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July 21, 2014

Wilson Carries the Torch for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki with Top Five Effort at Spring Creek

CORONA, Calif., – The three-rider lineup at Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki entered the eighth round of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Spring Creek MX Park optimistic about their chances at a memorable afternoon. While Dean Wilson, Blake Baggett and Justin Hill each showed tenacity and impressive speed, adversity struck the team in each moto and ultimately hindered an otherwise solid afternoon for the squad.
In his continued journey back to the forefront of the 250 Class, Wilson enjoyed one of his best outings since coming back from injury. The Scottish rider was in the hunt for an overall podium and ultimately finished with a season-best fifth-place result to carry the torch for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki.

Wilson Carries the Load
After missing six motos of competition, Wilson continues to make improvements towards the top of the 250 Class. The former series champion is racing himself back into top form and while his teammates endured heartbreak on Saturday afternoon, he ensured that Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s presence was felt in the lead pack.
Wilson began the afternoon with a solid sixth-place effort in qualifying and was able to slot into the top five out of the gate in Moto 1. He fought up to as high as third and then engaged in a thrilling battle for the podium that lasted the majority of the moto. In the end, Wilson settled for fifth and admitted he needed to fine-tune his pace in an effort to stay strong throughout the entire moto.
The veteran had his work cut out for him in Moto 2, starting ninth behind the bulk of his main rivals. Nevertheless, Wilson stayed true to his word regarding his endurance and methodically marched his way forward, surpassing several top contenders en route to another fifth-place result that solidified fifth overall and his most consistent outing to date.
“I feel like we could have really been in a spot to land on the podium had I gotten a better start in Moto 2, but this was a good, consistent effort all around and I feel we made a lot of progress today,” said Wilson. “It’s taking longer than I had hoped to get back up front, but my fitness and endurance are starting to come together and I think that will be important in battling with those guys up front. We’ll need to do a little more work on starts with the Kawasaki KX250F this week so I can make life a little easier and be where we know we belong.”
Wilson jumped three spots in the 250 Class standings thanks to his consistent afternoon. He now sits 12th, 21 points out of 11th.

Bad Break for Baggett
With a win the previous week, Baggett entered Spring Creek knowing he had the chance to continue to make up ground in the championship. He was the division’s most formidable contender and appeared to be on his way to added success in the final moto until misfortune struck and hampered yet another strong outing.
Baggett showed he was ready for battle by posting the third-fastest lap of practice. After contact in the first turn forced him to a start deep inside the top 20, Baggett never panicked and put on the kind of ride only he’s capable of. The former champion marched to the front of the field, passing 13 riders to move into the top five by Lap 10. During the closing stages of the moto, Baggett made another late push to finish fourth and put himself in contention for the overall.
The second moto start was much improved for Baggett, emerging inside the top three and positioning himself to take over the lead by Lap 2. By Lap 4, he was already in control of the moto and was beginning to open a huge gap on the field before going down. Despite dropping outside the top 10, Baggett re-entered the race and looked to fight to get those spots back, but damage to Kawasaki KX250F in the incident forced him to record a DNF, resulting in 13th overall (4-33).
“It sucks, but there’s really nothing more we can do than move on right now,” said Baggett. “We had another great day going and I can’t tell you enough how bad it feels knowing we’re coming away with no points in that moto. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us over the final month of the season, but I’ve said all along that we’re going to do what it takes to be in this [the championship] all the way down to the last moto. We’ll be back in a big way next weekend.”
Baggett currently sits third in the 250 Class standings. He faces a 13-point deficit to second and a 56-point gap to the leader.

Heartbreak for Hill
It had been a steady road to recovery for Hill since suffering a forearm injury at the fifth round of the championship at Tennessee. While he was forced to miss a moto there, Hill has continued to race through the issue and had made progress each week. While his results weren’t at the level he would have hoped, Hill was still a consistent top-10 competitor and looked to take a big step forward on Saturday, only to have his day sadly cut short.
A 13th-place start put Hill in the mix for a top 10 in the opening moto of the day. He passed three riders on Lap 1 to jump into 10th and continued to fight his way forward, picking up a couple more positions to climb as high as eighth. Unfortunately, the Oregon native began to feel discomfort in his forearm around Lap 5 and had to drop his pace dramatically. He fought to continue and earn points toward the championship, but he was forced to pull off at the halfway point of the moto and retired from competition for the remainder of the afternoon.
“I am just so bummed right now, but I have to be smart about this if I want to keep my season going,” said Hill. “I was having a really hard time holding on out there and at that point I knew it was a matter of time before I either pull off or risk hurting myself and others. I’m still not sure exactly what’s going on but it just didn’t feel right today. I’ll get checked out as soon as I get back home, but I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I’m on the line next weekend at my home race.”
Hill is currently 10th in the 250 Class standings, sitting 14 points out of ninth.

Looking Ahead >> Washougal National
The AMA Pro Motocross Championship makes its anticipated return to the West Coast on Saturday for the ninth round of the season from Washougal MX Park in the scenic Pacific Northwest. The annual visit to the Washington/Oregon border is a homecoming event for Hill, who hails from Yoncalla. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki boasts seven wins at the facility, with Baggett claiming the most recent triumph during the 2011 season.


Round 8: 
Spring Creek National –
250 Class Overall
 (Moto Results)

1. Jeremy Martin (1-2)
2. Marvin Musquin (2-4)
3. Cooper Webb (9-1)

5. Dean Wilson (5-5)
13. Blake Baggett (4-33)
38. Justin Hill (35-38)

250 Class 
(After Round 8 of 12)
1. Jeremy Martin – 341 
2. Cooper Webb – 298
3. Blake Baggett – 285 

10. Justin Hill – 150 
12. Dean Wilson – 115


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