An influx of talking points emerged at the seventh Lucas Oil Pro Motocross round, Southwick, and the three 450MX podium finishers were at the centre of some of those. Eli Tomac has rebounded and now has control over the premier division again, Blake Baggett is battling a difficult thumb injury and Dean Wilson climbed onto the 450MX podium for the first time in his career. All of that was covered in the post-race press conference.
Question for Eli Tomac: Eli, what is it about this track that just seem to gel with?
Eli Tomac: “I guess it is just the sand. We only have one really good sand track a year and that is here at Southwick. You either love it or you hate it, so it is a track that I really enjoy riding. I don’t know what it is about the sand. It is like I’ve said before: You are either good in it or you are not. All around it was a good weekend."
Question for Blake Baggett: With the thumb injury that occurred last weekend, how did that effect you today and what did you have to do to minimise the damage on it?
Blake Baggett: “I think it was the best day that we could have had. Coming in not one hundred percent, I’m not a fan of this place by any means. We just salvaged it out. I rode the best that I could and had a solid weekend, so I’m happy with what I was able to come away with."
Question for Dean Wilson: Your first 450MX podium and an awesome ride today. How awesome does it feel to be up here, which is kind of where you feel that you belong?
Dean Wilson: “Yeah, it feels really good. It is pretty crazy to think that this is my first career podium. It has been six years since I have been at a press conference, so it is a great feeling. It is not really a track or race that I really like. I kind of mentally prepared myself coming in thinking that it was going to be a tough one for me. I think that maybe it helped me, as I had to tough it out on a very physically-demanding track. We ended up here, so it was a great weekend and I am just very happy."
Question for Eli Tomac (kindly answered by Dean Wilson): What has gelled for you over the last couple of weeks? Was it mistakes before or changes to the bike? What is happening?
Dean Wilson: “I felt like I was riding pretty well at the beginning of the season. I don’t know; I just struggled and at quite a few races my starts were not very good. This weekend I feel like my starts were actually pretty decent. I have just been consistent with my training and kept sticking to the script. It is nice to see that it is finally paying off, as I feel like my fitness was very good. My bike was handling really well too – it is just a combination of things.
“I know that Eli is on a different level, so I really do not try to compete too hard when he is behind me. I just kind of let him have it and see if I can learn anything off of him, as I am just not at that pace yet. It is just a building process for me."
Question for Eli Tomac: Millville is another strong track for you. Is this weekend off something that you are looking forward to or would you just rather stay in the swing of things at this point?
Eli Tomac: “I think that, at this point, we are in a good spot. We are in a good spot in the points and are not searching for anything on the motorcycle, so I am content. I don’t really mind the weekend off. Everyone will rest up a little bit and come back fresh. I think we have more good tracks coming at us."
Question for Blake Baggett: I know you are really thankful for the weekend off that is coming up. What are your plans to try and get your thumb better during that weekend?
Blake Baggett: “I am excited for the weekend off, for sure, but Monday I have an MRI. With everything that we have done so far, it seems that the ligament is torn on the thumb. Worst-case scenario would be to go in and get it fixed, then hopefully two weeks would be enough to come out swinging. I would like to get up there, put on good races and battle with Eli. Today that was just not going to happen. He was on another level and I just didn’t feel that great."
Question for Dean Wilson: You won the 250MX championship back in 2011. Since then there have obviously been a lot of injuries and everything like that, but what is it about this team in general that has made you excel in the past six months?
Dean Wilson: “I really have to give a big thank you to the whole team. My mechanic, Mo Head, puts in a lot of time to get my bike dialled and Bobby Hewitt for just giving me the opportunity. He [Bobby Hewitt] helped me when I had nothing and was just pitting out of the back of the van. I saw a side of the sport that you don’t really want to be in. From there on I have just been on the team. We just gelled really well and they let me be me, work hard and have fun. I have to have a good balance. I’m just having a lot of fun with my training and riding.
“There was a time where I did not know if I was going to continue this, as it was a really big struggle for a few years. You would work hard and then get knocked down, then work hard and get knocked back down again. Not getting picked up by any teams at the start of the season was tough, but the team giving me this opportunity has brought me back on my feet. I’m in a really good place in my life right now and I’m really happy."
Question for Eli Tomac: They trucked in a lot of sand this year to make the track more strenuous for the riders. Did you feel that it was different this year?
Eli Tomac: “It was not a whole lot different. I don’t know when they brought it in, but it still had that base and was ‘the normal’ – that is what I would call it. No, it was not a whole lot different."
Question for Blake Baggett: With that thumb, did you ride at all during the week or was press day your first day on the bike?
Blake Baggett: “At press day I did a few laps to test it out and basically see how we were going to tape it to try and make a fake brace. It is hard, because you have got to have the moto glove and feeling. We just had a few test runs on how we were going to tape it and that was it."
Interview: Press Conference | Lead Image: Husqvarna/Simon Cudby