BLAKE BAGGETT TAKES SERIES LEAD AS AUSSIE DEAN FERRIS IMPRESSES
Baggett and Tomac split moto wins, but Baggett takes the overall by a wide margin.
For the third time in four rounds, the red plate has changed hands.
Clearly having found his rhythm, Blake Baggett won a moto and the overall at High Point Raceway and will carry the 450 Class points lead into the next round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
It’s Baggett’s second consecutive overall win in the 450 Class. Prior to Thunder Valley, he had never won a moto or an overall in his 450MX career.
It wasn’t such a good day for the other title hopefuls. Although Eli Tomac got a moto win, he didn’t fare well in the first moto thanks to an early crash. And Marvin Musquin, who entered the day with the points lead, tore his meniscus two days ago and clearly was not 100% out on the track.
The 450MX title race is even tighter after the opening moto at High Point, as just one point now separates the top two riders heading into Moto 2.
Just when you think you’ve already seen it all this season, the racing at High Point started off with another curveball: a gate malfunction. With the 30-second card dropped and bike engines revved, everyone was set to go racing, but the gate failed to drop.
After a second false start, things finally got going on the third attempt, and Josh Grant narrowly took the holeshot over Blake Baggett, with Justin Bogle and Christian Craig among the riders close behind them. Eli Tomac quickly picked off a few riders to move into second, but then promptly went down and was shuffled to the back of the pack.
Meanwhile things didn’t go much better for Marvin Musquin. The 450MX points leader found himself 13th after the first lap.
When things shuffled out on the opening lap, the top three were Grant, Craig and Dean Ferris. Ferris, currently leading the MX1 point standings in the Australian Motocross Nationals, came to the U.S. solely to race High Point on his own dime. Despite having a ride with Red Bull KTM in 2014, Ferris ultimately never raced outdoors that summer, so this is his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross debut.
Ferris got around Craig for second on the second lap, leaving Craig to battle Baggett for third. Baggett would get the spot on Lap 4.
Up front, Ferris closed in on Grant and made some fierce challenges about eight minutes into the race. Ferris made an aggressive move that nearly resulted in the two riders coming together and ultimately emerged with the lead.
Baggett then went to work on Grant and made the pass at the 10-minute mark. That set up a battle between Ferris and Baggett for the top spot. With about 18 minutes left, a minor mistake from Ferris allowed Baggett — who was turning faster laps — to get by him and pull away with the lead.
Backing up the smack talk he put down on the PulpMX Show after his Thunder Valley win, Baggett went on to take the moto victory by 22 seconds.
Baggett’s moto win was his second consecutive one, ending a streak of five straight motos with different winners. If he replicates the result in Moto 2, he would become the first rider to win multiple 450 overalls this season.
Dean Ferris led a lap in Moto 1 en route to an impressive second-place finish. (Photo: Jeff Kardas / Racer X Online)
Behind Baggett, Ferris was able to hold off Grant for second place, giving the Aussie an incredible result to kick off his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross debut.
Bogle, who turned heads by winning a moto last week, was riding in fourth for awhile but came together with Jason Anderson, putting both riders on the ground. That allowed Cooper Webb and Broc Tickle to move into the top five. Tickle caught fire in the closing laps, passing Webb for fourth, but was unable to chase down Grant.
Anderson ended up passing Webb for fifth, leaving Webb to take sixth. Bogle — who was clearly frustrated with Anderson after their collision — finished seventh. The top ten was rounded out by Weston Peick, Dean Wilson and Cole Seely.
Before the midway point, the top two in points — Musquin and Tomac — found each other on the track. But due to the events of the opening lap, it was a battle for 16th place. Tomac easily got around Musquin, who seemed off his game all day amid rumors that he may not be fully healthy. Tomac worked his way up to 12th, while Musquin, who got lapped during the course of the race, settled for 16th.
Due to those subpar performances, Baggett has taken over the points lead for now. He’ll enter the second moto with a one-point edge over Musquin.
Craig had to pull off the track in the second half of the race and did not finish.
