Brad Anderson was the convincing winner of the EMX300 championship in 2017, winning six of the 10 motos. He’s back this year to defend his EMX300 title on his Verde KTM so we sat down with him between motos in Valkenswaard to catch up.
Dirt Bike Rider: Brad, a very successful year winning the EMX300 title in Switzerland. What have you been doing since then?
Brad Anderson: Yeah we finished on a high. I got top three in all the EMX rounds, which was good and consistent. I had a month off going into the winter then started training again. We didn’t get the new two-stroke until quite late, so we haven’t done much riding on it, with the weather being bad too. We did get out to do some testing with Steve Clitheroe and the team but not much.
DBR: Has the bike changed much since last year?
Ando: I used the 300 in practice but I came off and had a big crash, so I had to come in and use the spare bike, which is a 250. I crashed on the big double and went over the bars, which wasn’t a nice experience, and I was lucky to get up without injuring myself too much. [Ando rode most of the session without a helmet peak].
DBR: We’ve just had the first race here in Valkenswaard. It looked like you got held up a little behind James Dunn.
Ando: I got quite a good start but Mike [Kras] came across me and I had to back off a bit but its racing. Dunny [James Dunn] was in front of us but I caught him up and he held me up a bit. The other two [Kras and eventual winner Greg Smets] were going really well and pushing it. I thought to myself, third’s better than coming off and finishing way down the field. Obviously, there’s tomorrow to fight for and considering my circumstances with crashing and hurting my neck I’m happy with third.
DBR: So you strategically backed off?
Ando: You couldn’t really push. The first two were so far away when I got past Dunny – I decided to settle for third. But hopefully tomorrow we’ll get out the gate and win it and win the overall, that’s my plan.
DBR: The championship is quite spread out this year with the last round at Imola in September. What are you doing in between EMX races?
Ando: I’m doing the British championship on a 450 again, doing the EMX300 and maybe some MX Nationals on the two-stroke, just trying to keep busy and active through the year.
DBR: Focusing on the EMX300 championship, when we spoke last year at the first round you didn’t plan on going to Russia but after winning you decided to go. It was a bit difficult to arrange everything at the last minute but presumably, you’re sorted for this year?
Ando: We were lucky last year cos Tanel Leok helped us out big time. If we didn’t have Tanel we couldn’t have gone so I was lucky to have him. I gave him some money to take my bike and he drove it to Russia for us. Bob [Buchanan, GL12 Racing] helped us out too, getting the bike to Tanel in Estonia then I tagged along with Mike and the mechanic. This year they’ve sorted it out. They’ve brought the fuel here today because that gets shipped a lot earlier and the team are sorting the Russia job out whereas last year we didn’t have a clue – we weren’t planning on doing it.
DBR: So it should be a bit smoother this year?
Ando: I hope so. I just want to get in there, get the job done and get out *smiles*.
DBR: The team are having a big push on the EMX championships this year with you in 300, Todd Kellett in 250 and Dominic Lancett in 125.
Ando: It was in Italy that I saw Kellett. I liked him as a rider. I asked the team if they were looking for another top rider and they were thinking about it. They see the potential in Kellett and that’s when they made the decision. Recently they’ve just signed Lancett on the 125. He’s qualified today for his first EMX125 race.
DBR: Yes, he’s done well, only two British lads qualified.
Ando: Yeah its really good cos that class is tough. I think it’s a good team. Obviously, Kellett’s coming back from injury so I think it’ll take him a while to build up but the team put a lot of money in and a lot of time.
DBR: Will you be working with the younger riders and helping them?
Ando: Yeah, if they want some guidance I’ll try and show them. I don’t know, I think I’ll have a few years left so obviously the team want to look for younger riders.
DBR: Well since you mentioned it, there are a few older riders now still fast and pushing on. Chad Reed in America, Tony Cairoli’s just signed for two more years, Valentino Rossi in MotoGP, and you, all in your thirties whereas before riders would be retiring. What’s the secret?
Ando: I think as long as you still feel, and still want it and everything is running smooth, you’re training hard then its okay. If you need it and want it then you can keep on going. I think riders like Stefan Everts had a few more years left in him but he bowed out early, but you see Cairoli still strong last year and this year. I think he’s still got it in him to win.
DBR: So there’s still a few more years in Ando?
Ando: I’d like to if I feel like I’m still enjoying it. But if I’m not enjoying it or it’s costing me money, I can’t afford to do without money. I still need a few people helping us out, when that stops I’ll have to call it a day.