The 2015 silly season is off to a swift start, as teams aren’t waiting until the end of the season to sign riders they feel fit their needs. Alex Martin was the first shoe to drop, as he will join his brother Jeremy at Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha in 2016 following two-plus seasons with CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha. Today, GEICO Honda announced they have signed Christian Craig for the remainder of the 2015 season and the entire 2016 season.
Craig announced his retirement from professional racing following the 2013 season, but returned as a fill in rider for GEICO Honda in 2014 when Eli Tomac was sidelined with injury. Craig returned again this year, this time riding the 250 Class for the first time in his career, when Justin Bogle went down with a shoulder injury at the opener.
"I honestly can't put into words how much this opportunity means to me," Craig said in a team statement. "Before I retired, I could have only dreamed of being on the GEICO Honda team and now it's a reality. It's crazy to me and I feel like it's a dream."
Craig’s return has gone better than most expected as he’s racked up eight top tens in ten motos raced and currently sits fourteenth in 250MX points despite missing the first two rounds. His deal for next season comes on the heels of his first career 250 MX moto podium on Saturday at RedBud.
"Christian has been a very comfortable and easy fit when we've needed him to fill-in," team co-owner Rick "Ziggy" Zielfelder said in a team statement. "A person's integrity means a lot to me and to be a part of this team you have to work extremely hard and earn your spot.”
Craig, 23, is the son-in-law of GEICO Honda co-owner Jeff Majkrzak. "Because Christian is the son-in-law, he's had to work much harder to prove himself than anyone who has come before him,” Zielfelder said. “It's been wonderful to see him dig in and do the work. He deserves this contract."
"I've worked hard to prove to people I can do this again and to have the entire GEICO Honda team behind me means so much," Craig said. "It was pretty cool after Thunder Valley when I spoke with Ziggy and he said that he doesn't care what my father-in-law says, him and (crew chief Mike) LaRocco want me on the team. That made me feel like everyone believed in me, not just Jeff because he's family.”
Craig is expected to contest the 250 Class in both Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross next season.