Rider Spotlight: Brad Baker
NEWS February 23, 2012
Photo by Dave Hoenig
AMAP: How’s your off-season going?
BB: Great! Right now, myself and hopefully teammate Shayna Texter will be riding for Kenny Tolbert Racing on Kawasakis supplied by Kawasaki and Bill Werner. We are actually at D&D Exhaust right now getting the Kawasaki KX-450F tuned in to have a smooth power band for the DAYTONA® Flat Track.
AMAP: Where are you from?
BB: I’m from Chehalis, Washington. I’m actually about 20 miles West of Chehalis, but it’s so far out in the country, the town I actually live in is so small people would have no clue where it is. I’ve lived there my whole life, but I’m gone during the summer. I’ve had lots of different homes the past three years traveling on the circuit.
AMAP: What was your first motorcycle?
BB: My first bike was a Yamaha PW50. It’s a common bike for beginners.
AMAP: You were the 2009 AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Champion and the 2011 Saddlemen Rookie of the Year award recipient. How does it feel to ride with Kawasaki, tuned by Kenny Tolbert and Bill Werner for 2012?
BB: It feels amazing. I feel that I have more than done the work I’ve needed to do to end up where I am right now. This is a great accomplishment, and the season hasn’t even started! Being on a team with legendary tuners and a combined 16 Grand National Championships is a true honor. It definitely raises my expectations and makes me want to go out and win races and championships.
AMAP: Out of all the motorcycles you’ve ridden, what would you say is your favorite?
BB: I really liked the Harley-Davidson XR750. It was a great all-around motorcycle to have fun and go fast on. My Honda CRF450R has also always been a bike I’ve had a lot of fun on, so I’m really hoping the Kawasaki is no different.
AMAP: What is your favorite racetrack?
BB: I’d have to say the Springfield TT and ST races. It’s kind of a bummer that 2012 is going to be the last year of those races, but they will always be at the top of my list.
AMAP: What would you say is your expertise in regards to track configuration?
BB:I think a Grand National Champion feels just as comfortable on a TT track as a mile, half-mile or short track. I don’t think I have a preference, as I like all the track layouts. I’m a comfortable rider and think I do well on all layouts.
AMAP: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
BB: It’s a combination of everything. It’s the satisfaction of working hard towards something and it paying off. The glory is to be had by being the winner at the end of the day when you’re a professional motorcycle racer.
AMAP: What are your expectations going into 2012 riding Kawasakis with Kenny Tolbert, Bill Werner and Jay Springsteen?
BB: I expect that Kenny and I are going to be right up at the top. Though we’re new to the motorcycle and still getting prepared for Daytona, we’re working on some great bikes and expect to be running towards the front and winning some races.
AMAP: With the season-opening event at the DAYTONA® Flat Track right around the corner, give us your thoughts on the track?
BB: Daytona’s always treated me well. I won the very first Pro Singles race in 2009, and got my first podium there as an expert. Some riders don’t really like it, but I think it’s a lot of fun to ride on. We’ve got the Kawasaki KX-450F to ride fast on and show the other guys that we mean business.