BROOKLYN, NY, OCT 24: “I’m taking a break.”
That was how Eric Bostrom described the “semi-spiritual” state he finds himself in as he moves on to the next chapter in his young life.
The youngest of the racing Bostroms made the decision to step away from racing-“It’s indefinite at this moment”-towards the end of the 2008 AMA Superbike Championship.
“I’ve kind of been kicking it around since the season ended and it just, you know… sometimes fate kind of presents itself and I think our farm needs a little bit of help right now," he said of the fruit farm he owns in Brazil with his brother Ben. "When we got involved it was supposed to be a kind of take care of itself thing, but it’s not working out that way. It needs a little more work. I guess it’s something I need to do. I’ll call it fate.”
The farm covers 6000 acres in Petrolina, one of Brazil’s leading fruit-producing areas on the north bank of the Sao Francisco River in northeastern Brazil.
“It’s a beautiful place where the farm’s at,” the soon-to-be 32-year-old said. “We’re going to grow some mangoes. We have some land that’s fallow right now that we could use to grow other crops. Brazil isn't really hip with the organic thing yet. We’d like to change their farming practices and see if we could make it successful on that front.”
The entire acreage isn’t being “farmed right now. And by no means do I want to farm all of it. But there’s a lot of opportunity and a ton of different paths we can take, so it’s pretty cool.”
But, in typical Bostrom fashion, he's yet to visit the farm.
“No I haven’t,” he said sheepishly. “It’s pretty bad. You’re ruining my whole story now. I’m flying there on Monday and I’ll return pretty quickly and get together a pretty full kind of plan after that. Right now we have to hire some people, some outside people, and have them evaluate it. And that’s what I’ll do when I’m down there and maybe have them point me in some direction with an educated business model.”
Bostrom said the last 20 years of his life have been dedicated to racing motorcycles and, though they’ve been wonderful, “sometimes you got to spread your wings a bit and so far it’s been great. I just feel like I have extra capacity upstairs to absorb information and the whole thing’s been…it’s been kind of, so far it’s been a great move for me. I’d say something I’m looking forward to."
Bostrom finished the AMA Superbike Championship in fourth place. His best finishes were a pair of thirds at Virginia International Raceway after Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Mat Mladin was disqualified from both wins. He also finished fourth at Infineon Raceway. The team began the season with encouraging progress early in the season, but it didn't go much farther. The problems he had at the start of the year weren't much different than what he finished with.
“It’s been semi-spiritual for me, in a weird way. I know that it sounds a little bit strange, because I basically have, for my entire life, had what most people in the industry would say is a dream job and I can’t disagree with that. Here I am kind of, not turning my back on it, but going in a different direction. I think Ben (Bostrom) showed this year that you can change your direction and as long as your motivation is there, there are World Champions like Troy Bayliss that are probably like eight years older than me. Basically, I’m saying we’re pretty lucky that in road racing we have a pretty long career. We have the possibility to come back if I desire to do so.”
And when will that be? “To be determined,” he said. “It depends on just how smoothly I can get things going. My plan right now is to spend quite a bit of time there, because I’ve always wanted to live in a foreign country and learn some foreign languages. I have a pretty good base with Spanish, but it’d be cool to learn some Portuguese and then kind of go from there.
“At some point In my life I’m definitely going to live in Europe too. I have to figure out how I’m going to get there. Maybe it’s a little overambitious at the moment.
“I couldn’t be happier, really.”