Yesterday was press day at the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship finale at Lake Elsinore Motosports Park. Normally they do not have a press conference during press day at the Nationals, but at the finale, they take the top three from each class and get their thoughts on the season and the Championship.
Since the 450 Championship is wrapped up, most of the focus this Saturday will be on the three riders battling for the Championship in the 250 class. Heading into the finale, Blake Baggett is protecting a fourteen-point lead over Eli Tomac and an eighteen-point lead over Justin Barcia. If Eli Tomac goes 1-1 on the day, a 4-3 score or better from Baggett will win him his first-ever AMA National Championship, but with all the pressure on the #12 and five riders that can win, anything can happen.
In my opinion, Baggett is a huge favorite coming into this finale and not just because he has the lead. The Lake Elsinore facility is only twenty-minutes from Baggett's home in California, and I think the track suits the kid perfectly. I know there's talk about the track being a man-made, supercross-style layout and more suited for the two GEICO Hondas chasing him, but I disagree. Baggett had an off 2012 SX season, but he has shown at Daytona the last two years that the SX/MX hybrid-type tracks suit him well. Baggett smashed the field at Daytona in 2011, and this year, he was clearly the fastest rider despite not being able to make a pass on Barcia.
I think there is no question that Baggett has been playing it smart over the last few weeks and will have the speed needed to lock it down on Saturday. So I'm going with Baggett—baring nothing unforeseen happens—to take his first-ever Championship. Will I be surprised if something unforeseen happens? Hell no! The finale for the Championship is the biggest pressure cooker in moto.
Check out Transworld Motocross' video from the press conference below.