Brian Bogers: “Getting the call by Fantic, this is how happy and motivated I am”

The 2024 FIM Motocross World Championship is heading to Águeda for the Portuguese GP that marks round 5 for most of the field, while it is only the third GP weekend of the season for Fantic Factory Racing MXGP’s new-entry Brian Bogers. Get his thoughts in this open and honest chat about his return to racing after having been on the edge of retirement and find out about his goals aboard the Fantic XXF 450.

Brian, after an exciting but also pretty stressful comeback in the premier class of Motocross, this short break in the calendar came just at the right time. How did you spend these two weeks without racing and how do you feel now that you had a bit of time to settle in with the new team and bike?

I think this is a good time to train a lot because we will have three races in a row now, followed by one weekend off and again three race weekends in a row, which means you cannot train too much and too hard in between. I have to say I feel good at the moment, I feel better every day.

It must have been a good feeling as well to see all the support and positive reactions to your comeback.

Yes, that was really nice to see. It is also sort of a confirmation for myself that I belong to the paddock, with everyone being so positive about my return. I want to show what I am capable of this season, that is what we are training for right now. The bike feels so good and the team around me is so nice, so positive vibes only.

A lot of people were also impressed when they found out you had already started a “normal job” as a plasterer (one of the topics featured in the latest “Behind the Gate” episode focusing on the Fantic MXGP squad, out now on YouTube) and were seriously considering retirement, after your initial plans for 2024 had not worked out – something completely out of your control. How close were you to throw in the towel?

Well, I was really close to it, I think I was just on the edge… Actually, I spoke with my girlfriend about it and we both agreed that it was maybe better to throw in the towel and stop. I already had a normal job and I was thinking: “Why do I still do it? And what for?” So yes, I was really close to stop – and then I got that phone call from Louis [Vosters, Fantic Factory Racing MXGP Team Owner]. Of course, I was really happy about it. When I came home after the first meeting my girlfriend saw me smiling and was like: “Wow, it has been way too long that I did not see you like this!” I was just really happy.

They say “everything happens for a reason”. Did you learn something during these tough months when you did not smile so much? At least you had more family time this winter with your adorable son, little Brian.

I think I have learned something from it, yes. For sure, my heart belongs to Motocross. I also have Brian junior now and I spent a bit more time with him this winter and I liked it. When I do something, I want to do it 100% but the thing is, I am a lucky guy and he likes Motocross maybe even more than I do [he smiles]. So, it is a win-win situation now, as he can come to the races with me and he loves it.

Talking about races, did you watch the first GP events while you were still sitting at home? And did you get a different perspective by doing so? The level is impressive in MXGP right now.

Yes, I did watch from home. And well, we have been saying so for a few years already and I do believe that the level is really high. But yes, it seems to become even higher year after year. That makes it also more difficult for me to come back. On the other hand, I know that I belong there and I know that I can do it.

You made that clear with your top-10 result at your first GP back in the deep sands of Riola Sardo. Arco – on a completely different surface – was a tougher one but, all in all, it was maybe also better than expected considering the little time you had to prepare your comeback?

Yes, for sure. I think this just shows how motivated I am. I was not fit in Riola. This was also coming from my inner self. It was in my head that I just wanted to do it. This is how motivated I am and this is how I feel every day. Even when I am cycling or training in the gym, I think about it every day – I just want it so much. There is not one day that I think about doing less, no, I want to do even more.

You are also working with team trainer Kevin Strijbos now. How is it to work with him, your new teammate Glenn Coldenhoff and the whole Fantic Factory Racing MXGP squad?

It is actually really nice. I cannot think of a better place to be in right now. With Kevin and Glenn but also the whole team, including the mechanics and Louis, there is a really nice feeling and a calm and relaxed atmosphere inside the team.

You said the feeling with the Fantic XXF 450 was really good as well since the very beginning. What do you like the most about your bike?

I think it is a mix of the chassis, the suspension and the power. The combination works just really well. The other day, I was training on a French track that was really difficult for me, hard and slippery, also because I was born in the Netherlands. Even there the bike felt really good. That shows just how good the bike is and I feel it on track.

We are going to Portugal now, Águeda is also quite hard-pack but it is also the venue where you grabbed your first ever MXGP podium in 2022. What can we expect this upcoming weekend, what do you hope for?

Well, in Arco Iast time out I felt like I wanted to do a little better. A 14th overall is not the kind of result I am racing for. On the other hand, I did not have a lot of training. But I still believe that if I had good starts, even in Arco I would have had top 10 potential. This is going to be the goal for Portugal – to take good starts and then I believe I can be up there with the top guys. I feel really good at the moment, so why not.

Looking a bit further ahead, what is your goal for the season? 

I still believe that I can end up in the top 10 overall in the standings, that is my goal this year – and of course, to show in some races that I belong up front.

As a former Lommel GP winner, that race must be on top of your list?

Well, as we have just said, I had a podium in Portugal, which is not a very hard-pack track but a little bit medium; I had a podium in Spain on proper hard-pack surface and I had a podium in Lommel – that makes three completely different tracks. I don’t really care about the track or the kind of dirt, I just want to do good in every race. I don’t want to focus on one race, I want to be there every single time.