxe Loading Ramp with guard rails and reinforced replaceable ramp hook
* LED Tail Light Kit
* Aluminum Wheels with Radial Tires
* Locking security lug nuts to deter wheel theft
* Crank Down Swivel Jack Stand with dolly wheel
* NEW Rear Section Lockdown Clamp – The trailer can now be used in the fully open position for any application.
* American Made Custom Fit heavy duty outdoor Dowco Trailer Cover
* Full Size Chrome Bias-Ply Spare Tire
* 8 Locking Ratchet Tie-Downs and 8 Soft-Ties
* 20th Anniversary Limited Edition Graphic
* Anti-bolt-cutter Coupler Lock
* Rollaway trailer wheel chocks
The accessory package delivers a total towing solution for the customer at a savings of more than $500.00, compared to being purchased separately. The 20th Anniversary Limited Edition Dual Motorcycle Trailer is available now from Kendon dealers nationwide for $3,895.95 and is distributed exclusively by Tucker Rocky/Bikers Choice in the USA . More information about the 20th Anniversary Limited Edition trailer and standard Kendon Stand-Up motorcycle trailers and lifts can be found at www.KendonUSA.com or by calling 714-630-7144.
FMX RIDER LANCE COURY WINS THE SWATCH FREE4STYLE EVENT IN SWITZERLAND
“Matrix Concepts is proud of their California FMX Rider Lance Coury for taking home the win in Switzerland last weekend. Lance Coury executed three back flip combos perfectly, out of the five tricks. Young Lance Coury has come a long way and we can’t wait to see what he pulls off next.”
SPECTATOR’S GUIDE TO THE MILLVILLE NATIONAL
The track is built into a hillside with some great viewing ares. If you get in early and get a prime spot, you can see most of the race, but don’t forget to go by the Whoop Monster’s section.
Gate Hours: 6AM ? 10PM
Pro Practice & Qualifiers: 8:30AM
Opening Ceremonies: 12:30PM
Main Events: 1PM
Pro Pit Hours: 9AM ? Noon (tentative)
No checks are accepted at the track, Only Cash or Visa/Mastercard
Advanced Discount Tickets will be available June 1 ? July 16 at Bob’s Cycle Supply in St. Paul, Cycle City in Rochester, Fiesta Foods in Lake City and Plainview Powersports in Plainview.
Tickets also available at the gate the day of the event, no sell-outs!
Ticket Price (if you pay cash, you save a dollar)
Adult Tickets (Ages 12+)
Saturday Only: $36/$35
Kids Tickets (Ages 6-11, under 6 is Free Admission)
Saturday Only: $21/$20
Elite Parking Lot: Must purchase Top Dog VIP ticket
Comfort Zone Lot: Must purchase Comfort Zone VIP ticket
Premier Parking: $10 per car (Must pay Cash)
General Parking: Free
Overflow Parking: Free
Amateur Race Entry will be available online from June 11 – July 10, or at the June 19 race weekend.Post entry will be available at track during Pro Week, but will be subject to availability and there will be an added post entry fee per class. Registration for amateur practices will be done at the track only
Ryan Dungey and John Dowd will be interacting with the crowd on Friday night! Autographs with Dowd at 6 p.m., and then an exclusive interview with Dungey at 7 p.m. for the crowd by the voice of Spring Creek, Guy Ohland! This will all be at the Mazeppa Area Jaycees Beer Garden located at the entrance to the Pro Pits. Friday night there will be live music by PopRocks!
THE MOTOCROSS DES NATIONS AND TEAM USA
The Motocross des Nations will be held in France in 2011, Belgium in 2012 and Germany in 2013. As for the American team at the 2011 MXDN, the choices are simple (but Roger DeCoster will make the call within the next three weeks):
ITALY BANS FOUR-STROKES FOR RIDERS UNDER THE AGE OF 15
The number of two-stroke manufacturers expands way beyond the Japanese Big Four?as the TM 125MX proves.
According to the FIM, the Italian federation banned kids from riding four-strokes in competition until after their 15th birthday. FIM head guru Wolfgang Srb welcomed the Italian move and said, “This is great news. We must keep down the cost at entry level to our sport and many fathers can work on a two-stroke but not on a four-stroke. We at the FIM set a signal when we restricted the World Junior Championship to two-strokes, and the UEM have introduced the wonderful 125 series. I am sure other federations will soon follow Italy’s lead.” France already has a rule that restricts teenagers in National competition to bikes of 125cc or less until their 16th birthday.
SUZUKI MOVES ITS FACILITIES IN JAPAN AWAY FROM THE TSUNAMI ZONE
Suzuki announced Monday that it will relocate its Japanese motorcycle business to land purchased in the Miyakoda Industrial Park in north central Hamamatsu. It will develop the tentatively-called Miyakoda Technical Center for development and engineering of motorcycles and next-generation environmental vehicles and the Miyakoda Plant for the assembly of motorcycle engines.
The motorcycle development and engineering departments are currently located in Iwata City. The assembly of motorcycles and possibly environmental vehicles, will be house in the Miyakoda Plant, which is expected to open in May 2017.
