Blake Baggett fought hard in both motos at Lake Elsinore and his 1-2 finish was enough to secure the 2012 title.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett secured a vital moto win in 250 Moto 1 at the Red Bull Lake Elsinore National. He beat out Geico Honda riders Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia, who took second and third respectively. The brutal Southern California heat played a big part in the outcome of the race, testing riders’ fitness and conditioning levels.
Baggett battled back from outside the top three to contend with Barcia, who took the front early on. After the opening laps, BB was right on Barcia’s rear tire and pushing hard to find the line to pass. Once the Kawasaki rider saw the opening though, he whipped his bike through a turn and never looked back. Tomac also battled through the pack, coming up from outside the top five. He and Barcia fought for second-place once Baggett got to the front, but Tomac prevailed and gave Baggett plenty of pressure in the minutes before the final two laps. Tomac closed a gap of over 6 seconds on BB in one lap and looked as if he’d find a way to the front, but Baggett was able to keep the door closed. Tomac pushed hardest on Lap 10 of 14, putting up the best lap time of the day, but then on the following lap dropped five seconds and ran off track. Appearing to be affected by the scorching conditions, Tomac threw off his goggles entirely to finish the last laps.
Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin came off the start well and even led for a period, but he slipped back as pressure mounted and ended in fourth. Geico Honda’s Wil Hahn held to fifth and Musquin’s teammate Ken Roczen finished in sixth. Roczen staged a comeback as well, sitting outside the top 20 through the opening lap to make it within the top ten by the checkers. JDR’s Malcolm Stewart earned seventh followed by Rockstar Energy Racing’s Blake Wharton in eighth. Troy Lee Designs’ Jessy Nelson took ninth and Star Valli Motorsports’ Jeremy Martin rounded the top ten.
Blake Baggett (12) and Justin Barcia (20) in heated battle at Lake Elsinore where they both earned moto wins.
Baggett has a bit of breathing room heading into Moto 2 with a 17 point advantage ahead of Tomac, but he’ll have to post another good result to secure the 2012 title.
Barcia was able to hold the lead to the checkers in Moto 2, and went relatively unchecked for the majority of the contest. Baggett battled through the crowd to give the Honda rider a scare just before the finish, but was unable to get past and took second. Musquin held on to round out the podium.
Baggett was a beast on the track, cutting a 13 second gap on Barcia down to just over one in the final laps of the race. BB fought for position earlier as well, coming through the first lap in eighth place and clawing his way up the ranks. Musquin got by into second after Baggett went down, though the Kawasaki rider quickly remounted and gained the upper hand soon after. In the final lap, Baggett posted one of the fastest laps of the weekend in the class, a 2’39.190.
“I came out swinging today,” said Baggett. “I knew I would either go to the front, or it would all go down the drain. The first moto was crazy battling with Justin (Barcia) and Eli (Tomac). In the second moto, I got a horrible start and I don’t even know, I couldn’t even see. I just needed to get to the front and finish as good as I could, so I did. I really wanted to make a push at the end just to show that I was still giving it all I had.”
Hahn took fourth, followed by Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson in fifth. Stewart came across in sixth with Roczen logging another top-ten result in seventh.
Tomac had an extremely difficult time, crashing early on and falling to the back of the pack. In the fall, his visor broke and by the end of the moto had all but covered his face. In spite of the added complications, Tomac made it to 14th by the end.
Baggett’s performance secures his place at the top of the points list, making him the 2012 250 motocross champion. Barcia earned second overall after his strong performance, getting past Tomac who fell to third. Tomac mathematically tied with Roczen, but had more moto wins to his credit over the season and was given the advantage. Musquin rounded out the season in fifth.
250 podium with Blake Baggett (center) in first, Justin Barcia (left) in second and Marvin Musquin (right) in third.
Lake Elsinore 250 Motocross Results 2012:
1. Blake Baggett (Kawasaki) 1-2
2. Justin Barcia (Honda) 3-1
3. Marvin Musquin (KTM) 4-3
4. Wil Hahn (Honda) 5-4
5. Malcolm Stewart (KTM) 7-6
6. Ken Roczen (KTM) 6-7
7. Eli Tomac (Honda) 2-14
8. Blake Wharton (Suzuki) 8-8
9. Jeremy Martin (Yamaha) 10-10
10. Jessy Nelson (Honda) 9-13
11. Kyle Cunningham (Yamaha) 14-9
12. Jason Anderson (Suzuki) 31-5
13. Justin Bogle (Honda) 15-11
14. Travis Baker (Honda) 11-15
15. Dilan Epstein (Kawasaki) 17-12
250 Motocross Championship Points:
1. Blake Baggett, 519
2. Justin Barcia, 499
3. Eli Tomac, 487
4. Ken Roczen, 487
5. Marvin Musquin, 406
6. Wil Hahn, 316
7. Blake Wharton, 265
8. Jason Anderson, 238
9. Jessy Nelson, 225
10. Travis Baker, 193