It would not be too surprising if you had not heard of Brad Todd prior to this season, although he did log consistent finishes in Britain last year. There is no doubt that you are familiar with the JK Yamaha rider now, however, following some impressive showings both in Britain and abroad. Heck, just last week he defeated Alessandro Lupino and Alvin Ostlund at an Italian race! Seeing as Todd is quickly moving up through the rankings, this seemed like an ideal time to learn more about his career.
MX Vice: I would imagine that this was the first season that you entered with fairly high expectations. Was that tough to manage, especially after your immediate success in Britain and EMX250?
Brad Todd: Yes, well, I left off last year by having a good consistent season, just missing out on fifth in the championship. I worked really hard over the winter, just making sure my fitness and speed was next level, so after the season started I was bang on the goals that were set. It was nice to get some more support off people after getting some results and a lot of people started to see the financial struggle, so when I got some help it was like pouring fuel on the fire for me.
Just recap your season as a whole for a second. There were obviously high points, but then some struggles along the way too.
Yes, well it all set off awesome. I was enjoying life and the results were following! I broke my scaphoid at Valkenswaard, which was a little bit of a step back, but I still raced the following weekend at the MX Nationals and came away with a 1-1 result. When I had the chance to heal and rest, I didn’t, mainly because I was on such a high that I felt it was not going to stop me. I stupidly went and done a local race for a bit of fun, clipped a rider and went down in a big crash. I tore the muscles in my shoulder and missed the next round of the Maxxis [British Championship] at Canada Heights, which I was so pissed about.
I then rested and healed up. We turned up at Hawkstone Park, but I was honestly so unfit and not ready. I needed to be there though. I had a bad day there with mechanicals, which was kind of lucky in a way, because I never would have finished the races going forward, then onwards from there it was a mix between me and machine. I did get some results, but nothing I was happy with myself.
Was one of your goals for this year to leave with full support for next year, which would allow you to travel around Europe etc. comfortably? I’m guessing that was quite stressful at points.
Exactly, it is always my goal to get as much help as possible. I spoke to Dickie at JK Yamaha most of the year. I introduced myself at Trentino and was in contact from then on. They helped me out when my mechanic, Brandon, and I were out surviving on our own the following week in Belgium. They gave us a place to stay and showed us places to ride out there, which was awesome.
When things were not going to plan I was getting so down about it all, I was honestly about to call it a day. I sat down with my Mum and Dad and agreed that this was going to be the last year and then I would be done racing at a high level. For what my parents done for me as a child and growing up, I said I would never take a penny off them for racing again. It just so happened there was a deal creeping up where I would not need to worry about the bikes financially.
Was the JK Yamaha deal clearly your best offer or did other teams show interest? Did you come close to going elsewhere?
Yeah, I honestly needed somewhere that could take me to all the EMX rounds. It just opens up so many more opportunities for you riding at those. I had other British teams looking my way, but I was kind of certain this was the route I was going to choose.
Was there any talk of you doing the MX2 series next year or were you always going to race in EMX250? Obviously you did that final round in MX2 this year…
There was indeed the French MXGP, which I did as kind of a try out. But, unluckily for me, it was a wash out, so nothing went my way that day. The ride I have now is the full EMX250 series and selected GP races that do not clash, then obviously the Maxxis [British Championship] as well. But, anything can happen, we will just see how the winter training goes.
In an ideal world, would you move on from EMX250 to MX2 in 2019? What do you think you can achieve in that series next year?
Yes, well it is something I have been thinking about. The deal I have now is kind of a two-year deal, but it is contracted for one year. So, basically, if I go around like Ronnie Mac I will not have a ride for 2019, but I’m confident that will not be the case. It is lined up for me to do MX2 in 2019 but that would be my last year in MX2 at Grand Prix level, because of the age rule, so maybe I should bump up to MXGP, because, after watching top riders in MX2 struggle to find MXGP rides, it would maybe make more sense to catch a ride whilst there is one floating about. That will be something to discuss after the targets for next year are hit, which are top five in the MX2 class in the Maxxis British Championship and top six in EMX250.
That win in Italy the weekend before last must have boosted your confidence, right? What was that experience like?
Italy was awesome! I spent a few days meeting the Italian side of the team and ended the year for them in a great way and gave them something to look forward to. The track was something a little bit different. It was only small with sand like Assen, but it still had loads of passing places. I just went out with a clear mind and just did what I know I can do best. After winning the main, it has opened a new door which is competing in the full AX World Tour. It is something that I have always wanted to do, but there are people who think it is a waste of time doing it with the injury factor. The AMA riders can do it though, so I’ll give it a shot. You never know, it might be something I’m good at!
Finally, you are coming off of a bike that is known for being the best 250F around. What do you like on the Yamaha compared to your old bike and what is something you are struggling to adapt to?
Yeah the Husqvarna is very strong out of the box, but it certainly does not handle anything like the Yamaha. It is something I jumped on and fell in love with from the start. The race engine is great and has the power I feel I need to get the job done. I feel as if I jumped from a Yamaha to the Husqvarna it would have taken a bit of adapting to, but going the other way around has been great so far.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX