Catching up with: Ben Watson!
He might not have won the overall at Desertmartin after a last lap pass by Martin Barr meant he won the overall on the day but it was still a great weekend for Hitachi KTM UK rider, Ben Watson. He came into Desertmartin with a thirty point gap but he was able to extend his lead in the series to forty-one points after round five. He is going to take some stopping in the championship chase now.
As well as the British series, Watson has been competing in the MX2 World Championship. He has had some up’s and down’s so far in the series but after ten rounds he sits in sixteenth. He will be hoping to get closer to the top ten by the end of the season.
We caught up with the talented Brit after Desertmartin to talk about his season so far.
Gatedrop: Ben, the first moto you didn’t get a great start but after a few laps you really showed your speed and came back up through the pack well.
Ben Watson: Yeah, actually I think I was about tenth around the first corner but then after the tight right hander after the step up someone crashed in the rut and I was stuck. I ended up losing about ten positions and yeah, I was outside the points. I managed to come through to third and I was really happy with my riding. I knew if I got a better start in the second one then I would be away.
In race two, I was about fifth out of the gate I think and then managed to get into the lead after a few laps. I controlled it from there really and it was good.
Gatedrop: In the first moto you actually crashed about half way through the moto, did you expect to get third after that crash and if you hadn’t have crashed you might have even got second!
Ben Watson: Yeah, I had a little crash in a left hander. I just went in a bit hot and lost the front end. I kept the bike running and got back up pretty quick but you do lose your rhythm a little bit. I think if I didn’t make that mistake then second would have been possible as I was right behind him going over the line. You learn from your mistakes, maybe I went in a little bit too hard and yeah, just made a little mistake.
Gatedrop: In the GP’s so far this year, how would you describe your season so far and are you happy with how it’s going?
Ben Watson: I’ve definitely had some up’s and down’s. It’s obviously a tough class and if you don’t get the start then you aren’t going to get a good result. I’ve had some good starts but I just need to work on the first five minutes of the race because I lose a lot of spots. In the Grand Prix’s it’s impossible to make your time back up because the field is just so deep, it’s full of top riders. I’m really enjoying it and I’m loving it more than ever. I just need to keep plugging away and get inside that top ten, then I’ll be happy.
Gatedrop: Todd Kellet and Micky Eccles were on it today, what’s your thoughts on the MX2 British class this year and do you think racing the EMX250 class helps those guys step it up?
Ben Watson: Yeah, I mean you have the top five here then the field kind of drops quite quick. Whereas in the Grand Prix’s, the top twenty are all worthy of getting top five or top ten results on their day. That’s just the difference. When you come here we are the people to beat. Myself and Harri (Kullas) are the two GP riders here. If guys here beat us then it makes them feel better. It is good though and it’s good to have some competition. They were both on it (Kellet and Eccles), they were going better than they have been all year so it was good to have a challenge. It makes it a lot more enjoyable.
Gatedrop: In terms of the British Championship it was a great day for you, you keep the red plate and extend your points gap..
Ben Watson: Yeah, it was a good day for the championship. That is the bigger picture I guess, it went from around thirty points to around forty. I gained about ten more points so it’s been a good day.
Gatedrop: If you win the title this year, have you thought about whether you will contest it next year again? It must be hard racing them alongside the GP’s and very tiring. How are you finding that?
Ben Watson: Obviously it will all depend on what team I will be riding for. If I’m staying with Roger (Magee) then yeah I will definitely do the series again. It all depends on what my offers are, time will tell with that. If I do win it, I will definitely want to do it again. Like you say, there’s nineteen World Championship rounds, Hawkstone International and then eight British rounds, altogether I’m doing nearly thirty races in a year. Actually I’ve only got two weekends off in the whole year from the first race to the last so it’s a long season, but it’s good!
Gatedrop: You recently just turned twenty so if you’re going to get a good ride it would probably be for next year while you’re still young and have plenty of time in the MX2 class?
Ben Watson: Yeah, I’ve got the rest of this year and then another three years so I am still quite young in the class. To be honest that is quite a big thing for a lot of the teams. They want an up and coming rider that they can work with and obviously make better. I’m open to anything, I’m not in any contracts at the end of this year. Obviously, Roger (Magee) has been really loyal to me but it is what it is and I have to think about my future. I’m really happy with the bike, I just have to concentrate with my racing and then what happens will happen.
Gatedrop: Going back to Russia last week, the muddy conditions seemed to really suit you. You were just a few laps away from getting fourth but made a mistake, you must have been happy with the weekend though?
Ben Watson: Yeah, I managed to get up to fourth in the final race and then with two laps to go I just toppled over, I lost some spots and dropped to seventh. I’m still happy with seventh but it’s frustrating when you could have had your best result yet. It happens – Obviously, Febvre was leading the race and he crashed as well to lose his win. Anstie, he had a podium up until two laps to go and he lost that so everyone made their mistakes. It’s normal, every rider does it so I just have to think of the positives about the race and just keep thinking about where I was before the crash.