Fast Freddie, 65cc - English
Who's Freddie Bartlett?
Freddie is now 9 years old and lives in Borås. He lived in sweden until he was 3 years old, then moved to the UK and lived there until the age of 8 years old. Thats where it all started.
Breathes mx, good at school and very kind and friendly.
When did he ride for the first time?
Rode for the first time in Newquay, Cornwall England at 3.5 yrs old. On a field, 1980 pw 50 ! At 4 years old he snapped it in half, jumping big!
I've seen him ride, and I can agree that he's a very talented kid. How dedicated is he to this sport?
Freddie would ride every day if he was allowed. When its practise day he sits ready for hours waiting for his dad to finish work. He has his own routine in the camper, always checking everything is there. A little perfectionist. He has been watching mx since he was little on youtube and knows all about it and knows what he wants to become.
To get to this level, how often is he training? And, due to that, is there still time for school, homework and friends?
Freddie is great at school and always has been top of the class. He is now in swedish school one year ahead as he started year one at the age of five in England. In english class he is two years ahead..! We are very strict that he does his homework. It was hard for him to start the new school in sweden one year ago when we came back to Sweden, his swedish wasn't great and he was a little teased by some in his class. The main of his friends are at the mx track, they are mx kids and sometimes its hard to relate to the avrage kids. Feddie is very mature for his age.
For those who don't know, as a parent, you need to spend a lot of time on this. Not only at the tracks, but you've to maintain the bike.
Do you, Sebastian, have a history in MX?
Sebastian, his dad, raced for 15 years in England, at national high school level and raced a few British championships.
How many hours do you spend at the tracks per week?
We spend around eight hours during the week, then train or race 1-2 days a weekend. So a minimum of 13 hours of training a week perhaps.
How many hours do you spend in the garage per week?
Seb is mostly in the garage.. He's a perfectionist with the bike and to keep it safe for Freddie who ride as he rides - a lot and hard. I'd say he spends six hours on avrage in there if nothing is broken. We are also renovating the house and have a three year old girl, so yes.. were busy.
As a parent, or family is it worth it? All the time, and money (cause it's an expensive sport)
Is the whole family in to this sport?
Can you sometimes think: is it really worth it? All this time at the track, all efforts, and instead spend the winter in the French Alpes and summertime at the beach in Spain. Could that be an alternative?
It's hard to do this sport, many times we have been so close to quitting because of money. But we can't, Freddie is such a talent and have so much passion for this, it would be heartbreaking. We just need more help and support.. Freddie only gets one shot at this and we want to help him. We live in our old VW LT35 without heating, water, toilet or fridge. We mostly go away as a family, mum Anna and sister Belle, a girl who loves being outside playing in the sand. In the summer we just took the camper and drove to England, with the bike. Stayed at some lovely camp sites and won the All British in England, but couldnt really say much because of Svemo. Its a big thing, the All British. He got to race with his old friends and did so well.
We combine our holidays with mx. We had a lovely time at Calais beach.
Do you, as a parent, have any goals for Freddy?
Our goals for Freddie are just to do his best, and have fun along the way. Of course, with all the effort everyone puts in, it would be great if he can get the help and support to race in the states. Thats definetly his goal anyway!
What are Freddy's goals?
Freddie also wants to get down to Holland and race ONK, and EMX 65, thats the goals now. His long term goals is to be MX2 and MX1 world champion.
You used to ride on a KTM, but this year you changed to Cobra.
Why did you change and is there any benefits riding a Cobra?
Cobra of Skandinavia approached us , looking for a rider for their 65-bike. Freddie tested it and loved it! They are amazing built bikes, and we wanted to do something different, and prove to people something else can be in the front of the competition. The cobra has more power, better suspension and it's just great quality. Freddie did like his KTM aswell, but liked to ride something different.
Are you getting any support? And, are you working a lot on sponsorship, media and so on? Is there a difference in culture, Sweden vs England, in companies supporting kids?
We get help with Kenny kit, support from Cobra of skandinavia, support from Kenda tyres, and we have 100% googles from our English sponsor. But as we all know diesel and entry is the main costs. Our camper is falling apart, the turbo pipe is held together with a Carlsberg beer can.. We don't get any help with that or any financial support at all, but we are very active on social media but never really approached by outside sponsorship.
Dad's working in construction and mum works part time at preschool, it's not like we have money to throw around.
What do you think about the swedish mentality/svemo and that kids shouldn't be competing (racing for points) early on?
We think the swedish mentality at Svemo is very strict and doesn't have to be. They control the kids, thinking they do the right thing. But, when you have kids like Freddie and many of his friends that want to go a long way in the sport, and try to do a few races abroad - they are the ones being held back. When Freddie was six, he was racing at National level with 40 kids on the line in the UK. He also won the Worldmaster kids in France, seven years old at that time. We can't even go back and do that now. We have asked for a release, so we can join another country, but they refused to give it, but we will see. Sweden is the only country that doesn't have kids at Des nations 65-team, which is a shame beacuse there are alot of talented boys here. To not let the 50cc start on a gate, and to get that practise is really bad. To not being able to collect points is also very strange. We understand the guidelines from Riksindrottsförbundet, but Svemo has really taken it to another level. We are not talking elit here, just a chance to be seen and gain experiance in Europe like all the rest. To keep Freddie here for another three years will make him go standstill, he wants to be challanged and ride against more riders.
What's the next step for Freddy in 2019? Will he still be riding the 65cc? And after the Cobra 65, are you back to KTM or can it be another brand when he steps up to 85cc?
We are not sure what the next step will be. Svemo is making it very difficult to stay in sweden but at the same time the tracks and set up is great here. Freddie has also made so many good friends in such short time here. All we want is a chance to go to where Freddie wants to ride. Freddie wants to do the EMX on a 65 , he would love to do a few ONK rounds or ADAC. But we have no idea what bike he will be on yet. He will train on a 85cc, we have an old KTM 2017 in the garage that keeps breaking. He was only nine in June this year so, a little too young for the 85cc yet for racing.
Are you gonna do some races outside of Sweden? Is the competition good enough in Sweden, or do you have to race in Europe to find that next level?
There is some competition in Sweden for Freddie, unfortunately we live far away and they move up to an 85cc next year. You need to be amongst many fast riders, not just one or two to become better. Its good to be beaten as well to develop.
In most countries, if you have an international license under 13 years you can compete in any country, but here in Sweden there is a rule saying that you can't compete here with that license. If we manage to get a release and ride for another country on a international license, Freddie wont be able to race here, even to he was born and live here. He has his own private insurance that covers mx internationally, as long as it's not for profit.
Text: Dan Höijer