RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Justin Bogle had a rough go of it this past Supercross season. His best result came at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas where he finished ninth and at the end of the 17-round series, he ranked in 18th place overall after missing three races due to injuries. The Oklahoma racer’s Pro Motocross season is off to a better start with a 10th overall at the opening round at Hangtown with 8-10 moto finishes. We spoke with Bogle at the 2nd Annual Suzuki MOTO T.E.A.M. Day to get some insight into his Supercross season, his performance at Hangtown, and the changes made to the Glen Helen track leading into the race weekend.
You had an up and down Supercross season. What are you thoughts on the season as a whole? “Supercross was a lot more down than up for me. There weren’t really any highlights. It was a struggle for me. It was pretty much the worst season I’ve had in my career; 100 percent the worse season I’ve had in my career and probably my life, too. It was a struggle to get through it, but I’ve made a lot of changes to my program here recently, so things are moving forward and we’re heading up from here. Supercross as a whole, I would give myself an “F,” honestly. It was a complete failure.”
What do you feel it was about the Supercross season that made it so difficult for you? “I can sit here all day and make excuses. I don’t believe I was properly prepared with this, that, and the other. Injuries for the past two to three years have slowed my progress down quite a bit. I had a late start to preseason testing and training with an injury from outdoors and then I kind of signed late with the team. I just don’t think I was fully ready for it. But, I am thankful for it because you need those humbling moments to grow and you only grow through pain. I learned a little bit, looked myself in the mirror, and made some changes. Like I said, I feel good about where we’re headed now.”
Leading into outdoors, do you feel more prepared for it than you were for Supercross? “It’s a process still. Things are going in the right direction, but it doesn’t happen overnight. I am not naive enough to believe I’m going to go out and win next weekend; that’s just not reality. I’m trying to build slowly and be able to sustain my growth and get better as the season goes on and get back to where I belong, which is towards the front. I think the main thing is not coming out and getting too ahead of myself because I want to grow into this. That way, I can sustain it for the rest of my career. I don’t want to come out and be a flash in the pan like I’ve done in the past. I believe in myself and that I am capable of it. I believe in my program now down at the Goat Farm with Ricky [Carmichael] and Jeannie [Carmichael] yelling at me and working with my trainer, Cory, so everything is moving in the right direction.”
What’s it like transitioning from training at Robbie Reynard’s facility in Oklahoma to the Goat Farm in Florida? “It’s definitely different. I’ve got love for Robbie Reynard until the day I die. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life. I lived with him when I first turned pro and a little bit as an amateur. He’s been very influential in my life and he has one of the best tracks in the country, too. It’s a great place to go and I’m from there, too. I’m from like 30 minutes away from there, so it’s home. I just got to a point in my career where I needed a change and to revamp everything. Change is good. It’s the spice of life and it keeps you feeling alive. I needed a change and just a different program. It’s definitely tough down there in Tallahassee [at Ricky Carmichael’s], but I love it. It’s what I need.”
For the Hangtown race, riders talk about how it’s difficult to set up the bike compared to other tracks. What are your thoughts on that? “Hangtown is one of the trickiest races of the season. They really like to impress you with how rough and gnarly that track is. This year wasn’t the best track I’ve ever raced. The way that track gets rough is weird, so it’s definitely tough to get a bike set up for that. I think we did a pretty good job. Everybody was on top of it and making changes. It’s tough, but I’m glad to get out of Hangtown healthy and with a top 10. I’ve struggled there in the past quite a bit. That’s the best Hangtown I’ve had. Even on a 250, I’d come into there and have a big crash or have something go on. I’m happy to get out of there with a top 10 and I’m healthy. I’m just trying to build through the season and get better.”
The Glen Helen race is this weekend and they’ve altered a few sections of the track compared to years past. Do you like the changes? “I think it’s good. I’m very glad they took out the really ridiculous big jump that was there. I think that’s just unnecessary for doing 35 minute motos and as gnarly as the track gets, it’s just dangerous. I’m glad that’s gone. Glen Helen is obviously historical and an incredible facility and track. The big thing for me is I’m thankful there are no jumps you would have to hit wide open on a 450 because anything like that is a little too much. It always gets rough and gnarly, so it’ll be good. I like it better than Hangtown, so we’re moving in the right direction. “
Each of the 12 tracks the Pro Motocross series races at is unique in one way or another. Do you have a favorite? “I really like Unadilla and I’ve always done well there. Washougal is similar for me. Honestly, my favorite track is probably Southwick. I love that track. It’s not too crazy and it’s different enough to be different.”