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Can we all just take a minute to look back at the GEICO Honda team and talk about how they changed the way teams prospect in this sport? We can all thank them for helping lay down the foundation for some of the top riders in the sport today. I had Justin Bogle on the Squad Pod last week and I brought up his rookie season in 2012. He was the next guy in line behind the success of Trey Canard, Blake Wharton, Justin Barcia, and Eli Tomac.
The 2012 GEICO Honda team consisted of Bogle, Barcia, Tomac, Wil Hahn, Jimmy Decotis and of course Kevin Windham in the 450 class. To this point, Barcia had won his East Region Championship, but for the most part these riders were just starting out their careers. This is the moto version of a John Calipari Kentucky team or even an
Alabama Crimson Tide [Ed note: Georgia Bulldogs] football team.
“It was like a college team,” Bogle said. “You’re all trying to prove yourself. Some of you come into it with more clout and notoriety from your high school days and that’s how it was with us. Then you move on and some of you make it in the big leagues and some don’t. That’s the way it works. It’s pretty cool to look back on, I don’t do it too often, but every now and then it’s fun to reminisce a bit.”
Canard paved the way for showing other riders that you could have success right away on the GEICO Honda program. Barcia, Tomac, Hahn, and Bogle all went on to win championships with the team as well.
“On my team, Wil obviously won a title, Eli ended up being one of the best guys ever, Barcia has won a lot of races and 250 titles, and obviously I’m a K-Dub fan,” Bogle said. “It was a really cool experience. I had a lot of really gnarly guys on my team. It was good for me to learn from them.”
Whether or not it was Bogle learning from his fellow teammates, the team, or just getting better and coming into his own is up for discussion. It was probably a mix of all of it.
“I had a really stacked age group my whole life,” Bogle said. “The reason we all got as good as we did is because iron sharpens iron and we’re battling the best guys. Eventually some of them became the best to ever do it. That’s a cool thing.”
Bogle went to a public school his entire life and he said that when he graduated high school that’s when he started to find his groove. He said he’d go to school one week and just kind of blend in and then when he would travel to an amateur race the next he was somebody. Then he’d go back to high school and no one even knew what he did. Bogle eventually became the hottest amateur prospect in the country in 2010/2011. The GEICO Honda team was a perfect stepping stone to the pros for Bogle. It was the right mix of people around him to succeed. However, with so many different personalities under one tent, what was the atmosphere like on the team?
“I had a blast,” Bogle said. “Wil has been one of my friends for a really long time and he still is. Wil and I had a really good time. We worked really hard, but we also had fun with it. Some of the most fun years of my career honestly were spent with me, Wil, and RFed (Ryan Fedorow, trainer) training, doing our stuff, and traveling together. It was really enjoyable. Those years were fun. We all took it seriously, we all wanted to beat each other. There was a time and a place for it. Looking back on it, some of the funnest years of my life for sure.”
Main image: GEICO Honda/Simon Cudby