There were probably more than a few people at Hangtown wondering who was on the #80 KTM giving the legend Chad Reed a run for his money in both motos. It was none other than “Fast” Fredrik Noren, a Swedish rider who has been racing the Nationals here for a number of years. One of the friendlier riders in the pits (he’s Swedish, they’re all friendly, right?) Noren is travelling the circuit this summer with his girlfriend Amy as his mechanic (hands down the hottest mechanic out there by the way). You might have seen him put in some good results in the past, but Hangtown was his best ride yet.
“I got eighth in a moto at Washougal a couple of years ago but this is my best National start to finish,” Noren told us on the Pulpmx Show last night. “I got good starts and that helped out a lot. I was 16th after the second lap and I put myself into a good spot at the beginning of the race. I usually do pretty well at Hangtown and I like the dirt. I’ve always been pumped up to go race there.”
And what about battling with the 22?
“I was so stressed out from having Chad on me the whole time, I didn’t even look at the pit board! I put my head down and just tried to get to the checkers,” Noren said.
This year, Fast Freddie attempted to race Monster Energy Supercross for the first time, competing in the 250SX East Region. Obviously, growing up and racing in Sweden means the indoor stuff doesn’t come as easy, but he made the night shows and was learning the ropes until disaster struck.
“In Toronto, I cut inside a bit too much on that triple out of the corner and cased it pretty bad. And that snapped my wrist,” he explained. “I just wanted to try 250SX and it was a big learning experience for me and next year will be better because I know what I need to work on and I can adjust my training program.”
A 19th overall at Glen Helen coupled with this 12th overall at Hangtown gives Noren the best National start of his career. Noren attributes part of his improvement to a switch to KTMs after riding Hondas and Suzukis the last few years.
“Well, I like the KTM’s a lot, it’s really fast stock and I don’t have any money to put into my bike so I went with the KTM,” he says. “That’s one thing and I think another thing is I try to stay more focused and off the track all my sponsors are lined up. I try to stay consistent [in the motos] because in the past years I just went for it and pinned it the whole time. I’m trying to work the motos through and be solid the entire race.”
Having accomplished everything he could in Sweden, Noren started coming over to ‘Merica instead of the easier switch to the Grand Prix’s because in his words, “The USA was so much cooler and I think there are more opportunities to get somewhere over here.”
So if you’re at a National and see Noren’s yellow Chevy Express van somewhere back in the pits, go say hi to him and Amy. Although it’s never easy leaving your home country and living the privateer life, Fredrik Noren seems to be soaking it all in and enjoying the ride.
“I’m having a blast and I don’t regret coming here one bit.”