Blake Baggett passes Jeremy Martin late to secure 250 Class Motocross overall win at Budds Creek

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With the second half of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship kicking off at Budds Creek, it once again came down to Blake Baggett and Jeremy Martin battling for the win in the 250 Class.

Jason Anderson took the victory in the opening 250 Class moto of the day, earning the first moto win of his career and joining Baggett, Martin and Cooper Webb as the only riders to win a moto this season. Martin and Baggett were hot on Anderson’s heels though as the riders crossed the checkered flag after the duo spent much of the race working their way up to second and third, respectively. Although neither rider could surpass Anderson by the end of the race, they both set themselves up in a strong position to take the overall win if they could grab the victory in Moto 2.

Watch the recap of 250 Moto 1:

In that second moto, Jeremy Martin cruised to the MotoSport.com Holeshot Award and seemed like he might just check out and pick up the win easily. Baggett was stuck in fourth place behind Christophe Pourcel and Anderson after the first lap and would have to overtake those two riders before challenging Martin. Pourcel in particular was difficult to pass, holding up Baggett for a good ten minutes before finally ceding second place to the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider. Martin was unable to take advantage of their battle and pull away out front, and as a result, Baggett steadily cut into his lead until he was right on Martin’s rear fender with about six minutes left on the countdown clock.

On the 12th lap of the moto, Baggett passed Martin on the inside and would take over the lead. Martin seemed to admit defeat after being passed and toned down his riding, ultimately finishing 15 seconds behind Baggett. On a day when many riders may have been worn down by the heat and humidity at Budds Creek, Baggett was in peak form.

Watch the recap of 250 Moto 2:

The pass for the lead not only gave Baggett the moto win, it also represented a six-point swing in the championship race that both secured Baggett the overall victory and allowed him to chip away at Martin’s points lead, albeit by a single point.

Baggett is now 27 points back of Martin, who still holds onto the red number plate signifying his championship lead. “Even if I [have to take] the red plate the last moto at Utah [the final round of the series], then that’s what we’re gonna do,” Baggett said after the victory. “We’re not going to stop fighting until then.”

Watch Baggett’s post-race interview:

The stage is being set for a showdown between Martin and Baggett over the final five rounds. Things should be particularly interesting next week when the series heads to Spring Creek, a track that is quite literally Jeremy Martin’s home track – his parents own the facility, and he grew up riding it.

Budds Creek 250 Class Overall Results
1. Blake Baggett (3-1)
2. Jeremy Martin (2-2)
3. Jason Anderson (1-7)
4. Christophe Pourcel (6-3)
5. Cooper Webb (5-4)
6. Justin Bogle (4-5)
7. Justin Hill (13-6)
8. Cole Seely (10-9)
9. Anthony Rodriguez (9-10)
10. Marvin Musquin (8-14)
*Moto 1 and Moto 2 results in parenthesis

F1 2017 driver review: Carlos Sainz Jr.

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Carlos Sainz Jr.

Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 54
Championship Position: 9th

Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.

Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.

Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.

Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.

Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.

Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.

Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.