Blake Baggett made his debut with Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki this past weekend in Houston, where he came back from a bad start to finish third at the East Lites Supercross series opener. The 18-year-old spent his entire amateur career racing Kawasaki's with the Team Green program and after spending his rookie season last year with Rockstar Energy Suzuki, the California rider is back on Kawasaki and in the hunt for the 2011 East Lites title.

How do you feel about the first race in Houston?It was okay, I guess. I got a horrible start but I was on the outside because I didn't have the best qualifying after getting ninth out of my heat. So I just put my head down and worked hard and ended up with a third. I just knew if I put my head down and tried to salvage championship points. I saw there was a pileup up ahead of me and it was Ryan Sipes and Blake Wharton that went down. That helped out, but that was just kind of how the track was, you didn't know what was going to happen. I proved I can run with the fastest guys, I was catching those guys even though I was in traffic. I had a bit of front brake problems but we will figure that out and come back in two weeks and get the win.How does it feel to be racing for Mitch Payton?Being on a team with Mitch is awesome. Mitch and the whole staff here is completely unbelievable, they'll do anything for you and the way they run their operation, the testing, how the shop is run, what else could you ask for? Most people know they're the best of the best.Sum up your season last year.Last year was pretty good, it was my first year as a rookie and I hadn't raced supercross yet, I just kind of came in without that many expectations and just wanted to finish good. I ended up getting a win in Dallas and I got a second in Houston. Just kind of a typical rookie year with rookie mistakes and I had a few highs & lows but I think we've worked that all out and should be at the top to contend for a title at the end of this year.Does the win you got last in Dallas give you a bit of momentum for this year?There's lots of people out here that have never got a win but it's definitely a boost of confidence and helps when you're down but there's no doubt in my mind that I can't do it tonight.

You have a new trainer this year. Tell us about that.My training routine, last year I had Nathan Ramsey as a trainer, but this year I switched things up. As of now Ramsey is the team manager for the JDR KTM team, so I worked out a deal with Aldon Baker. So there's me, Ryan Villopoto, Jake Weimer, and Tyla Rattray. All four of us are working with Aldon, he's pretty much the best of the best. If I'm on the best team I may as well fork it out and have the best trainer. I definitely think I'm a lot more prepared this year, physically & mentally I think it's showing right off the bat. . I've been staying with Ryan Villopoto at his house and it's a big help, too.How would you describe your style?I like to be as smooth as I can, but if people like to get rough, then I'm not scared to get rough back.Do you prefer the eastern tracks or the west coast tracks?Eastern track, they're kind of a little bit loose with some ruts, and I'd say ruts favor me a little. I have short legs and that helps a bit when the ruts are super deep, but it doesn't really matter, I grew up in California, and we ride pretty much concrete out there so it doesn't really matter to me.

 

 

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Shan Moore | Contributing Editor

Moore covers all facets of off-road racing for Cycle News – from AMA Supercross and Motocross to GNCC and National Hare Scrambles events.

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