Today, I spent a few minutes chatting with Obyermeyer Yamaha/Raines Racing University/Offroadviking.com XC2 rider, Brad Bakken. Brad has made a switch during the summer break and has found a new drive within that could propel him to a podium or four this fall. See what Brad had to say about the switch and new found confidence.
How’s the summer break been? The break’s been good. I really didn’t take that much time off. I’ve run some local Virginia Series races, two enduros, and the Tennessee Knockout. Plus, I’ve stayed busy switching to the four-stroke, so I’m spending a lot of time on that getting comfortable and making sure the set-up is right. Also, I started going to a cross fit gym which has helped out my strength and cardo a bunch.
What benefits have you found riding the four banger? The main reason I made the switch to the YZ250F was because I never really felt all that comfortable on the two-stroke. The YZ had a ton of power, but in the hard pack square edge terrain I struggled to ride to my fullest. For me, the four-stroke just sticks to the ground a lot better and it handles quite a bit better; meaning, I can ride it a lot harder because it soaks up the rough stuff so much better. It doesn’t take off on me or break loose like the two-stroke does. I can ride harder for a lot longer which is what I need to be competitive. It’s just really easy to ride.
What are your thoughts about the 2012 GNCC series? I felt pretty good at the beginning because the first few rounds the ground is little softer causing the bumps to be rounder. The two-stroke handled great there resulting in a podium at Steel Creek. But when we switched into the more rocky conditions like Kentucky and Snowshoe I struggled a little bit more. It caused me to lose a little bit of my confidence knowing I wasn’t riding like I should be. So it’s been up and down, but I feel really good going into the final four rounds of competition.
Do you feel the YZ250F will put you where you want to be in these final four races? Yeah for sure. I’m much more confident in my riding, and switching up my training program has helped out too. I can really trust the four-stroke to do what it supposed to without any hesitation. The regaining of confidence has made a big difference in my outlook. I didn’t have that confidence I needed riding the two-stroke. I’m going into Unadilla knowing I can be on the podium, and that’s such a huge advantage going into the race. The rest of the season is going to be great!
What are your goals for the second half of the race season? My goal is to be on the podium the last four races or be in contention. Like riding with Stu, Andrew, Jason, Jesse, and Jed, and if I’m riding with those guys I know I’m there.
Any plans for the next year yet? I’ve been talking to Jason and Keith. Hopefully it’s going to be the same deal, but a little different set-up, you know, without so many amateurs. Also, I’ve been talking to Jason and Randy some more about doing the enduros and GNCC’s again for Yamaha.
So how did you like the TKO? That thing was crazy! That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Like the time qualifying thing was three and half minutes but it was killer. The first knockout section was a ten mile loop that was crazy. It took me 46 minutes to complete it, and I finished 7th out of everyone. That was rough! There was an hour and half break after the first test where it proceeded to poor down rain for 30 minutes. They added even harder sections the second test. On top of that, everything was super slick….. I got hung up one hill climb and Kyle Redmond started around me when his back tire slid over and cut my front brake line. So, my day was pretty much over after that.
Any plans on you and Desiree getting married soon? Not anytime soon….. We have a plan. She just got a job here in Richmond and we want to get her stable in her job. Meanwhile, I’m working to get myself stable in what I’m doing. We’ve definitely talked about it; we’ve been together for a little over three years now. Nothing in the near future, but I can see myself with Desiree.
Who would you like to thank for making this year possible? I would like to thank Obermeyer Yamaha, Raines Riding University, Offroadviking.com, Fly Racing, Factory Connection, HBD graphics, Kenda, X Brand, FTDs, FMF, Accelerade, Fastway, Rekluse, IMS, GPR, Sunstar, EBC, Unibiker, Zip TY, Wiesco, Gaerne, TM Designs, Pro Taper, GE, AM Pro Yamaha, and a huge thanks to my parents, and girlfriend Desiree.
Photo courtesy of Fly Racing Photo Shoot