It must have been one of the most difficult days of Aldon Baker’s training career at Toronto.
Prior to the trip to Canada everything had been going almost perfectly for Baker’s trio of Ryan Villopoto, Ken Roczen and Adam Cianciarulo.
Villopoto had a 30 point lead in the championship. Roczen, the 450 rookie, had won two races and aside from two DNF’s would have been second in points, then you have the much hyped Adam Cianciarulo who was also delivering and winning the East Coast series by 17 points.
But in Toronto it all went wrong in a different way for every rider!
First off Ryan Villopoto had severe stomach cramps and ended up in hospital instead of the stadium for practice and qualifying. It was a race against time to see if he could make it back for the night show and keep his big points lead somewhat intact.
That would be enough to worry about if you are Aldon Baker, but then to compound that problem Adam Cianciarulo dislocated his shoulder in practice. Cianciarulo got the shoulder back in but was unable to go as fast in the second qualifying practice.
So at that point Baker had major problems with two of his guys and one isn’t even at the track! Meanwhile Roczen is doing well in practice and Baker has to try and split his time between the three and stay up to date with everyone including the latest on illness and injury plus make sure Roczen is doing well.
But as we transition to the night show things changed again.
Cianciarulo has his shoulder dislocate again in the whoops without even crashing, he got the shoulder put back in but clearly could no longer continue despite trying to.
Baker is going to be one of the key people in his corner offering advice and at his young age he needs think long term about his career. As it turns turns out Cianciarulo will go straight in for surgery showing that the team around him including Baker are more interested in the longevity of his career than the short term gain of a regional championship.
Then there was RV who turned out to be the shining light in a dark day and gutted out an impressive sixth place but again it will be up to Aldon to make sure he can recover after the race and be 100% for this weekend.
But now Baker also has a problem with Roczen. Ken had his worst ride of the year after falling from first to fifth and his reason was also worrying for a trainer who prides himself on having the fittest athletes.
Roczen claimed his legs were getting tired and he didn’t have the energy because he worked too hard the week before which is why he dropped back. Aldon Baker despite the crisis with Adam Cianciarulo and Ryan Villopoto might just have the biggest issue with Roczen to figure this out especially before the outdoors.
Roczen had complained about this problem before on the Behind the Dream supercross show when they filmed Baker training the trio. Clearly this is something that Roczen is susceptible to and it will be Baker’s role to figure it out and rectify it.
It may look from the outside that Baker has a pretty easy job but when you are getting paid by three guys and they all have different problems on the same night, that is when Baker will really earn his money.
Baker has to give all these guys equal time this week and figure out a way to have them all at their best or the best they can be given their situation for St.Louis. As a trainer Baker is ultimately responsible for these guys and getting them fit and keeping them fit –that’s why they pay him the big bucks.
The last few days might just have been some of the toughest in Baker’s training career as he tries to balance three rider’s differing problems equally.
Article: Jonathan McCready
Picture: James Lissimore