Blake Baggett overcame incredibly unusual and challenging conditions in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross season finale at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday.
A crowd of 36,714 fans braved a day and night filled with heavy rains and witnessed Baggett race his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 to a strong fifth-place. The finish matched his best result of the year in the series and gave a boost to Baggett and the team as they prepare for the upcoming Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, which kicks off on May 21st in Sacramento, California, where Baggett is slated to be re-joined at Hangtown on the track by team-mate James Stewart.
Baggett kicked-off the day 11th in qualifying, but conditions were about to change dramatically: A couple of storms passed over the stadium, which not only included heavy rains and flash flooding, but also hail.
The Sam Boyd Stadium track turned to a mud bog, but Baggett didn’t let the conditions hamper him as he used the broad powerband of his Suzuki RM-Z450 to plough-through the deep mud and score victory in his semi to put him into the Main Event.
In the Main, Baggett got slightly hung-up in the gate at the start putting him well back in the pack. Yet, in spite of having to deal with fighting through the field getting mud-splattered the entire way, he made his way towards the front. He ran a steady and sure pace through some of the most difficult conditions of the season, which caused numerous riders to fall. In the end he crossed the line in fifth, matching his best finish of the series.
“It was a mudder, not the normal Vegas,” said Baggett. “It started out normal Vegas – dusty and hard-packed. Then the rain came down, stopped and then came down again. I got a terrible start, I mean like fourth from last to the first turn. Then I just dug deep and tried to keep it on two wheels. I made a few mistakes when I got behind some lappers who made some bad mistakes in the mud. I was able to get up to fourth place before Reed got me. I made a last-ditch effort on the last lap and was able to get back by him, but he just shoved it right in on me because he doubled a triple and there was nowhere for me to go, so fifth it is.”
The Yoshimura Suzuki squad now turns its attention to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, which begins with the historic Hangtown Classic near Sacramento on Saturday, May 21 and continues with a total of 12 rounds during the summer, concluding with the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Indiana, on August 27th.