Bastian Borke: I will work harder and do my best to impress the Danish manager (interview)
Bastian Borke races in his home country – Denmark and on tracks in Germany. In 2019, he went on a tour around Australia. He believes that all this will soon pay off with a contract in Polish league.
Konrad Cinkowski (Twój Portal Żużlowy): You’re not a well-known rider in Poland. Before we start, please tell us something about you.
Bastian Borke (Danish rider): My name is Bastian Borke. I am 18 years old. I’ve been racing speedway for 6 years, which means, I started when I was 12. I live in Denmark in a city called Silkeborg. I go to business school on the sports line second year.
– How did everything begin? How did you fall in love with speedway?
– It all started with my dad sponsoring a local speedway rider. We always came to watch, when he was racing on the local track in Silkeborg, and I just thought it looked so cool. But it was actually my little brother who first wanted to start riding speedway, so we went to an „open house” practice on the local track, and I was only supposed to look at my brother attempt. Then they got me on a bike, and ever since, I’ve just been in love with the feeling of riding the bike, and all the stuff about speedway.
– Which speedway rider is your role model and why?
– I would say I’ve got two role models. The first one is Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, because I’ve been watching him, since I was only 10 years old, because he was one of the local riders. And my second role model is Greg Hancock, because he has always been a stable rider, and rode for many years, which would be a dream come true to do.
– What can you say about the last season?
– 2020 started with a lot off practice due to COVID-19, which was pretty good, and I learned a lot off new things. Then we started racing and it was only my second season, when I got on the 500cc. I came into the 1. Division for the first time, but it wasn’t first division like usual, because a lot of the Superliga drivers went down to the first division, due to Superliga being cancelled. From the start it was a lot more of struggling than wining, but I learned a lot from each race, and then I started beating them instead, and chasing after some big guys. But that’s only for the division race. I also competed in the Under-21 Danish final, where I got 10th place, which is okay, if we take into account that it was my first time in that kind of meeting. At the same time, during all of this, we have also been riding a lot in Germany and once in Slovenia (Krško). In Slovenia, I got a second place, and in Germany not as many races, as I hoped for, but we managed to compete in only four, and got thrown out of the “special” day in Wittstock. Out of the four meetings in Germany, I finished first twice and never went under top five. It came to a lot of hours spent on the road, not as many as last year, when we were in a few more meetings away from Denmark like France, Germany, Australia, Czech Republic (Pardubice). I’m looking forward to do even more next year hopefully.
– Do you set any goals for yourself this year?
– Yes, I have some goals for this year. I just signed a three-year contract with Varde/Outrup speedway club. This means that I will ride in the 1. Division for them and if I’m good enough then maybe I can ride a Superliga match. With that being said, I can say that my main goal for this year is to just become an even better rider. I will hopefully develop very well with the help of my new club. I’ve seen them make a lot of great speedway riders and I hope to be the next one. The main thing that they are going to help me with, is my starts and I hope to get them to be perfect every time. I hope this will help me to get to the top of the 1. Division and hopefully I will get the opportunity to try a Superliga match or two.
I’ve also got some individual races in both Denmark, Germany and hopefully, depending on Coronavirus, Italy and Slovenia. As it is looking at the moment, there will be only the Under-21 Danish championship and Fritte Cup in Denmark. This means we can hopefully go to more other countries for racing. I hope to qualify for both the Under-21 Danish championship again and also Fritte Cup. If I qualify again, then I hope it is possible for me to get into top seven at least at both meetings, maybe slightly better. I’m only 18 so I still have got some years to go. For Germany and the other countries, I actually haven’t got any specific goals other than winning.
– As I watch your performances, it’s clear that you have a huge potential but sometimes you have a bit of trouble in showing off your skills. Could you name a reason of that?
– The real reason behind having trouble sometimes, getting to show my full potential is only myself. Yes sometimes it’s because we have some failures with the bikes, but in the end I will always have to top perform every time before I blame something else. Due to it only being my second year, we are still testing what will fit me the best and help me get to my full potential. Last year we switched to Baby OFC engines and saw a big difference in both the style I rode and how fast I could go. Then when I tried at meetings, as well as practice, to go on my older engines, it just seemed like I could not make it go as fast as the new engines. This made me lose some points here and there, but I had to try to find out why it did not work.
– There is a person in your team that the fans in Poland know very well. Do you believe it can help you achieve better results?
– This year we will still try some new things and if it’s going to work or not… I don’t know, but in the end I will hopefully learn a lot and go faster. Luckily I have got my Russian mechanic Roman Povazhny, who was a professional speedway rider and mechanic for people such as Emil Sayfutdinov, Max Fricke and more. He has definitely helped me develop a lot and made me try some things we would never have thought about ourselves. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, and that is just how speedway works.
– You didn’t get called up to the national team. Disappointed? Did you talk to the manager, why?
– I did speak a little with the national team manager, but never about getting on the team. Of course I am a little disappointed in myself, but I just reckon Denmark has got some great riders and you really have to do something crazy to get seen. I have really been working my ass off this off-season to get in a better physical condition and I just hope I will surprise a lot of people, and that more people will know my name after this year. I will work harder and do my best to impress the Danish manager and hopefully get a spot for next year.
– How does your garage look like this year?
– For this year we’ve built three bikes, the same as last year and then I will only be riding the Baby OFC engines, from BAR engineering, which I’m really looking forward to. I have also got a lot of new tools and tools boxes from my sponsor TECOS.
– Why didn’t you sign any contract in Poland? Wasn’t there any interest or offers were unsatisfactory?
– I have not signed any contract in Poland, because no one contacted me yet, but we have spoken with a Polish team manager and will go for a practise as soon as the country opens. I hope this practise can result in bigger attentio, from Poland and I will do my best to impress them as much as possible.
– Do you feel that you are good enough to get into the Polish speedway league?
– I feel like I’m up for the challenge. Last year I rode in Krško where I competed against I think at least one guy from the Polish league and I have beaten him. This of course does not mean that I can beat anyone of them, but I think that I’m ready. I just need to get the chance.
– Did you have any offers from the United Kingdom or Sweden?
– As I said earlier in the interview, I’ve got a 3 year contract in Denmark, in the Outrup/Varde Speedway club, and I would be lying if I said I did not have any other offers. I just feel like this is the right decision and I hope this will help me get all the way to the top. Other than Denmark I’ve also got a contract in Germany for Parchim. I’ve been riding there since the start of my speedway journey and I’m enjoying it every single time I come there to ride. Last year I had also planned that I was going to the United Kingdom for a practice weekend with a team, but this unfortunately did not happen, due to the coronavirus. I just hope that this year it will be possible to go over there and have some rides. Another speedway rider actually offered me to come over there and he would let me borrow his bikes for some practise, so hopefully that will be possible.
– What about sponsors? Do you have any or are you just paying for everything by yourself?
– I have about twenty sponsors, both small and big, and I could not have done it without their help. I need some more for next year though. I’ll need more, because I’ve used everything throughout a little more than half a year. I’ve also paid a lot of money myself, and with the help of my parents, I wouldn’t be able to be as fast as now without them.