Check out this five-minute interview with Bradley Freeman. The Junior and E1 World Champion will pound up for the senior category this season.
Interviewer: Did you expect to win this season, your first year in the senior ranks?
Brad Freeman: “We laugh about it now but it is quite funny to think that’s how we were seeing the season ahead. I didn’t expect anything, if I’m honest. I didn’t expect to win anything at the start of the year. Honestly. When I made the contract with the Boano team normally you get bonuses for podium places but I actually asked for fourth and fifth positions to be in the contract because I didn’t think I’d be on the podium even. Obviously I trained harder and I’m riding a bit faster but literally I think it is just growing up.”
Interviewer: From winning the Enduro Junior world title to moving up to E1 and competing with the big boys is a BIG step but you pulled it of big time, what you put that down to. It seems like you took three steps forward not just one?
Brad Freeman: “A lot of it is mindset, that’s what I’d put it down to really. Last year I’d have a fast test but then I’d crash in one or make a mistake and lose my head a bit and it just snowballs in those situations. I don’t really know what it is down to. I think last year I had some of the pieces but didn’t really put them together. I think part of that was just growing up and maturing. This year I’ve just learnt to hold it together more even if I’m having some problems. Like in Arco (round five) when I lost my chain in the special test, you have to understand that these things happen and you’ve got to just deal with it. Obviously I trained harder and I’m riding a bit faster but literally I think it is just growing up.”
Interviewer: Your relationship with the Boano team must play a role too. How does it work? Did you create a strong relationship last year and build on that this year?
Brad Freeman: “This year I’ve integrated more with the team, I live with or near the team, I see them every day. I go training with the other guys, on the bike, off the bike, I go eat in Jarno’s house (Boano team manager) a couple of days a week – it’s almost like it isn’t a team anymore, when we come to the race it’s a bit like being at home. I think I’ve been to my actual home in the UK for about two weeks this year. Yeah, last year I started with everything new: new team, new bike, I’d never even been to Italy before! All of that was new and I was travelling to and from Italy to home, because I didn’t feel that comfortable there yet and didn’t know everybody.”
“It’s one thing having a really good bike but it is another thing to have a good team. When I looked at the results last year, my good results where I went 1-1 were the ones where I’d been with the team for two weeks or whatever training and living with them. It was just easier. So this winter I spoke with Jarno to see if I could just try it, because I’d never done it before, last year was my first professional year as a rider, before that I was working five days a week. I knew if I wanted to take that next step I needed to stay with the Boano guys and be part of that family. I’ve started to speak the language a bit and it has worked. I’m looking forward to a couple more years with the team.”
Interviewer: So you’re signed for two years with the Boano team?
Brad Freeman: “Yeah, that’s the plan to see if we can go one more step next year. I’ll be honest before I signed with the team I thought you needed to be in a factory team to win the world championship. But I understand now it’s not really true.”
“People say it but until you do it you don’t believe it. It’s one thing having a really good bike but it is another thing to have a good team. Maybe some teams in the paddock have good bikes but maybe the team structure isn’t quite so perfect but this team is amazing. I haven’t had to ask for anything, everything I’ve needed I’ve got and I’m stood here now having ridden for two years and we’ve got two world championships.”
Interviewer: If you could pick out a highlight from the year what would it be?
Brad Freeman: “Estonia was obviously a highlight with my first win in EnduroGP but I think I’d go Portugal. Last year I finished fourth and first and I was so uncomfortable, I had nothing for the guys in the Junior class there. In a whole year of racing I’ve not only won the world championship but I have learnt so much.”
Interviewer: What are the things you have learnt this year, good or bad?
Brad Freeman: “The main thing also is to keep it going next year and keep having fun. It’s not really one thing to be fare. It is all those things we’ve been talking about, growing up as professional and working with the team. One thing that does change this year is the condition of the track in the tests. When you’re in the Juniors there’s already a line, it’s already bedded-in. But in the seniors it’s not. In Spain I was one of the first there for example and there wasn’t a line or anything at all in some places. It’s really weird to get used to as a rider being first or nearly first on the track.
“It’s a bit crazy still to be racing and beating the guys that two years ago I was aiming to be like as a pro rider. People like Steve [Holcombe], Remes, Larrieu and Salvini. In a whole year of racing I’ve not only won the world championship but I have learnt so, so much. It has been an invaluable year.
Who would think that the Beta Boano Racing rider jump straight into the seniors for a title contender? Brad Freeman took three rounds to claim his first senior win after winning also in E1 class for ten consecutive. It’s been a stellar 2018 year for Freeman after improving day after day and growing also for the love of competition.