How the UK's leading FMX rider made ends meet during lockdown
The pandemic didn’t just bring off-road sport to a halt over the summer, it also had a huge impact on the UK’s freestyle motocross scene as agricultural shows and festivals – bread and butter for an FMX rider – across the country were 86ed.
As leader of the Bolddogs Lings Honda FMX team, Dan Whitby felt the economic impact of COVID-19 more than most and he was forced to expand his horizons and switch to the other side of the camera to get work.
“We’re still alive so it’s all good,” said Dan. “It’s been a very different summer to what I’m used to. We’ve kinda just closed the doors and shut everything down and I’ve just put a two-year plan in place but that’s as far ahead as I’m looking right now.
“I’ve had to diversify a little bit into something I’ve dipped my toe into before and that’s TV and film work and that’s been keeping me busy. I’ve done some scenes for Honda this year out in Iceland ahead of the Africa Twin Adventure Roads Tour – hand on heart, that bike is mega – and I did some tracking work for Bickers Action for TV and film and I’ve also just shot the new Vauxhall Corsa advert.”
There’s been a shuffle in Bolddog personnel too with 22-year-old Josh Morris drafted in alongside established rider Arran Powley to replace Samson Eaton who announced his retirement from FMX in the summer – although Dan’s not convinced he’s seen the back of him yet,
“Me and Arran have been practising as much as we can and Josh is a lovely fella and an up-and-coming star. Samson’s officially retired but unofficially maybe not. I think he’s going through the menopause and has had to figure some stuff out but he’s driving a digger at the moment for Jake Nicholls at Tru Plant.”
The future looks bright for Bolddog with a raft of dates already in the diary for next year – although Dan’s taking a cautious approach to 2021.
“As it stands we’re absolutely stacked because everything we were supposed to do this year got deferred to next year and then there’s all the events that rotate around every two years that we’ll be wanted to do. So should we be allowed to do live shows next year we will be rammed but this is why I’ve got a two-year plan – I’d like to be optimistic but I find it unlikely that we’ll be back to live shows next year.
“It’s been quite a mental adjustment because I absolutely love doing shows. If I had any sense I’d be doing the TV and film work as my priority but I just love doing live shows so much. If I wasn’t getting paid I’d still be doing them. Hell, I’d even pay to do them – but don’t write that!”