MOTO 1 RESULTS
1. Blake Baggett
2. Dean Ferris
3. Josh Grant
4. Broc Tickle
5. Jason Anderson
6. Cooper Webb
7. Justin Bogle
8. Weston Peick
9. Dean Wilson
10. Cole Seely
11. Fredrik Noren
12. Eli Tomac
13. Martin Davalos
14. Thomas Sipes
15. Dakota Alix
16. Marvin Musquin
17. John Short
18. Ronnie Stewart
19. Isaac Teasdale
20. Josh Mosiman
After an impressive fourth-place ride in Moto 1, Broc Tickle emerged with the holeshot, narrowly staying ahead of Jason Anderson. The two battled around the opening turns, with Eli Tomac lurking not far behind, until Anderson eventually made the pass.
The top three remained bunched together, with Tomac getting second place from Tickle and then charging at Anderson.
Meanwhile Blake Baggett and Marvin Musquin found themselves eighth and 10th after the opening lap.
Tomac stalked Anderson for several laps, and with 23:45 on the countdown clock, Anderson made a mistake in the ruts that allowed Tomac to pass by him on the inside. About three minutes later, Anderson dropped second place to Tickle.
Behind the top three (Tomac, Tickle, Anderson), Dean Wilson and Cooper Webb battled for fourth until Wilson tipped over and ceded the spot. Baggett was on a charge behind them though and soon passed Webb for fourth.
Next up for Baggett was the lead group. At the 12-minute mark, Baggett moved past both Anderson and Tickle in quick succession to move into second place. Anderson also retook a spot from Tickle soon after to move into the top three.
By the time Baggett made his move to get into second place, Tomac had amassed a lead of around nine seconds. At the time, Baggett was turning faster lap times than Tomac — on one lap, Baggett even outpaced him by a full three seconds — but eventually Baggett backed down, and Tomac went on to win comfortably. The final margin of victory in this moto was 20 seconds.
But Baggett’s second-place finish was enough to net him the overall victory for the day. He ended up winning the overall by a massive margin of 11 points over Anderson (5-3) and Tickle (4-4), who scored his first overall podium of the season.
That result helped push Baggett into the points lead, as he’ll now hold a eight-point lead over Musquin and an 11-point lead over Tomac entering Round 5. Anderson is also lurking just 26 points back of Baggett.
Even with his Moto 2 win, Tomac (12-1) finished just fourth overall. Cooper Webb (6-5) rounded out the top five.
Musquin worked his way up a solid sixth-place finish in Moto 2, but when paired with his 16th from Moto 1, the Red Bull KTM rider finished 11th overall and lost a total of 27 points to Baggett.
After his blistering ride in Moto 1, Australia’s Dean Ferris managed just 14th in Moto 2. That ended up placing him seventh overall in his lone Lucas Oil Pro Motocross race for the season. He’ll head back to the Australian Motocross Nationals, where he is the defending MX1 champion and current points leader.
The series resumes next Saturday at Muddy Creek.
MOTO 2 RESULTS
1. Eli Tomac
2. Blake Baggett
3. Jason Anderson
4. Broc Tickle
5. Cooper Webb
6. Marvin Musquin
7. Dean Wilson
8. Cole Seely
9. Justin Bogle
10. Martin Davalos
11. Josh Grant
12. Fredrik Noren
13. Dakota Alix
14. Dean Ferris
15. Thomas Sipes
16. John Short
17. Dakota Tedder
18. Ronnie Stewart
19. Brandon Scharer
20. Josh Mosiman
450 OVERALL RESULTS
1. Blake Baggett (1-2)
2. Jason Anderson (5-3)
3. Broc Tickle (4-4)
4. Eli Tomac (12-1)
5. Cooper Webb (6-5)
6. Josh Grant (3-11)
7. Dean Ferris (2-14)
8. Dean Wilson (9-7)
9. Justin Bogle (7-9)
10. Cole Seely (10-8)
11. Marvin Musquin (16-6)
12. Martin Davalos (13-10)
13. Fredrik Noren (11-12)
14. Dakota Alix (15-13)
15. Thomas Sipes (14-15)
16. Weston Peick (8-38)
17. John Short (17-16)
18. Ronnie Stewart (18-18)
19. Dakota Tedder (39-17)
20. Brandon Scharer (33-19)