Few days after a great final in Germany that saw Brad FREEMAN (GB – Beta Boano) clinched his first E1 title, we had a chat with him, talking about his season and the future…
Hello Brad, how do you feel as the new E1 World Champion?
Brad FREEMAN: “It feels incredible! It’s really a dream come true… something I never ever expected! It’s crazy to think I’m te E1 World Champion, following in the footsteps of some of my hero’s like Antoine MEO and Ivan CERVANTES! Winning a world championship is an unbelievable feeling, but to do it in my first senior year against all odds is absolutely insane. We worked hard this winter and showed this year we were ready to fight at every race, and now I’m a two-time world champion… it’s incredible!”
What was the “original” plan, coming into this first year in a senior class?
B.F: “The original plan coming into 2018 was to learn! Last year I won the Junior World Championship in my first year racing the EnduroGP championship. I knew I still had a lot to learn and so had my expectations really low. I hoped to go on the podium in the E1 class and fight for some Top 5 results in EnduroGP! But when training at the start of this year I could see I started taking steps ahead to better myself! The speed was getting better, but I also started to grow up and that has been a big part to my success!”
When did you realize that you had a real shot for the title in E1?
B.F: “Honestly at the start of the year at the first race in Finland I knew it was going to be difficult to fight for the world championship, but for some reason I was really confident… confident in my own ability. I really surprised myself and everyone in Finland with my results, and from there my outlook completely changed. I knew if I worked hard and gave 100% I could fight for the championship. In Spain at Round 2 I had some mediocre results but was really hungry and motivated for my first senior class win! Then one week later in Portugal I finally got it on Day 2! That was an amazing moment and one I’ll never forget! From a complete rookie with an outside chance at winning, we were right back in the championship fight! I think after the Supertest in Portugal was the first moment I believed I could go and win the E1 World Championship! I was disqualified for a mistake of the officials… but that really lit a fire inside me that said no, YOU CAN DO THIS! From there I won Day 2, and 10 consecutive wins to finish the championship as World Champion! Absolutely crazy!”
You are joining Matthew PHILLIPS as the only two riders to win consecutively the Junior World title and a Senior crown…
B.F: “That’s crazy to think! I can’t believe I’m reading that right. My first EnduroGP race was in France 2013, the day Matthew PHILLIPS won the Junior World Championship with Husqvarna. I looked up to him so much… because he won that championship in his first year, and then followed it up the next year winning the E3 crown! He was like my idol. I always wanted to do something like that, and I loved how unique Matt was and how much he brought to the series. It’s crazy to think I’ve just done the same thing! It really shows you only need a dream and a lot of hard work to make it a reality!”
“Jarno BOANO changed my life!”
You always seem to enjoy every race and every moment. How can we make Brad FREEMAN angry?
B.F: “Yes it’s true, anybody that knows me will say that I need to have fun to perform at my best! It’s just the way I work. The life I live now as a professional enduro rider was always my dream and so I am going to enjoy it to the fullest! It’s crazy to think in 2016 I was a privateer working as a scaffolder… now I’m a two time World Champion! Things change fast but I’ve been so fortunate with how things have worked out. I found a team that I clicked with straight away and we have formed one of the best relationships in the paddock. How can you make Brad FREEMAN angry? Honestly, I don’t really know! The Supertest in Portugal was very close! But no, honestly, I’m just enjoying every single moment! Who doesn’t want to be a professional rider on a world championship team? I’m having the best time of my life and it’s not stopping anytime soon!”
2019 is fast approaching now and everybody is asking the same question… Will you still be with the Beta Boano team?
B.F: “Yes for 2019 I will again stay with the Beta Boano team! A lot of people are asking that question and it’s because of the old theory that you need to be on a factory team to win. Well let me tell you now that is really not true! I’ll be honest I thought that too… but I’ve found out first hand that it’s not. All you need is a good bike, and a great group of people all willing to work 100% for the same goal as you. And with Beta Boano I have that in plenty! Every single person on the team wants to win as much as me, and they will do anything to help achieve it. My Team Manager Jarno, took a risk with me for 2017 taking me to the Junior World Championship… I was an English rider with no experience and didn’t speak Italian, wanting to be World Champion. After 2 years of hard work we have a relationship far beyond the team. And 2 World Championship titles. I can’t thank him enough for what he did… he changed my life! Without that opportunity who knows where I would be now? But this team is one big family, and I love that. Now I live in Italy close to the team, I see the guys every day and have a good laugh! My mechanic Tino is the best mechanic in EnduroGP, I trust him 100% and everytime my bike is perfect. Deny PHILIPPAERTS is a great friend and has helped endlessly over the past 2 years, I have a lot to thank him for. Just everybody on that team is a great person, and I really feel at home there. It’s not a factory team but we have something that those teams don’t!”
What’s the next step? EnduroGP Champion?
B.F: “The next step for me is to keep having fun! That’s been my goal so far and it’s turned out pretty well! For next year I would love to defend my Enduro 1 World Title and push for the EnduroGP overall win! It’s a big step but I feel like with hard work and the right mindset we can fight for the championship! Honestly, I just want to continue growing as a rider because I feel like I have more yet to give, and then I’ll be happy!”