The Orbea Fox Enduro Team has strengthened itself this year incorporating an outstanding rider who joins us backed by his three-time runner-up overall results in the Enduro World Series. His name is, Damien Oton.
“I’m the fastest plumber on a bike”.
Damien jokes referring to his job before turning into one of the great enduro riders. After a wretched 2019, with a broken back and scaphoid, the French rider (32 years old) is here to lead the team to podium positions.
How did you decide to join the Orbea Fox Enduro Team?
After a tough year due to injuries, I needed some motivation to get back into the competition. When Orbea got in touch with me, I didn’t hesitate. I don’t know, perhaps it’s influenced by the fact that we both have our roots close to the Pyrenees (Damien lives in a French town near Perpignan). I’m convinced we have a bright future together.
How were your first days in the new structure?
I visited the Orbea factory in Mallabia, in the Basque Country, so that we could meet each other and plan the season. We were greeted like royalty. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Orbea is a cooperative and everyone’s involved in the decision making. I found it very interesting and I would encourage other companies to do the same.
How do you undertake your role for next season?
Orbea signed me on as the team’s first rider. I’m aware of the responsibility and I want to show everyone that I’m back again. My aim is to be regular throughout the entire season and go all out to get the Rallon on to the podium in the EWS events. I also hope to give my younger teammates some advice for the team to evolve at the highest level.
You’ve been in the team structure for a short time. What are your initial feelings?
I feel that we’re in good company. For example, our mechanic, Javi Lorenzo, is a genuine bike fan who’s always on the look out for the smallest details. Then there’s Primož Štrancar who’s in charge, an ex-rider who also competed in the EWS and knows what we need to succeed. I can’t wait for our first Team Camp to find out more about the team and my teammates.
We’re sufficiently familiar with your track record, but if you had to define yourself as a biker…
I think my key strengths are my regularity and my ability to adapt to any situation.
From everything you’ve achieved so far, what would you keep?
Although it’s not sport, my greatest pride is my daughter Joy. She’s wonderful. I’m also proud of the success I’ve achieved in my transition from plumber to sportsman (laughs). Now I’m the fastest plumber there is on a bike. Steve Peat was also a plumber, and a legendary rider… But seriously, the race that left its mark on me was the EWS event in Valloire in 2014. I came in second, and that’s when I knew I could be amongst the best of them and had to believe I could do it. A week later, I won my first World Cup race in La Thuile (Italy).
What’s Damien like when he gets of his bike?
My wife Laurie says I’m grumpy, and I agree (laughs). I’m very hyperactive, I get bored easily, I’ve got to keep moving around and change what I’m doing quickly. I’m fond of music and I love to play the guitar. I want to be a rock star after my sporting career (laughs). I also like motorbikes, snowboarding, rallies, etc.
A sentence to motivate those riders who follow you…
If you really want something, you can achieve it.
Damien Oton’s track record
- – 2 nd EWS general overall classification – 2018/ 2016/ 2014
- – 1 st Mega Avalanche – 2018/2017
- – 2 nd EWS Finale Ligure 2018
- – 3 rd EWS Manizales & Ainsa 2018
- – 5 th EWS La Thuile & Olargues – Montagnes du Caroux 2018