Justin Bogle came into the 2012 East Coast Lites Supercross season as the year’s “Must Watch Rookie.” With guidance and support from the legendary GEICO Powersports Honda team, and an impressive showing in the final outdoor rounds of the 2011 season, the Oklahoman was primed and ready to play the dark horse to the championship chase. Though he has been the victim to circumstance and his own youthful intensity, Bogle remains positive on how this year has played out and looks for a fresh start this summer.
Now that you have one Supercross round left and then the outdoors, how do you feel your rookie year as gone?
Rookie year of Supercross has definitely been up and down. It started out pretty good with a podium in my second race, got a couple heat wins, but so far, it has been a bunch of scattered finishes everywhere and a lot of hitting the ground. It has been a learning experience, which is what everyone told me it was going to be. But I am looking forward to the outdoors, because I am not a rookie outdoors, so hopefully that will go a little better.
You've turned the fastest lap times in practice, won heat races, and been at the front in a few main events. Did you expect it to come that easily? Even on your rough weeks, you have the some of the fastest lap times.
At first, it was kind of surprising because I did not know where I would be sitting at. I worked hard this offseason, had been ready for a while, and was just waiting for Supercross to get started. I felt like I was ready because I did a lot of testing, because Supercross is a learning curve in itself and learning how to ride it. I expected to be up towards the front and doing well. The first few weekends went really well and like I said, I have been battling with falling on my face. I am trying to get over that still (Laughs).
There are some riders who always have something going wrong during the course of the career, with injuries or crashes. After your Toronto incident, Dallas, St. Louis, and other times this year, how frustrating is that? Because it seems that your amateur career was never like that and now you are taking it in your rookie year.
Yeah, it has definitely been frustrating and I let it get to me a couple of times. I am new to it, so I can't say that it has or hasn't been that way for me, but this year it has been that way. There has been something every single weekend. I will be doing good, I'll qualify well in practice, get a heat win, and then something happens in the first turn in the main. Something like that that will halt the progress. But I get back at it during the week and keep working hard, and hopefully it will turn around soon.
With all the lows, do the podiums or times when you are the fastest guy make it all worthwhile?
It definitely makes it better. At Houston, I had a really good heat win, but had a really good crash in practice. I wasn't feeling so hot and in practice, I was 12th or 13th, and came out with a good start and won my heat. That was a big weight off my shoulders to get that out of the way. I was looking forward to the main, but I had that little misfortune in the first corner and had to come from the back again. Little things like that make it sweeter when it goes well.
Does it set the mood in the trailer when you out time Barcia?
(Laughs) Nah, its cool. It doesn't make it different or weird, there is no animosity there. It is cool for me, because he is the number one and is usually up there and there are lots of fast guys. It is a pretty big deal, but I have said before, it makes no difference because I would rather qualify 15th and do well in the main because nothing else matters. But it still is cool.
When you and Pelligrini made contact in Toronto, what was going through your mind? Did it happen too quickly to prepare for the fall?
It happened quickly, but in my head I was thinking, "If I jump far enough and close enough to the Tuff Blox, it'll all be good." I lucked out there and my face made it to Tuff Blox, so I didn't take too hard of a hit. It happened quickly and it wasn't fun (Laughs). It was one where you were in there air knowing it wasn't going to feel good. I just tried to do a can-can out of it.
It didn't seem to be too hard of contact, because if you watch on the replay it was like the rear wheels tapped and stopped. Did you come away from that only bruised and battered?
Yeah, it didn't take much. It was just little stuff. But we race dirt bikes, so there is little stuff like that every weekend.
How is having Mike LaRocco as a team manager? He has been a giant part of the sport and was around long before you and I were.
It is awesome because I feel like he is a lot more involved in things now. He is helping me with a lot of different things and we are making sure I have all my stuff together and that I have everything I need. When I was back home and I had a bike problem, I would have to wait to get it fixed, where out here I can get it done and go about my business so I can do what I need to do.
Has he cracked the whip at all?
(Laughs) He does. He is a lot scarier before you get to know him than he really is. He doesn't like any horsing around, but he is not all business. He just wants you to do your stuff,
Are you ready for his "boot camp" after Red Bud this year?
I am prepared for boot camp! Last year was good but it was brutal. But for me, I lucked out because I didn't have to race Millville that next weekend and took a breather to get ready for Ponca and Loretta's. I had fun. It was hard, but I had fun.
As an amateur, you set you year around a few scattered races like Ponca, Loretta's, the Mini O's, and a few Nationals, but now you are racing nearly every weekend. How different is the stress level between the two?
It is a lot different. If you have a bad race in the amateurs, you have three months to get over it and everyone forgets by then. The thing with this, with the pros, you are racing every weekend and have to recover quicker. Last year, I was timing towards Unadilla and I wasn't timing for any amateur races in particular. I was training like I was racing professionally already. The every weekend grind was a lot to get used to, but I like in more. There is not so much waiting around and dealing with all of it.
You have been in California since November, right?
Yeah, I have. I went home after Dallas and came back out after Houston. I was home for five or six weeks, but for the most part have been out here.
Are you here alone or have some of your family members come out?
No family here, but I am staying with my mechanic and my buddy from back home, Derek, who was my practice bike guy.
Does it get hard to be apart? You are still a young kid and now you are here in an environment that is much different from the Midwest.
It is a big adjustment, and coming from Oklahoma it has a much different pace. Times like Easter and not going to church with the family make it difficult, but I am having fun. It's all good.
What are your expectations for the Nationals?
I feel like I can be up towards the front, getting top fives and podiums. I feel like I enjoy the outdoors more, obviously because I have raced it my whole life and am more accustomed to it. I have been working hard here, training and testing, so I feel like I can get away from my little black cloud from Supercross. Maybe a change will be good for me. I hope it goes a lot better than Supercross, bec