The 2015 Daytona Supercross will be one that Blake Baggett long remembers. The reason is simple – Baggett scored his first career AMA/FIM Supercross podium with a third in the historic race at Daytona International Speedway aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing RM-Z450. It was his best result of the 2015 season. He was also the top finishing rookie in the race.
Baggett came into Daytona, one of the most prestigious motorcycle races in the world, with a bit of history behind him. He’d twice won the Daytona 250 East class. His relentless riding style suits the hybrid Supercross/Motocross style track perfectly. Baggett knew he had an opportunity to do well, but with his past success also came added pressure.
After finishing ninth in timed qualifying with a time of 1:06.379 on the rutted and sandy Ricky Carmichael-designed course, Baggett may have felt a bit of that pressure as he failed to qualify directly into the Main from his Heat race. However he bounced back quickly and put himself safely in the final by scoring second in his Semi.
Tension was sky high as riders lined up at the starting gate in front of packed grandstands along the Speedway’s tri-oval. Baggett negotiated the tricky first set of switchback turns at the start and emerged in fourth.
“I got a good start from the outside,” Baggett explained. “I was kind of in the middle of it and it was an eight-man, all-out brawl. I got passed by a few guys and then got back by when they made some mistakes. Mistakes were happening everywhere.”
He then got into an intense race mid-way through with Andrew Short, Weston Peick and Chad Reed. Baggett briefly dropped to fifth in the peak of the fight, but as the grueling race wore on other riders faltered and Baggett stayed rock steady. With five laps to go he got around Peick and moved into third. It was a tense closing set of laps, realizing he was in a position to score his first podium. Baggett powered through the extremely rutted track perfectly on his potent and agile No. 4 Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 and was able to bring it home in third.
“On lap 13 or 14 I was able to break away and was right there behind Tomac, Baggett said. “Tomac and I had a little train going and we gapped the guys behind us. I finished it out with a third and was definitely pumped.” The podium adds to Baggett’s legacy of success at the Daytona Supercross. “My goal was to come in here and get a podium,” Baggett explained to the media in the post-race press conference. “I really like this place and have had good luck here. I’ve got two wins a second and a fourth (in the 250 East class).
So to come in here and get a third in the premier class against the guys I looked up to and to battle with those guys definitely made it a solid night for me. I’m excited and I’ll build on that.”
Daytona 450 Supercross Results:
1. Ryan Dungey
2. Eli Tomac
3. Blake Baggett
4. Cole Seely
5. Chad Reed
6. Trey Canard
7. Jason Anderson
8. Weston Peick
9. Davi Millsaps
10. Broc Tickle
450 Supercross Standings after round 8:
1. Ryan Dungey, 224
2. Trey Canard, 184
3. Eli Tomac, 159
4. Ken Roczen, 156
5. Jason Anderson, 140
6. Chad Reed, 140
7. Cole Seely, 138
8. Blake Baggett, 135
9. Andrew Short, 109
10. Broc Tickle, 107