Team Green recruit Blake Baggett makes his 2011 Supercross Lites debut on the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki KX 250 F this weekend in Houston.
After a one-year hiatus from the green motocross bikes, Baggett is back and ready to prove that he has the speed to win in the highly competitive AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Region class.
Now in his sophomore Supercross Lites year, Baggett talks to us about how this year is going to be different, the speed of the 2011 Kawasaki KX 250 F, and how he’s more prepared than ever to stand on the SX Lites podium.
Monster Energy Kawasaki: How has the transition been this year back to Kawasaki?
Blake Baggett: "It’s been really good to be back on a Kawasaki. That’s where I was my whole amateur career, from 60s all the way until I raced pro for the first time at the last three nationals in 2009. I really like the brand and the people that surround it.
"Being away from Kawasaki for a year was a little bit of a bummer, but it makes me really appreciate it when I was given the opportunity to come and race this year with Mitch and the Pro Circuit team."
Monster Energy Kawasaki: What have you liked most about the Kawasaki KX250F? It’s not only a brand new bike to you, but to the team with the Fuel Injection and the Separate Function Fork.
Blake Baggett: "I had never ridden a 250F with an EFI on it. It was definitely a change for the better. No matter where you are at, your bike is running amazing. You can really do a lot with it and we are still learning how much we can do.
"The things that you can change may seem small, but it makes a big difference on the track. The forks are also new to me and I think it’s a big help. It’s really hard to explain it, but they are super smooth.
"I think it’s just easier to ride with them and ends up being less harsh on the body. They seem easy to work with since we got the set-up dialed pretty much right off the bat."
Monster Energy Kawasaki: Talking about just supercross, what are your goals for the season?
Blake Baggett: "I am feeling really confident. I have high expectations and know that I have the speed to win. I’ve done the hard work. I have the best trainer out there (Aldon Baker) and I’m on the best team.
"I’ve been trying to surround myself with good people, which makes a huge difference. The only thing I can do at this point is wait and see how everything turns out. Hopefully everything works out and I’ll have a championship."
Monster Energy Kawasaki: You talked about having the best trainer out there. How has this year been different compared to last year coming into the season? Do you feel more prepared?
Blake Baggett: "Well I definitely I feel better this year. Last year I hadn’t ridden much before the first race since I crashed two weeks before the start of the season. This year, not only have I been able to put in the laps on the track, I’ve got the confidence that I’ve put in the work before.
"It was a little tough at first making the transition over to the new way of doing things, but once you get into the groove, it becomes natural to you. I feel so much more prepared than last year.
"Physically and mentally, I am a lot stronger than I was last year. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if it pays off."
Monster Energy Kawasaki: Last year you were a rookie, now you have one year under your belt. How do the nerves compare going into the first race last year versus this year?
Blake Baggett: "Last year I didn’t really know what to expect. I felt a little blindfolded. I had done three outdoor races and that helped to open my eyes a little bit. I learned that everyone was very serious and they don’t mess around at that level.
"I was definitely nervous at my first supercross. It took me a few races to get comfortable and I think I did okay for my first season. I did make some rookie mistakes, but I was also able to earn a win as well. That was a huge confidence booster for me.
"I know a lot of people said I got lucky at that race, but a few weeks later I got a second. I felt like I did what I needed to do to back up my win.
"It will be cool having the first race at Houston since that was the race I got second at last year. I think I’ll be nervous, but at least I’ll have some expectations to go into the first race with compared to last year I was completely new. I’m looking forward to it."