The move was prompted in part because the current Motorcycle Technical Center sits only 200 yards from the sea. As the company prepares for the anticipated Tokyo earthquake, it has decided to move the motorcycle business given lessons learned during the earthquake that rocked Japan in March 2011.
DUNGEY TO KTM? GOOD RUMOR, BUT WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO BECOME REALITY?
First and foremost, we are officially in the silly season?thus any farfetched idea is fair game. The DeCoster connection is what makes the Dungey to KTM rumor seem so plausible. And, it didn’t hurt when DeCoster confirmed at the KTM dealer meetings a few weeks ago that he was, indeed, interested in talking to Dungey about the 2012 season. Imagine a 2012 KTM team of Dungey, Musquin, Roczen and Short.
It is important that every rumor be scoffed at?but you can’t always poke holes in every aspect of every rumor. Here are some possible scenarios that would have to take place for Dungey to end up at KTM.
Dungey is the prize for 2012.
(1) Money: It would take one million dollars to get Ryan Dungey to KTM. That is a lot of scratch in a down economy, but guess who the economy is never down for? Yep, you got it. Energy drink companies. Any move that Team KTM makes will be financed by Red Bull. Would Red Bull want Dungey? Probably.
Roger DeCoster (right) with Chad Reed two years ago.
(2) Leaving Suzuki: Ken Roczen’s bike broke a couple times when he was at Suzuki…and paired to Roger DeCoster leaving Suzuki and going to KTM…Roczen left Suzuki and went to KTM. Does this sound familiar? Dungey can’t be happy that he lost the Supercross Championship because of a chain guide or that he is in a big hole in the 2011 AMA Nationals because his engine (a) ran out of gas, (b) boiled its gas or (c) just plain blew up and the gas was the cover story. Take your pick.
(3) Personalities: Not every rider likes the energy drink companies. Chad Reed is a classic example. He has experience with Monster and Rockstar and appears to be disinterested in attaching himself to either one in the future. Rumors abound about the nature of Rockstar’s relationship to Suzuki and vice versa. And without casting aspirations, maybe Dungey isn’t such a Rockstar fan either.
This is the fuel-injected 450EXC engine. It is six pounds lighter than the 450SXF engine. Dungey would never agree to race the 350XF.
(4) Bikes: KTM doesn’t have a factory 450 Supercross effort. Thus, any effort to sign Dungey to race for them would have the additional cost of producing a special run of 400 fuel-injected works bikes (assuming that the AMA even goes to the trouble to count bikes for the production rule anymore). KTM would need to homologate a bike that Dungey would be happy with. He would want fuel injection, not because the carbureted 450SXF is slow, but because his prime concern would be throttle response for the short run-up to the jumps. KTM doesn’t have to reach too far to achieve the 400 works bike level. They have a fuel-injected 450EXC engine that has the benefits of not only being fuel-injected, but six pounds lighter than the existing 450SXF engine. Although it is currently offered as an enduro engine, they could throw it into an SXF frame and only worry about getting it tuned for Dungey’s bike. On the weight front, Andrew Short’s 350SXF weighs 220 pounds (and could be lighter) and Alessi’s AMA National 450SXF is 228 pounds…throw in the lighter engine and you have a 222-pound 450 (with electric start).
Short’s 350SXF weighs 220 pounds. A special built Dungey 450SXF could weigh 222 pounds.
(5) Other offers: KTM isn’t operating in a vacuum, although when it comes to offroad bike sales they are (even the Big Four admit that KTM is the number one selling offroad brand). Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki all have a say in the offers that Dungey might get. Joe Gibbs could decide to up their game to a rider level that equals their performance level. Kawasaki is probably satisfied with their Ryan and don’t need a second one. Honda already has Chad Reed as a back-up plan for Trey Canard?could they afford three riders? Suzuki, if they don’t lose Makita and Rockstar, have the upper hand in that their budget already includes a big paycheck for Dungey…but will they keep Makita? We don’t think so. Will they keep Rockstar? That is in doubt. Without that outside money, Suzuki’s bidding power is greatly reduced.
(6) Change is hard: It might seem that changing from Suzuki to KTM would scare Dungey, but really he’d be going back to DeCoster (and a good portion of the Suzuki team he worked with in 2010). As for mechanic Mike Gosselaar, Goose’s track record seems to indicate is that he goes where his rider goes. If Dungey does go to KTM, the team will have to start on a 450 Supercross bike immediately. That means lots of hours at the test track with a Supercross rider of high caliber?since Dungey will not be free for three more months.
(7) Rumor control: You can’t control a rumor once it gets started…except by starting an even more outlandish rumor. Let’s try the rumor where James Stewart will switch to Suzuki if Dungey leaves. The only fly in this ointment is that Stewart has a firm 2012 contract with Yamaha (that pays him one million dollars a year). Stewart’s signature is on that contract. And, in case you’ve forgotten, Yamaha has a track record of suing riders who break their contracts with them…just ask Kevin Windham.