2013 AMA Grand National Champion Brad Baker returned to the States this week after taking the big win in front of a crowded house in Barcelona, Spain last weekend in the 2014 Superprestigio Dirt Track Race.
After taking the trip across the pond after being invited to the event by 2013 MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez, the two spent part of the week in preparation for the big event by practicing at Marquez' track in the Barcelona area. And when the evening's festivities started to wind down, the two were pitted against one another in the Superfinal event along with a host of other racers which also included Americans Merle Scherb and Kenny Noyes.
Baker obviously came out on top of the battle after slight contact with Marquez during the final event sent the MotoGP Champ sprawling to the ground in turn one a few laps from the end of the main, with Baker going on to wheelie across the finish line as the checkers were displayed by AMA Pro Flat Track flagman Kevin Clark.
In the shot above, Baker on his #12 Brothers Powersports/D&D Exhaust/Schenk Racing Enterprise-sponsored Honda CRF450R leads Briar Bauman on the #10Z Rod Lake Racing/Arai/WKR-backed Honda, with Stevie Bonsey on the #80 Mack Daddy Racing/Confused Clothing/Alpinestars-sponsored Honda keeping them in close range during heat race #2 in round 12 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season at the final National to be held at the Springfield Short Track on September 15, 2012.
Baker filed his Barcelona Superprestigio win race report a few days ago, and you can check it out below as we await the upcoming 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season to kick off at Daytona on March 13-14 at the Daytona International Speedway in just shy of two months time.
A big congrats to The Bullet for his win, Merle Scherb for his 6th-place finish, Kenny Noyes for his 3rd-place finish and to all of the racers for their fine performance that everyone here in the States was able to watch online thanks to a super high-quality streaming feed made possible by AMA Pro Flat Track and CycleWorld.com. And a big thanks also goes out to Marquez for reorganizing this great event and to Backmarker and Riding Man's Mark Gardiner for building the right fire under the correct hind end to make it possible for Baker to get invited to this neat event. Bravo to all!
Brad 'The Bullet' Baker is shown on the KTM that he was equipped with while in Barcelona that he used to capture the Superprestigio Dirt Track Race Superfinal main event on January 11. Photo courtesy of Brad Baker.
2014 started out last weekend as what will probably go down as one the most memorable events of my whole career. Around early December I was honored to be invited to the Superprestegio Dirt Track Race event put on by RPM Racing with support of MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez. The race would be held in the amazing Palau Saint Jordi Stadium in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain.
2013 MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez and 2013 AMA Grand National Champion Brad Baker are shown during a practice session for the Superprestigio Dirt Track Race in Spain during the week of January 11, 2014. Marquez and Baker had a spirited battle during the Superfinal main event of the race before contact sent Marquez sprawling to the ground. Photo courtesy of Brad Baker.
The Superprestegio event was initially held as a road race grand prix back in the '70s-'90’s that brought out of a bunch of top named World GP riders. The race eventually lost interest in the mid '90’s and wasn’t revived again until this year when main promoter Jaime Alguersuri and Marc Marquez along with RPM Racing put their heads together and brought the great event back to life. Since a good majority of World GP riders cross train with dirt track nowadays and with the huge history of dirt track riders turned road racers that became world champions, it was a perfect time to put on such an event as a dirt track race and make the dirt track presence known again on the world stage.
The race program was a pretty interesting format. There were three classes, the GP class, the Open class and the Junior class. The gp class involved all the Gp road race riders, the open class involved at the DT riders and other discipline riders such as myself and the junior class was for young riders that all rode Kawasaki 140’s supplied by the Noyes Dirt track Camp.
The way the program worked was you had to make it through several rounds of qualifying, heat races, and finish inside the top three in your class to earn a transfer spot to the super final race which would decide who was the fast rider of the night. Would it be a GP Rider or an Open rider?
As to be expected I pretty much laid the hammer to the competition in the Open class the whole night. I set fast time in every session, got every hole shot and won by a huge margin in both heat races and the open main event. I knew this would not be my toughest race of the night though. Marc Marquez is an amazing rider and was the only rider close to my lap times the whole night. He won every time he was on the track except once and would be the rider to line up right next to me in the super final. It had shaped up to be the perfect showdown! Who was better, the GP World Champ or the Flat Track World Champ?
It was pretty much a picture perfect race, we were side by side from the moment the gate dropped and swapping the lead several times. To tell everyone the truth, I was holding back about 90%.. My lap times were about a half a second faster during the earlier races but I wanted to make it a “Super” final, not a blow out. Marc was doing everything he could to keep me behind him, running me wide several times and pushing really hard.
Finally the laps were winding down and I had to make a move to get by him and not let him run me wide again. I squared him up coming off of turn 4 and got the drive on him going into turn 1. Unfortunately, I was charging in hard and he did not want to let me by and tried to shut the door. There was hard contact between his handle bar and my knee and it took his front end out from under him and he hit the ground hard! That was not my intention at all, it upset me a lot that our battle ended like that but like they say, when you mess with the bull you get the horns! I rode the last two laps out and did a nice American stand up wheelie past the checkered. I was really happy that no one was upset after the race and even Marc told me it was not completely all my fault, it was just a racing incident.
Brad 'The Bullet' Baker displays the #1 trophy after winning the main event in the Superprestigio Dirt Track Race in Barcelona, Spain on January 11, 2014. Photo courtesy of Brad Baker.
The trip was an outright amazing experience! I can’t thank Mark Gardiner, Dennis Noyes, Jaime Alguersuri, RPM Racing, and Marc Marquez enough for getting me over there and making the event possible! Also a huge thanks to KTM of Spain and KTM Racing for supplying me with an excellent motorcycle. I am really happy with my move to KTM and I think we have just started to turn some heads.
Brad Baker hoists the #1 trophy on the podium after winning the Superprestigio Superfinal event in Barcelona last week. Baker shared the podium with 2nd-place finisher Tito Rabat (L) and 3rd-place finisher Kenny Noyes (R). Photo courtesy of Brad Baker.
I can’t wait for Daytona to showcase my FMC Dyno Center KTM 450! I never thought I would get shown so much respect from so many people in a foreign country. Motorcycles are a way of life to many in Europe, they almost treated me better over there then they do over here! In total there was about 8,000 fans in the stands, 122 journalist at the event, 3 television crews, and around 150,000 people in the United States watched the live feed on cycleworld.com! By far the most exposure I have ever got and the whole sport of dirt track has received in a long time!! I have a tremendous amount of respect for Marc and some of the other GP riders! They are great dirt trackers for the little amount of time they have done it. Flat track has been on a pretty good comeback here in the States and I believe this event will boost it's momentum big time.