Interview: Ben Watson – his season and adapting to Belgium

Young Brit, Ben Watson has been somewhat of a revelation this year after signing with the Kemea Yamaha team. There’s no doubting that Watson has been one of the most improved riders in the MX2 World Championship as he sits fourth in the World Championship.

Not only has he signed with the Kemea team but Watson has also made a big sacrifice in leaving the UK to live in Belgium and even though it’s tough for him it’s helping him grow up and grow as a person.

After the MXGP of Belgium in Lommel which didn’t go to plan for the Brit as he wasn’t feel well we caught up with him to discuss his season and adapting to Belgium.

Gatedrop: Ben, we are here at Lommel, it wasn’t a great weekend for you considering how you’ve been riding this year. You must be disappointed with how this weekend went for you?

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Ben Watson: Yeah a little bit but it’s not the fact that I was riding bad or not strong enough. After the warm up this morning I felt really bad. I was feeling sick and couldn’t eat anything, I don’t really know what it was. It’s not because I’m ill or anything, I just really didn’t feel good. I came in after the first sighting lap and didn’t think I’d be able to finish the race. It was just one of them and I did what I could and finished twelfth. I’m really disappointed with that. After the first race I just put everything over my head and just went again, the start of the race was real bad because I went from kind of riding around in the first race to getting a good start and being with the top guys and on their pace. It was so much to adapt too so quick. I lost a lot of places and dropped to about eighth I think but I came back to fifth which wasn’t so bad but it should have been better still.

Gatedrop:  In the championship chase you’d have been catching up Olsen but now all that hard work is kind of gone in the race for third in the series, you must be a bit frustrated about that considering you weren’t feeling good?

Ben Watson: Yeah, but like I said it wasn’t a problem with my riding or anything like that. I’m still building momentum and getting stronger each weekend, just a few things have set me back lately. I just want to keep going and not really focus on the championship, just keep going and building each weekend let’s say.

Gatedrop:  You signed with Kemea Yamaha team this year and you’ve been awesome since the switch. How’s everything going with the bike and Jacky Vimond?

Ben Watson: Yeah, awesome. It’s a massive step in my career, they help so much and I’m really enjoying the bike and the whole team. Everyone gives 100% and Jacky is really good. He gives everything to the riders and for us, it’s what we need as riders. I’ve nothing bad to say about the team or the bike, everything is working well and we’ve made massive progress with the guys.

Gatedrop: You left the UK to live in Belgium, how are you adapting to living there, it’s a bit different than the UK!

Ben Watson: Yeah, it’s been a big step but I think it’s helped me a lot. I’m based in Belgium and just focusing on riding and training – that’s it. It’s kind of the place to be if you want to develop as a rider let’s say and get stronger physically. That was one of the biggest changes for me this year and it is hard to leave everything behind but everyone is behind me, understanding and supporting me. It’s just part of the journey.

Gatedrop: Would you’re advice be to some young British talents to leave the UK and come base themselves in Belgium? Mewse moved when he was very young and Sterry has recently moved to the Netherlands, it seems to be helping them!

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Ben Watson:  Yeah, it definitely helps because everything is tougher out here. In the UK all the tracks have sessions, here the tracks are way rougher, way more technical and you can ride for as long as you want, there’s no sessions. There’s always a lot of top guys about so you always have someone to push with. I wouldn’t say to the young guys to come out here and live because for me there’s no life here. This is my job and this is just where I’m based with my work let’s say. For a kid it’s still important to be enjoying it and for me, I’m enjoying it because this is what I love to do and it’s become my thing every day. When you’re still at school and things like that it’s not so important to be everything motocross, you still need to have some part of growing up if you know what I mean. I experienced all that and I only just moved to Belgium this year and it’s been a big step so for me the younger guys I’d say come here more for training but I wouldn’t say to base themselves here straight away.

Gatedrop: The GB Des Nations team isn’t picked yet but I’m guessing you’ll be disappointed if you don’t get selected with the season you’re having? You’re a lot of peoples first choice!

Ben Watson: I’d be utterly disappointed if I’m not. I feel like I do deserve it but obviously it’s not my choice. I just have to wait and bide my time and see. It’s something that I’d absolutely love and something I’d give 100% to for myself and team GB. We will just see what comes with that, I’m not putting any pressure on myself to try and earn the ride. I feel like if I just keep doing my thing each weekend then what will be, will be.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pic: Youthstream