Motocross professional Christian Craig will rejoin the vaunted GEICO Honda race team immediately to replace injured rider Justin Bogle. Craig, who last competed with the team aboard a 450 at the 2014 MX race in Washougal, Wash., will ride a 250 beginning this weekend at the Thunder Valley National and will remain with the team until Bogle returns from a shoulder contusion.
“I’m really excited to have this opportunity,” Craig said. “It sucks that Bogle is hurt, but it opens a door for me to ride with the best team in the sport for a second time. I’m really thankful to the three team owners and Mike LaRocco for thinking of me. I’m going to do everything in my power to pay them back with some top finishes.
“I’ve been working hard for a chance like this. I really want to go all-out one last time and make a go of it. I still have all the desire in the world, and I don’t want to look back in 10 years and wish I had tried harder.”
The 23-year-old Craig has been riding at private tracks near his home in Minnesota as well as Millville, the home of the Spring Creek National. The moment he got the call to return to action, he flew west to begin training with the team in Southern California.
Early indications are that a shift back to a 250 bike isn’t going to be a factor.
“I was riding a fairly stock 450 at home, so when I got out here and got on one of the GEICO Honda 250s, those things are so fast there’s really no difference between the two,” Craig said. “The GEICO 250 actually might be faster. Two laps around Perris (Raceway) and I felt totally comfortable on the bike.
“The last time I rode a 250 in competition was at Las Vegas at the end of 2013 Supercross, so it hasn’t been that long ago. I think I’ll be fine.”
As for reaching the fitness level required of top riders in the sport, Craig said his intensive workout regiment and the fact he has been injury-free for two years will help him quickly close the gap on his rivals.
“I’m in the best shape of my life, and I don’t know that I’ve ever been 100 percent healthy like I am right now,” Craig said. “That’s so huge because when you’re not battling injuries you can really push yourself to be better. I have a lot of confidence going into Denver, and we’ll find out pretty quick up there on the mountain how I stack up.
“I just want to help this team for as long as I can.”
The first motos will be broadcast live from 1 to 3 p.m. MT on MAVTV. The second motos will air live on NBCSN from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.