Interview: Xavier Boog reflects on his career – podiums and factory rider!

Xavier Boog is one rider that knows what it takes to stand on the podium at the highest level and how much work it takes to make it to the top to race with the best riders in the world. The French talent had a nice career and was with some factory teams during his time as a Grand Prix rider – Suzuki in MX2 and Kawasaki in MXGP.

At the end of 2018, Boog announced that he was retiring from racing at a high level but still loves the sport so still rides for fun which is good to see.

We caught up with Boog to discuss his career and much more.

Gatedrop: How did you get into the sport and what age were you when you first got on a bike and when did you think you could make a career out of it?

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Boog: My father was riding at some local races and naturally he put me on a bike when I was 4 year old. Since I was 7-8 I expected to make a career, but I started to really believe it at 16-17.

Gatedrop: In 2006 you got your first opportunity to race the MX2 World Championship with the MX Team PSM and stayed with them for 2007. How difficult was it battling with the factory riders and what was the level like then?

Boog: It was really difficult because at this time you had to do qualifying for the race on Sunday and there was no age limit like there is now.

Gatedrop: You did enough to sign a contract with Suzuki, how did it feel to earn a good ride in the paddock and how would you describe your time with them?

Boog: We started the season with a standard engine but almost every race we got new parts and at the end the bike was great and it was my bike, I developed it. It was a great experience.  I spent 2 really nice seasons with one of the best team manager, Thomas Ramsbacher and all of his nice crew.

Pic: Nigel McKinstry

Gatedrop: You got your first GP podium at Bulgaria in 2009, a truly special day for any rider. How did it feel to get on the podium and what do you remember from those races?

Boog: It was a dream come true. I remember that after the podium I tried to find my father to share this moment and to say thank you for all that he done for me with my mum. He was crying behind the truck.

Gatedrop: In 2010, you decided to move up to the MX1 class even though I believe you had some time left in MX2 if you wanted it. Why did you make the decision to move up to the MX1 class before you had too?

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Boog: I was feeling good when I was practicing on a 450cc and I got a great opportunity to join the Factory Kawasaki team with my friend Sebastien Pourcel as a team mate.

Gatedrop: You signed with Factory Kawasaki – how was being part of one of the best teams in the paddock?

Boog: I was very proud and aware of the chance I had to be in MX1 with a factory team.

Gatedrop: In 2011 at the GP of Europe at Gaildorf you got your one and only MXGP podium. How did that feel and what’s your memories from that day? The first moto was so close and you very nearly won!

Boog: The 2011 season was difficult with some injury’s but to finish the season on a podium give me some motivation for next season. Also, Gaildorf was almost a home GP for me, really close to my place, so I remember that all my family and friends were there, it’s a nice memory.

Gatedrop: At the end of 2012, you left the Factory Kawasaki team – was that tough to take? I’d imagine you’d have loved to have stayed as part of the team as everything was going well for you..

Boog: It’s never easy to change but on the other side I knew that I had a nice challenge in front of me with Ice One. At this time it wasn’t a factory team but that’s just how it is. We worked hard all winter and I was feeling good, maybe the best but unfortunately I got injured 2 times during the season.

Gatedrop: For 2014, you signed with 24MX Honda, you had some good results but how tough was it that year being with a privateer team against the factory riders?

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Boog: I took time to came back from my last injury in 2013 and to feel comfortable on my new bike but every race was a bit better until I had my back injury.

Gatedrop: Your last opportunity to race MXGP was when Ryan Villopoto got injured, Kawasaki drafted you in again for a few rounds – the results weren’t great, why do you think that was? Was the level a lot higher than in the past?

Boog: I did only 2 races with them. I think if I had more time on the bike, I could ride in top ten again.  At this time I was riding for the team Bud racing in France and I had the opportunity to finish the season with KRT but they weren’t able to make me a decent proposition. So I decided to end the season with bud racing as expected.

Pic: Benjamin Ricard

Gatedrop: During your time as a rider, you had a number of fast and talented team mates, which ones did you learn the most from and why?

Boog: I will say Ken Roczen for his determination, his talent, his maturity, his simplicity and he was only 14 years old.

Gatedrop: When you look back at your career, are you happy with what you achieved – is there anything you’d do differently looking back?

Boog: Of course I’m happy. Okay, you always want more but it could have also gone much worse.

Gatedrop: When you look back what memories/highlights stand out the most and why?

Boog: It’s difficult to have only one memory/highlight. I had the chance to live my passion, to travel all over the world, to race against the best riders in the world, to ride with really good bikes. I lived my dream.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Main pic: Kawasaki