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Blake Baggett had high hopes for Anaheim

Blake Baggett looks back on his win in Glendale and details how Michael Byrne has been pivotal to his success, especially his performance in the whoops section of races.

It has been a season of surprises. A week after finishing 12th in the AMA Monster Energy Supercross race season opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., Blake Baggett took advantage of a mid-race restart in Glendale Ariz. and won his first career 450 event.

On Race Day Live, available as part of the NBC Sports Gold subscription, Baggett stood with Daniel Blair and Jim Holley and shared his high hopes for his second attempt at Anaheim. He had ample reason to be excited because of how the race at Glendale unfolded.

“Last weekend, it was a bummer about Malcom (Stewart) going down, but it was basically two 12-minute Mains plus or minus,” Baggett said on Race Day Live, referencing the race stoppage for an injury midway through the race. “It was a ‘Double Crown’.”

The second Anaheim race was the first of three Triple Crown format races this year. Riders run three separate Main events with the average finish deciding the overall winner. The Mains in Anaheim II were each 12 minutes plus one lap.

Winning under the three-main format is not only about charging hard for shorter periods of time than is typical in a feature race, but also about managing one’s physiology.

“It wasn’t really the heartrate coming down, it was how are you going to keep your heartrate up so that is wasn’t a few laps to get going again. … you already knew the lines and somebody was going to go right away so as soon as you crested that turn, you needed to pop that rhythm lane right away.”

Baggett never got a chance to bring his high hopes to fruition. He lost two laps in the first Main and finished 21st, which forced him to play catchup for the rest of the event.

And while this has been a season of surprises, it has also been a seesaw event for several riders. After running such strong race at Glendale, Baggett struggled through the three Mains finishing with a best result of 10th and an overall of 15th. His average finish of 8.75 is ninth best among fulltime riders.