Interview: Bastian Bøgh Damm on stepping away from the sport and if he’d consider a return
Only a couple of years ago it looked like young Danish talent, Bastian Bøgh Damm had a very bright future in the sport – he was running at the front of the EMX250 series before making the jump up to the MX2 World Championships but injuries weren’t kind to him.
Last year, Bøgh Damm made the very difficult decision to step away from the sport and get a normal job because of the risks he was taking and not being paid in the Motocross paddock.
There’s no doubt that Bøgh Damm has talent and could still get good results in the MX2 World Championship but without getting an offer that will pay a salary he won’t be coming back. Hopefully there is a team out there willing to sign up the young Dane.
We caught up with Bøgh Damm to discuss stepping away from the sport and more.
GateDrop: Bastian, you’ve been away from racing since the end of last season, first of all, how is life and what have you been up to? You are missed in the GP paddock!
Bøgh Damm: Thank you, life is good. I am working and enjoying time with my girlfriend and friends. It warms me to hear that I am missed in the paddock, I also miss the friends there and the excitement.
GateDrop: What was the decision for stepping away from racing at the end of last year? Was it a tough decision?
Bøgh Damm: As you might know I broke my back and ribs just before the season started last year in a training crash. I was at my best level ever and I was in the UK ready for the first GP of the year, but the weather didn´t allow us to race unfortunately and then I was out for a while. This was a big blow to the motivation both for me and the team and the fight to get back after injury is always tough especially mentally, I think.
I was back in Latvia with a positive surprising tenth in qualifying heat – but a start crash in heat one with a hit on the back again ended that GP for me. All of this and injuries of some of my close friends in motocross, really made me think, is this worth the risk? Not getting any salary and actually paying for racing. That combined with financial challenges and the environment in my team, made me say stop after the race in Sardinia in the middle of May with a top ten result. Yes, it was a tough decision because I dreamt about this since I was three years old, and my family invested all they had in supporting me.
GateDrop: How hard is it to get a good ride with good financial backing?
Bøgh Damm: It hasn´t ever been possible for me to get a ride with good financial backing, my family with normal jobs and a few sponsors has helped me. When you ride at this level, it is a full-time job and you need to be able to make a living.
GateDrop: Do you miss racing at the highest level and being part of the GP paddock?
Bøgh Damm: Yes I miss racing and making some great results, like when I won EMX250 in Valkenswaard 2020.
GateDrop: Just on last year, racing the MX2 World Championship, how did you find it? You had top ten speed!
Bøgh Damm: The competition in the MX2 World Championship is really tough and we ride SOOO fast, always on the edge I think.
GateDrop: Do you still ride for fun or have you not been on the bike for a while?
Bøgh Damm: Yes, I have been riding a little bit just for fun, but mostly I am working and training fitness at the moment.
GateDrop: For the future, would you consider making a return to Motocross in 2024 or beyond?
Bøgh Damm: Sure, I consider that because I love the sport and I know I can be a top ten rider again. But I must be able to make a living from it and I need a positive environment in a team to be able to perform my best.
GateDrop: Have you been watching the GP’s this year? MX2 especially is exciting with a number of different riders that can win!
Bøgh Damm: Yes, I have been following the GP´s – it is great that more riders are in fighting for the win. I would love to see a full start gate though. I wonder if more riders have the same challenges as I did?
GateDrop: For any team managers that may read this, what kind of rider would they be signing in you?
Bøgh Damm: I am a rider with high speed and a winner instinct, with an extra gear in the races. I have a natural feel for the right lines and a great eye for racing. I need structure and the right training program and support with a positive environment.
GateDrop: There are some new brands coming to the sport – Triumph and Ducati… I think this is good for the sport and should help with rides in the paddock etc…
Bøgh Damm: I think that is really great and I think you are right it could be good for the sport with new blood.
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Main image: MXGP/Infront Moto Racing