Interview: Håkon Fredriksen – An MXoN surprise & Coupe de l’Avenir winner

What a few weeks it’s been for young Norway rider, Håkon Fredriksen who would have been a relatively unknown rider to quite a lot of people. However, the past few weeks he’s showed his speed and especially at the Motocross Des Nations.

Fredriksen finished eighth overall in the MXGP class at Assen which is very impressive considering he’s an EMX250 rider.

At the weekend he also contested the Coupe de l’Avenir and won two out of the three moto’s which helped Norway take the win.

We caught up with Fredriksen to discuss the past few weeks.

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Gatedrop: Håkon, it was a great day for you and Norway at the MXoN. Can you talk me through your moto’s at Assen?

Håkon Fredriksen: Yeah it was a good day for both me and team Norway. So, the first moto, I didn’t have the best jump out of the gate but managed to pass some riders and passed into 20th or something on the first lap. I knew it was going to be a long race so just kept going. As the moto went on I passed riders that I never passed before (laughs). When it said 12th on my pitboard i got some extra motivation –  I made passes into 9th. I made a gap on the guys behind me a little but couldn’t do anything with the 8th place.

In the second moto, again the jump over the gate wasn’t so good so I was 24t on the first lap I think. Rode up to 18th but got stuck behind a rider for 15 minutes. I had to pull off for googles twice but after that but I went from P20 to P17 on the last lap. The result gave me a 8th overall in the MXGP class!

Gatedrop: You raced the 450cc Yamaha in Assen and looked great on the bike. You’re a big guy so suit the bigger bike, did you have much riding time on the 450cc before Assen?

Håkon Fredriksen: I like both the 250cc and 450cc but I think the 450cc suits my riding style better, more power and you can ride a little bit more relaxed.  After the GP in sweden I put the 250cc away and started to prepare for Assen on the 450cc.

Gatedrop: Ninth in the first moto and it’s not like you had an amazing start, you had to work your way through the pack. How did it feel battling and passing top GP riders?

Håkon Fredriksen: That felt great. Yeah, the starts weren’t too good so I did a lot of passing but I think in those conditions we had a big advantage with the 450cc’s for sure. I passed some of the best 250cc riders in the world and that felt unbelievable!

Pic: Nigel McKinstry

Gatedrop: What were you expecting from yourself at Assen, did you maybe surprise yourself?

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Håkon Fredriksen: I didn’t expect that I could be 8th in the MXGP class but I knew I could do good. I had a dream to get a top 10 in one moto but the goal was to ride inside the top 20 – in both moto’s I managed to do it. Yes, I definitely surprised myself.

Gatedrop: How did you find the track conditions, it looked tough out there with after all the rain? Are you used to racing these kind of conditions in Norway?

Håkon Fredriksen: Yeah, but I think the conditions suited team Norway and I feel I handle it good. I train a lot and I mean a lot of Enduro in the winter time in 2 meters with snow and only one rut! So, I was smiling when I wake up and saw the track!

Gatedrop: Norway were battling for a top six at one stage but in the end finished twelfth, are you happy with that result as a nation? It’s not bad for such a small country.

Håkon Fredriksen: We are definitely happy about that. Our goal was to qualify and the rest we just took as a bonus! But of course, Norway and Sweden are rivals in almost all kind of sports so it was extra good to beat them (laughs).

Gatedrop: It was another great day at the Coupe de l’Avenir winning the open overall, you must be pleased! Can you talk me through your day?

Håkon Fredriksen: Yeah, the day went good with team Norway ended up winning the open class and I won the individual open class.
Moto 1, a really slippery track made it a one liner. I had an okay start and fought my way to p1 for a second but made a mistake and went down hard in a step down. Came back from p6 to p4.
In moto 2, a good jump over the gate but ran too wide in the corner to pull the holeshot! P3 on the first lap and made some early passes and ended up winning with 15 seconds.
Moto 3, a good start again but tried to go tight in the first corner. Crashed with another rider and worked my way from dead last to P1 in 15 minutes. Made a gap and controlled the race!

Gatedrop: On next year, have you got any plans yet?

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Håkon Fredriksen: We aren’t 100 percent sure what we are going to do yet but I’m riding the ADAC SX for Becker racing this year.

Gatedrop: Do you see yourself racing more with the 450cc now after such an impressive weekend in Assen?

Håkon Fredriksen: That would be super cool. I got some offers but nothing is sure yet.

Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank or anything else to add?

Håkon Fredriksen: I want to give a special thanks to my dad, my mum for helping me with everything! The Gundersen family,  it would not be possible without them! Yamaha Scandinavia, Becker racing and all my other sponsors!

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pics: Nigel McKinstry