The 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Series was an action-packed affair, with arguably the most stacked and talented group of riders the 450 class has seen in years. With so much talent lining up for each moto, achieving top ten results became that much more difficult—especially for privateers. One such privateer is 450-class journeyman Freddie Noren, who, despite missing three mid-season rounds because of a wrist injury, finished out the series 19th in the final 450-class standings. We asked the likable and friendly Swede now living and racing in the U.S. for his take on the 2021 outdoor season and what's in store for "Fast Freddie" in 2022. Here's what he had to say.
EVS Sports: You had a few changes coming into the 2021 season, moving from the now-defunct JGR Suzuki squad to a privateer effort with Team Ikthus CBD/Cole Racing. You switched to a KTM 450 and, you and your wife also had another child in March. You had a busy year!
Freddie Noren: Yeah, we just had our second daughter in March of this year. One of my friends was always telling me, 'just wait until you have two, that's when parenting really starts,' and that's for sure [laughs]. But it's so awesome. I'm able to do what I love but still bring my family with me, which is pretty cool. They go with me wherever I go, which is pretty neat.
EVS: What are you up to now that the outdoor series is over? Any fun plans for the offseason?
FN: Yeah, so I'm back here in Charlotte now. We stayed at a place after Hangtown in California at my friend's place, and then we came back here after that. So right now, I'm just hanging out. I just bought myself a 250 two-stroke. Actually, Chad Reed's old 250 two-stroke. I shouldn't say old; it has like 30 hours on it and looks like brand new. But it's a 2020, so I'm going to have some fun on that one this Fall.
I actually have a race coming up this weekend in P.A., the Travis Pastrana Pro Challenge at Pleasure Valley Raceway. It's a fun race, and that's what I love with the off seasons in the Fall. At the end of the day, I love racing or riding my dirt bike, so you get these fall races that are more for fun. That's why I bought the two-stroke. I mean, I'm always competitive, but it's not about being super competitive. For me, it's more about having fun in the Fall. And the fun thing with the 250 two-stroke is, I can race four classes on one bike, which is awesome [laughs].
So it's fun, and I'm looking forward to the offseason. Most people get off their bikes. They don't want to see their bike. But I'm a little different, I guess. I like to ride still. But now it's more about just going slow and throwing whips and having a good time.
EVS: The offseason has to be important for high-level racers like you these days because of the schedule and training regimen riders must maintain to race at the highest level. This year was probably the deepest field we've seen in years. A top 10 finish was difficult this year in the 450 class. Having that break in the offseason has to be even more important, so you don't get burned out. Like you said, get back to having some fun, which is why we all started riding dirt bikes in the first place.
FN: Exactly, yeah, I definitely wouldn't argue, saying that it's been the toughest season. I mean, no one's retiring, really. And then we have 250 guys coming up, adding guys to the 450 class. The 250 class is really fast as well, but I think the 450 class is the toughest it's been for as long as I've raced it.
EVS: Overall, would you say your season went well? In some of your videos, you've admitted it was a tough year for you, although you probably would have been a little higher up in the final standings had you not missed three rounds mid-season because of a broken hand.
FN: Yeah, I broke my hand just before Washougal. I tried to ride Washougal, but that was before I knew it was broken. But, yeah, it was definitely a tough year for me. The switch to a KTM, which of course, I think the KTM is a great bike, and I'm staying on it for next year. We just didn't have the time to get the bike dialed. I really struggled the whole summer trying to dial it in. I'm now at the end of the year, and I'm still not comfortable on the bike yet.
So, I'm kind of bummed on that. I had high hopes for this summer because I've been 10th three times, eighth another year, and I almost had a podium last year at Loretta's, so I was excited to come into this year and have a good year. It's just, I couldn't get this thing [bike] to work for me, so I'm going to continue working on that. I'm trying to look at the positives and not get too upset. I had a little bit of bad luck, but that's just how it goes. Sometimes it's not always easy; let's put it that way. We'll just recharge.
EVS: Having your family as a support system has to make it easier to go through a race season. As you said, you can look at the positives, knowing you have your family and a dedicated group of sponsors behind you. Would you say that's the case?
FN: I mean, I have 100% focus on racing, for sure, but whenever you get too concerned about results, it's nice like you said, there's a support system, and you can kind of take a step back and look at the bigger picture of life, that it's not all about work. I have an amazing family. The Lord truly blessed me with that.
And then for me, this was the first year I did a video series called Fast Freddie, and we had 29 episodes and got a lot of great feedback for that from fans and people. So although my results were not what I was hoping for this year, I had a lot of great moments outside of the results, in a sense, because I've had a ton of people at the races yelling, 'Fast Freddie, we love your series!' So that was a good highlight of the season to be able to bring people along and take them more behind the scenes. That was fun. Then, Motocross Action liked it so much, they took over the series for the summer, which is pretty cool. But I'm back on my own YouTube channel now.
EVS: Yeah, the blog series was such a great idea because most race fans love seeing that raw, behind-the-scenes footage. It's great to hear it was well-received.
FN: Yeah, for sure, I was pumped. It's funny; I know that doing any type of social media is good for sponsors and will help grow my name. But what really made me want to do the series is because of a guy named Matt Jones, a mountain biker from the UK. My oldest daughter loves to watch his YouTube channel. I would put on him, and she would just stare in front of the TV and eat her breakfast. So, I thought, 'I should just make my own blog or video series and see how it goes.'
I'm happy people had a great time following along. It's fun to see comments and that people really enjoyed it. So people can look forward to seeing more of those in the future. I'm going to try and bring people along on my everyday stuff, like how I just got dirt delivered from a neighbor yesterday. We'll film everything, and I'll do a video, probably building a pump track, riding the two-stroke, and other odds and ends—a little bit of everything. So, I think it should be good.
EVS: Yeah, for sure, that's good stuff. Videos where you're building your track or out having fun riding your two-stroke, it's more of a "day in the life" of Freddie Noren.
FN: Yeah, we had a couple episodes when I was injured where my graphics guy Paul at Armored Graphics needed help, so when I got injured, I went in and filmed there so people could see everything that goes on. Whenever I get injured, I have to work [laughs], so I guess it's fun for people to see what it's like for a guy like me who's in the 10th-ish spot.
EVS: How are things looking for 2022? Will you be on the same team and bikes going forward?
FN: Yeah, so Cole Racing, the team owner, he's a friend of mine that wanted to help out for the summer. That's why I made the switch to orange, so we're going to continue building this program. We're going to tweak some things and try to be better, but yeah, that's what we're looking to do is continue this program that we've started. Actually, most years, there are major switches going on, like changing bikes mid-season [laughs]. This will be the first year I have a bike to start riding Supercross on in October. So, I'm ahead of the curve for myself this year.
EVS: Freddie, thank you so much for your time today. What are some of your favorite EVS products that you use throughout the year while racing and training?
FN: I wear EVS MX Socks, and I switched to the TP199 Knee Pads mid-summer this year. I was wearing knee braces before, then I switched to the pads mid-summer. I really like the TP199 knee pads—they're awesome. I've always been the type of guy who likes small braces, which is why I loved the EVS knee braces because they're small with good protection. I just love the EVS brand, and the TP199 pads are awesome, so that's what I've been wearing for a couple months now, and I'll probably continue to do that. And the socks are absolutely the best socks I've ever had. There haven't been any socks I've worn that have been as good as EVS!
Interview by Dale Spangler
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