Daniel Baker is that kid. That kid that has a ton of speed but hasn't received the media coverage or recognition he deserves. That kid who has run up front at numerous amateur nationals, but hasn't won a ton of titles. That kid who, with the right amount of support, could potentially do great things. Well, he's now got it. Recently signed with Rockstar Xtreme Suzuki's elite amateur program, Baker has his sights set on making his final few years as an amateur his most successful ones yet.
First off, congratulations on signing with the new team. How did all this come about?
Yeah, thanks a lot. I'm really excited. I really didn't know anything to tell you the truth. Mark Ticen (with Renegade Fuels) has been helping me out a lot and putting in a good word for me with a lot of teams. My dad got a call about two weeks before Mini O's with an offer from Suzuki and we jumped on it.
And you went straight to the Rockstar shop in Cali to test right after that, right?
Yeah, pretty much. We flew out to meet the team and get some testing in before Mini O's. It went really good. You know, it's a new bike and a new set up and all, so I wasn't used to it. But I like it a lot and all the guys were great. It's going to be a great year.
What do you feel will be the biggest difference this year with the new team and all the new support?
Reliable bikes will be one of the biggest things. I'll be able to get through the week and not have to worry about my bikes, will be a huge confidence booster for me. Not to mention all the support at the track.
You have always been a solid frontrunner, but probably haven't won as many titles as you would have liked over the years. Do you feel you deserve titles this year?I feel like I should be winning now. With all the support from Rockstar Suzuki and all the guys at Xtreme there aren't any excuses. So, yeah, I definitely want to win more titles this year.
You're training with one of the greats, Travis Preston. How is that working out?
We train out of Charlotte, NC. He's got about three or four tracks we ride, but we mostly ride the old JGR test track. They've got an arenacross, motocross and supercross track, so it's really good. Travis has brought me a long way since I've been working with him. He's a great trainer and I don't think I would be where I am without him.
Final question. What classes will you be riding at Mini O's and what are your goals going in?
I'll be riding 250 B, Schoolboy and maybe 4-Stroke. I'm really just looking for strong top three finishes throughout the week. I definitely want to win as well, but really want to be consistent this year. The team really doesn't put any pressure on me, so I feel good about that. This will be my first time racing the bike, so I just want to get comfortable and show everyone what I am capable of.