Feature photo by: Chase Yocom
“Cooksey’s Hard Truth” presented by Scott Sports is a weekly editorial written by Chris Cooksey. Chris will be diving in and out of controversial subjects and bringing you his hard truth about the racing and the riders from around the world of Supercross and Motocross.
This past weekend we watched Justin Bogle holeshot the second 450 moto at Spring Creek, then disappear faster than Myspace. This is the third race in a row in which Bogle began as a man on a mission only to be swallowed by the pack. It is normal for any rider returning from an extended injury lay-off to be slightly disappointed but still accept 12th place as a decent starting point. Unfortunately for Justin, his contract with JGR ends after the final round at Indiana and he does not have time to race his way back to the form required to run up front. The only way to secure a contract for next year is to do something dramatic and show he can return to the rider he was in 2017. It’s that or join the unemployed in 2019.
Bogle’s problems began long before 2018. His issues are possibly the result of the 250 Supercross point advancement system. The point system forced him into the 450 class before he was ready. Over the last three years I heard rumors of teams interested in hiring him, but his price tag was not even close to market value. While I recommend riders get whatever money they can, sometimes it is more beneficial for them to lower their price tag in exchange for a longer-term deal.
In 2017 Bogle shocked many and won motos and an overall for RCH Suzuki. Unfortunately, this victory only led to a 1-year deal with JGR, but I am assuming Justin and his agent expected his 2018 results would guarantee a more secure deal for 2019. In his first race for the JGR team, Bogle sustained a severe concussion. This injury effectively ruined his entire offseason at an extremely critical time as Suzuki introduced an entirely new 450 and Bogle missed a considerable amount of testing. Right before the 2018 Supercross opener, Bogle suffered another concussion while getting ready for the opening round of Supercross. Concussions are not like a normal injury. If a rider hurts his arm, he can still maintain his cardio base. With a concussion, riders are on heart rate restrictions, accompanied by many other debilitating symptoms.
With two serious concussions, Bogle still lined up at Glendale and started racing his way back to form. In his third race back, he was involved in a horrific accident with Ben Lamay which resulted in a badly broken arm. I had someone close to the JGR team tell me they were thankful he didn’t sustain another head injury and did not believe he was completely recovered from his pre-season concussion. Before the outdoor season, Bogle informed team manager Jeremy Albrecht that he did not want to return until he was fully recovered because he wanted to be a front runner again. This comment has come back to bite him as he clearly underestimated his recovery process.
Despite his underwhelming performances, I believe Bogle still has the talent to be a 450 superstar. A team like Yamaha would benefit tremendously by hiring Bogle as their second rider along with Justin Barcia. Bogle is only a year removed from having the outright speed and endurance required to win a 450 National. While there are quite a few talented 450 riders looking for 2019 contracts, who has more potential than Bogle? It’s interesting how we commend Ken Roczen for checking his ego and racing his way back to form, yet Justin Bogle is vilified for similar performances. I concede, announcing he was not coming back until he had podium speed was a bad choice of words, but if given an entire offseason, I fully believe he will have a career resurgence.
Team Yamaha could be the saving grace to a different Justin in 2019 as they were exactly what Justin Barcia needed to revive his career in 2018. All they need is to do is take a chance on the popular and talented 25-year-old from Oklahoma. In any other sport, teams would be lining up to “fix” the once promising prospect, so I ask which team manager will take a chance and come out looking like a genius?