Photo: Todd Gutierrez
These “Privateer Showcase” interviews presented by Race Tech Suspension at MotoXAddicts tell the stories of the guys in the trenches week in and week out trying to chase their dream of racing professional Supercross. While the riders at the front of the pack get the money, the T.V. time and the glory that goes with it, there’s a huge pack of guys just hoping to get a spot inside a factory semi. We tell their stories.
This week’s “Privateer Showcase” interview is with the top performing true privateer in the 450MX class at Hangtown and one of the overall top performing privateer over the last handful of years, Freddie Noren. Originally from Sweden, Freddie has been battling factory riders on privateer equipment—minus a few brief stints with teams—since he first arrived in the US back in 2011 and more than holding his own.
At the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motcoross Championship opener and the Hangtown National, Freddie and his wife—who was his mechanic last weekend—were the top performing privateer effort in the 450MX class. After Freddie’s 13-15 score for 15th overall, we caught up with the Freddie in the pits to talk about his Hangtown performance and his 2017 effort.
Freddie, the 2017 Hangtown National is in the books. Talk about how you’re feeling about your day.
My day was overall a good day. I always want to have better results. I’m not super happy with the results; I went 13-15 for 15th overall. Overall, it was a good race. It was the first race of the year. I had two solid motos, I’m not injured and I have a great group of people helping me. God has blessed me with a lot of things, so I’m fortunate and happy about that. I can’t really complain a whole lot. I’ll learn some things, regroup and work on it a little bit.
I just got done walking the track, and it’s chewed up like I’ve never seen here. There are literally back breaking whoop sections inside the ruts.
The track was, for sure, pretty gnarly. It was a technical, hard and rough track. It was good, though. I liked it. It’s the great outdoors, and it’s supposed to be rough and crazy as hell. I think they did a good job on the track. They made some changes before the second moto—they took away a little small whoop type section—which helped the track out.
How much of a shock to the system is it going from the mild weather nights of supercross to the hot and rough 30 minute plus two lap motos of motocross? Are your hands and everything else on your body going to hurt tomorrow?
Oh yeah, tomorrow is going to be a rough day. My hands are blistering up and it will be a rough day, but it’s Sunday, a recovery day. I’ll hang out, go to church and spend time with our friends and family. We’ll get back at it on Monday. Like you said, it’s the first race after SX and it’s hard, but it’s hard for everyone. It’s hard for everyone.
What’s your program like in 2017?
As of right now, I’m doing it on my own type of deal. Chris Cole and his family are helping out a lot. They have the trailer we’re using, and he’s going to the first three rounds with me. Amy [Freddie’s wife] is helping out with everything she can, and this weekend she was my mechanic. We’ll be getting a guy on Monday and he will start helping out with the wrenching a little bit. I couldn’t do it without my sponsors. Buddy Brooks will be helping out on the East Coast. He’s getting my race motors built. We didn’t have a whole lot of time, so today I raced on my practice bike. It’s just a stock bike with a Yoshimura exhaust and some race fuel pretty much. The new ’17 Honda is really good, so I’m not complaining, but it will be nice to get Buddy’s motors soon.
There were some rumors that you could end up on the vacant Factory Honda. Is there any chance of that happening or getting some help from the team?
Oh, I don’t know. I haven’t heard anything about it. Unless someone else gets hurt, there’s not a spot over there, and I don’t want anyone to get hurt. Anything can happen at any time, so we’ll see if an opportunity will come up with a team during the outdoors. We’ll just keep on plugging and doing what we’re doing. Right now I don’t have a contract with anyone since we’re doing our own little program. After Colorado, Amy and I will go to South Carolina and stay up there, and then Josh Mosiman will take my race bike for me. That way we can fly to some rounds and drive to the close ones. It should be fun. It’s a lot of hard work for a lot of people, and the hard work we’re all putting in makes it a lot more special; that’s for sure. It’s also a lot of fun.
[I asked Amy about being Freddie’s mechanic] You’ve done a lot of wrenching for Freddie over the years. Are you planning on putting that resume in somewhere? (laughs)
No, my wrenching skills aren’t the best. They’re okay to get us through practice days and weekends, but I’m a lot better at doing the other things like booking travel, helping with money and sponsors, making sure he eats and that kind of stuff.
[Freddie] It’s no surprise the teams have so many people working for them. It’s a lot of work.
People don’t realize how much work even a privateer effort is. It’s more than loading your gear and bike and heading to the races.
It’s a lot of work for any team, but if you have more money, you can hire more people. For us, we don’t have a whole lot of funding. My wife is my mechanic, my travel agent, my cooker, my everything.
Thanks for the time Freddie, and good luck moving forward. Who are the sponsors you would like to thank for getting you to the races?
Yeah we want to thank Precision Site Work, TiLube, Honda, O’Neal, SIDI, XBrand Goggles, Dedicated Ride Co., HJC, Cole Equipment Rental, Renthal, Yoshimura, Tin Air, Dunlop, Seat Concepts, 139 Designs, Excel, SHOWA, South of the Border MX, ICW, Hinson, Storm Lake Honda, Peer Brothers Racing, VP Fuel, Rockwell Watches and MotoStuff.