Big weekend for Britain’s Brad Freeman – EnduroGP
The final round of the 2021 Borilli FIM EnduroGP World Championship is going to be a big weekend for Britain’s Brad Freeman (Beta). Leader of the EnduroGP and Enduro3 World Championship, Brad knows that he is one step away from putting the finishing touches to a superb season. We caught up with Brad to ask about his season so far, and to learn if winning this year’s EnduroGP title will erase his disappointments from 2020…
Brad, you’re one event away from securing the Enduro3 World Championship title, how are you feeling, all ready to go?
Brad: “Yeah, obviously I went into the GP of Portugal with a good points-lead, and managed to win again on both days there, so now we move onto France where I hope I can put the finishing touches to what’s been a good year. It’s been a long year, and a bit of a strange year, but it’s gone well. I always want to go out and try and win, so it’s a bit strange knowing that I am close to both Enduro3 and the EnduroGP titles.
Have you enjoyed the 2021 championship so far?
“It’s been great, but the speed of all the top riders has been crazy. With Josep, Wil, Steve, Andrea, and myself all pushing so, so hard, results are often coming down to who does best on the last couple of special tests. I think the pace is higher this year than any other year that I’ve raced in EnduroGP. It’s been some seriously hard racing, but it’s been fun. And I think it’s good for anyone following the racing, as you can’t be certain of who’s going to do what until the end of the day. I think it’ll be the same next weekend in France.”
Will we see a more conservative Brad Freeman at the GP of France?
“It’s so hard to say. It’s not an easy position to be in, but I will push as hard as I need to, as hard as I feel comfortable doing, and then we’ll see. I want to push for the overall win, that’s my style of riding, but I also know that the weekend is about much more than just that for me.”
Looking back at the season so far, where do you think you rode the best, and where did things not quite go the way you wanted them to?
“Like I said, this year has been the craziest I’ve been involved in. The level of competition is so high, there are so many riders all pushing to the limit. I struggled a little at the beginning of the season, but at the first round in Portugal I managed to turn things around. That win on the first day is something I’m massively proud of. And it was so, so important and set the direction for the rest of the year really. Another highlight was day one in Italy, and then in Sweden. I struggled on day one and knew I needed to turn things around. That’s what I managed to do, and I ended up 22 points ahead. Luckily, I’ve not had too many big issues, good speed with just some small mistakes.”
It wasn’t all that long ago that you were a junior in the EnduroGP series, what are your thoughts on today’s youngsters?
“It’s great to see some young riders really coming up. It’s a big, big jump when you move up into the senior classes, which is something that came as a shock to me. But the more riders there are battling for podium places the stronger the championship gets. There’s some good talent out there, that’s for sure.”
Would you say you’re a better rider now compared to last season?
“Yes. Last year was the hardest year I’ve ever had. In 2019 everything felt easy. A lot changed for me for 2020 and I guess even small changes can take a lot of adjusting to. I wasn’t riding like I wanted to, but I pulled it together and almost won at the end of the year. But it wasn’t an easy year. This year I’ve had to raise my game because everyone else is riding so well. So, yeah, I’d definitely say I’m a better rider this year.”
Who do you consider to be your toughest rival?
“Wow, that’s not an easy one to answer. Maybe Wil, he kind of come out of nowhere. Last year he was in the juniors, some results were strong, others not so strong. Then he moves into the senior classes and from the off is leading in Enduro2. That’s great for the sport, it’s always good that there’s another rider capable of winning, but it took me by surprise a little. It’s also great to have Josep back and competing alongside Steve, Andrea, and the rest of the guys. When it comes down to it, all the guys at the top of EnduroGP are tough to beat. It generally comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes.”
Conditions this weekend will be very different in France than they were in Portugal last weekend, do you enjoy racing in France, are you looking forward to it?
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to race in Germany this year, as that would have been one hell of a race. But hopefully we will in the future. Enduro events in France are always good, and I’m sure the final EnduroGP will be a fitting end to the series. I’m sure it’ll be tough, but it’ll definitely be a lot different to the sand in Portugal. I know what I need to do, so I just want to enjoy it and try and end the season positively.”
In the EnduroGP championship you’re the lone two-stroke rider at the top of the class. What is it about racing a two-stroke that works so well for you?
“I think everyone knows that some special tests and some terrains suit a two-stroke and others suit a four-stroke. But I think the best riders can manage this and do well on either. But the 300cc Beta is a great bike, I love it. When things get tight and technical, or muddy and rutted, a two-stroke is easier to ride. There’s no point worrying about what others are riding. I know I have a great bike and I like competing against the other guys on their four-strokes.”
If everything goes to plan this weekend, will winning help to erase the memories of what happened last year?
“What happened last year hit me pretty hard. I felt that defeat for a few months after the last round. But that was then, and now things are very different. I just want to do my best, and aim for wins in France, which, if I can do it will give me the EnduroGP title.”
Finally, what are you looking for from the Borilli FIM EnduroGP World Championship in 2022
“I really hope we can get back to eight rounds next year, that would be great. This year’s been good, but yeah, if we can get back to an eight-round series, with some harder races, spread out across the year, that would be great. The championship’s great and considering everything that’s gone on in the world over the last two years it’s great that we’ve had a six-round series, but more races, tougher races, that would be great.”