CORONA, Calif. – Known across the sport for finding and nurturing some of the best up-and-coming talent in motocross, the GEICO Honda team has signed rising motocross star Zach Bell through the 2014 season.
Bell has been tearing up the amateur ranks as part of the group's developmental program. He's now committed to joining the team later this summer following his final amateur race at the prestigious Loretta Lynn's AMA National Motocross Championship.
"It an awesome deal for me," Bell said. "Everybody wants to be a part of these big factory teams, and I did everything I could do to earn a spot. I've worked hard, run to the best of my abilities and kept my head in it and it all paid off when GEICO Honda gave me a call and we made a deal. It's an incredible opportunity for me.
"I'm trying hard to win every race for this team, training as hard as I can every day. I even went out to California and did some testing with the team. Everyone from the shop was really helpful and the other riders were super cool to me. It was a great introduction."
GEICO Honda team manager Mike LaRocco said that despite nursing a wrist injury, Bell looked good when he was thrown into the mix against his stable of champion riders.
"His speed is really good," LaRocco said. "We had him do part of a moto with our guys and he fit right in. I'm looking forward to life after this year's Loretta Lynns and seeing what he can do."
Bell said he enjoyed his first taste of riding a powerful GEICO Honda CRF250 and is looking forward to competing without restrictions.
"The Hondas are amazing," Bell said. "The Factory Connection suspensions are the best out there and the motors are unbelievably fast. I don't think anyone else has a bike like I'm riding right now, and I can't thank them enough."
LaRocco said he's looking forward to the opportunity to work with Bell on a regular basis.
"I've not been able to see him race a whole lot but he seems like he's mature for his age," LaRocco said. "I'm hoping that translates to a minimal amount of growing pains once he gets out here and starts racing on the professional level."
The GEICO Honda team kicks off the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship season this weekend at the Hangtown National in Sacramento, Calif. Bell will make his pro debut at the Moto-X 338 National, which takes place August 11 in Southwick, Mass.