Cael Bagby Focused- Wins Alabama Motorcross State Championships
MADISON- After a six-month recuperation from ACL knee surgery, Cael Bagby is back and focused as an elite racer as part of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). He recently won three coveted state titles at the AMA Alabama State Championships held in Cleveland, Ala., located about 60 miles south of Madison.
Bagby, the son of Steve and Kris Barnes, clutched state titles in three divisions- Schoolboy 12-16, 125cc Open 2-Stroke and 250cc Intermediate. He won the later race, which is for bikes with 250 horsepower, on his 125 horsepower KTM 2-Stroke Bike. Defeating the much stronger bikes was an amazing feat for the 14-year old freshman at Bob Jones High.
“I didn’t start the race very good so I had to catch up by hitting the corners harder,” said Bagby. “It took just over one lap to catch those in the lead and then I began pulling a gap all the way to the finish.”
Hosted at the Southern Supercross Park in Blount County, the state championships were held on a 1.5-mile track with each race running five laps. With jumps spread throughout the trek, racers had to endure the constant physical pounding of the action and the mental fortitude needed to make the correct moves at the right time.
For Bagby, his personal trek into the sport first occurred when he was four years of age following in the bike tracks of his father who was a prominent racer in his own right up to the age of 26. Bagby was given his first motorcross 50cc minibike and soon joined the competitive world of motorcross a year later.
“My dad taught me how to ride, fall, get back up and race again,” said Bagby. “I kept at the sport and got better at it.”
The sport has certainly taken its toll on the 5-foot-8, 125-pound athlete as he’s suffered numerous injuries during crashes on some of the top tracks in the Eastern and Southern U.S. In 2017, he broke his right ankle and underwent surgery for repair. In 2018, he was away from the track for three weeks due to a broken right collarbone and again undergoing surgery. Earlier this year Bagby had surgery at the famous Andrews Clinic in Birmingham for a torn ACL of his left knee from an injury in March at the conclusion of the NITRO Arenacross. This comeback lasted even longer as he was away from the race track for six months.
“I lift weights five days a week and ride a road or stationary bike each day for over 10 miles,” said Bagby on his physical endurance workouts. “I have to have strength in my arms and legs to handle my bike that weighs around 200 pounds.”
The A-B student in the classroom, Bagby is not yet well known in the Madison community for his expertise in the rough-n-tough sport, but on the national level he has taken the sport by storm. In 2018 he was ranked No. 30 in the United States. He has numerous national sponsors such as Race Ready Motorsports, Answer Racing, Bell Helmets, SPY Optics, Factory Connection Suspension, Asterisk Knee Braces, ProTaper and a host of others.
His sponsorships require Bagby to attend selected races throughout parts of the country.
“I want to turn professional when I turn 17 as that’s my passion as I stay focused on motorcross,” added Bagby
Professional racers can earn a very nice living as some have recently signed contracts worth as least a quarter of a million dollars and partake in super events held at sports stadiums and arenas in the form of Supercross and Arenacross. Founded in 1924, the nonprofit AMA is the premier advocate for the motorcycling community and sanctioned the recently held Alabama State Championships.
“I know I still have some work to do as the state championships was my first race since I had my knee surgery and I just wanted to get back to racing,” said Bagby. “I’m focused to be the best I can be and that focus leads me to success.”
Bagby is scheduled to race at the AMA Nationals in November at races in Gainesville, Fla. and looks to qualify for the 2020 Summer Nationals where only 42 of the top racers will be hitting the tracks for a chance at national stardom. His focus will be zeroed in as the chance presents itself.