A lot can change in two weeks. After the first two rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, Jeremy Martin was setting the 250 Class ablaze and looking untouchable. Two weeks later, Martin may still have the points lead, but Blake Baggett is suddenly the one on the attack.
Following his overall victory a week ago at Thunder Valley, which brought an end to Martin’s winning streak, Baggett kept on rolling Saturday at High Point. With a 1-1 sweep, he extended his moto win streak to three and his overall win streak to two.
Ten minutes into the first 250 Class moto of the day, Baggett found himself in a head-to-head battle for second place with Martin, who has been nearly impossible to pass all year to say the least. Not only did Baggett win the duel, he continued charging ahead and passed Justin Bogle for the lead less than two minutes later. Building up a ten-second advantage, Baggett went on to comfortably win the moto.
It was more of the same for the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider in the second moto of the day. Starting from outside the top-five, Baggett worked his way through the pack up to second place within the first five minutes, ultimately setting him up to challenge Christophe Pourcel for the lead. As they rounded a turn, Baggett went to the outside of Pourcel and tripled one of the jumps, sending him to the front of the field. Once again, Baggett checked out from there and ran up a 16-second margin of victory over the rest of his competitors.
At first, Martin seemed to welcome the challenge. “Baggett’s finally back now, and I’m excited about it,” he said on the podium after placing second behind Baggett in Moto 1. “I crossed the finish line smiling about it.”
While it may have been all smiles after that first moto, his demeanor shifted a bit after a sixth-place finish in Moto 2. At that point, Martin seemed anxious to enter the off-week and quickly put this result behind him. “The [last] two races are in the past, so it’s time to move forward,” he said, promising to get better before they take the track again in two weeks.
Martin’s 2-6 moto finishes were enough to put him second overall for the day behind Baggett, but it allowed the 2012 champion to trim 13 points off of Martin’s championship lead. With the momentum shifting, the stage is set for a huge showdown when the series resumes at Muddy Creek.
High Point 250 Class Overall Results
1. Blake Baggett (1-1)
2. Jeremy Martin (2-6)
3. Jason Anderson (7-2)
4. Justin Bogle (4-4)
5. Christophe Pourcel (6-3)
6. Cooper Webb (3-7)
7. Marvin Musquin (5-8)
8. Justin Hill (9-5)
9. Cole Seely (8-9)
10. Alex Martin (10-10) *Moto 1 and Moto 2 results in parenthesis
Watch Baggett’s pass on Pourcel from Moto 2:
Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series
More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.
Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.
“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.
“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”
This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.
“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.
“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”
This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.
“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”
At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.
“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”
Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.
“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”
Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.
“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.
“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”