“I’VE been to Vegas and I do like a gamble, but this is the biggest and most ridiculous gamble I’ve ever taken.”
A little over a month ago, Ben Moore was a flower importer with a solid income and career prospects. Now, he has no job, no regular income and career prospects that are a virtual unknown.
But quitting the daily grind was a risk the 24-year-old from Corfe Mullen knew he had to take.
Not content with trekking to work in Fareham five days a week, Moore was desperate to achieve the goal he had longed for since childhood – to become a professional mountain bike rider – and no comfortable office job was going to stop that.
Reflecting on the past couple of months, Moore is acutely aware that many may regard his decision to leave as madness. But this is a man chasing a dream. He doesn’t care one bit.
“No one would think I used to be a flower importer,” said Moore.
“I was part of a team that spoke to people on farms in places like Kenya and Ecuador, worked out what crops they had and what we wanted.
“We’d deal with airlines to import the stock and then we’d distribute to supermarkets across the country.
“It was a fantastic job but it was something that I didn’t have a passion for and after a year there I was getting pretty good at the racing I was doing at weekends.
“You have to get up in the morning and want to go to work and I didn’t have that, whereas I’ve dreamt about being a professional mountain biker all my life.”
For Moore, the process of moving from one career to another has not been without significant sacrifice.
While the former Lytchett Minster School pupil has gratefully received backing from Poole-based shop Cycle Paths for six years, he has been far from overloaded with financial support.
As a result, Moore sold “anything I could lay my hands on”, including his car and bike equipment, all to fund six months of racing with the hope of getting noticed and offered a full-time contract.
But that Moore is even in a position to be targeting a professional deal is remarkable in itself.
Five years ago he had a huge accident on Upton Heath – one of his favourite haunts – and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Soon, the cost of the smash became clear.
“I snapped 12 bones and did my anterior cruciate ligament,” said Moore.
“I had three operations on my knee to make it better. My collarbone popped out, I broke ribs, my head was split open – and this was while wearing body armour.
“I wore a knee brace for about a year and it was agonising to watch my mates go out riding because I couldn’t do anything.
“As soon as it came off, that was it. I started racing and winning again.”
Fast-forward to the present day and Moore’s talents in enduro and downhill racing – his favoured disciplines – mean he is in a position to have a crack at his dream.
Aboard either his Giant Trance SX or Banshee Skythe, Moore negotiates practice routes around Dorset hoping that with every turn of the wheel, he is inching closer to success.
“If I can do this off my own bat without being fed money by parents or anything like that, it’s a gamble worth taking,” he said.
“If I end up broke, at least I’ve given it a go. I’d rather risk it now than wake up when I’m 35 or 40 and think, what if?”
- To find out further information about Moore visit his website, www.benmooreracing.co.uk, or twitter page, @Benmooreracing.