Interview: Caleb Ward on his time racing the MX2 World Championship
Young Aussie recently announced at only the age of 23 that he’s decided to make the tough decision of stepping away from the sport. Ward for a brief spell was in the Grand Prix paddock when he signed with the 8Biano Husqvarna team. However, things didn’t go quite according to plan and he ended up parting company with the team to head back home.
We decided to catch up with Ward to discuss his GP experience and more.
Gatedrop: You ended up signing to race the MX2 World Championship in 2017, how was your experience racing the MX2 World Championship?
Ward: Yeah so I actually went to race the GP at Glen Helen at the end of 2016 and broke my ankle 3 days before the race, I didn’t know it was broken, I was told it was mildly sprained so when I got back to Australia I got it checked out and it was broken and I had 3 months off and it took a long time to heal. I got to Europe and started training and honestly it was just a nightmare, I got really sick after like two weeks of training and I couldn’t train properly for three months, I would do one day of riding and be in bed for like a week just wrecked and nose bleeds everyday and all kinds of weird stuff, so the whole pre season was a write off and the team didn’t believe me that something was wrong!
Eventually when my parents came over I got tests done and sorted it out and fixed that problem but by then we were like 3 rounds into the series and I had other issues as well, the first GP at Qatar I dislocated my knee in qualifying and couldn’t race, round 2 I got 7th in the first moto but hurt my knee again in the mud and DNF moto 2. I had electrical problems with the bike the whole time and the team couldn’t fix it, at round three I hit a massive step up and the bike cut out on the lip and I got ejected and dislocated my shoulder, I went to the doc and got a brace and sorted out my blood tests and found the problem was just the diet, in Australia we eat a lot of meat and veg and in Italy I wasn’t eating as good, mostly pasta and I wasn’t used to it and I became anemic. So after that I tried to race Valkenswaard and I was top ten for like 20 mins of the moto but everything caught up with me and I didn’t have the fitness to finish strong. The second moto I had bike problems again my bike literally completely died on the way to the start line and it wasn’t a good situation so I DNF that race. Two days later I was training at Lommel and had two more electrical problems in one day, it was 6 months in and the same issue was still there and I didn’t feel safe riding the bike anymore. Overall though the GP’s were really cool, like it was amazing seeing how professional the factory teams are and how the events are run and the crowds and atmosphere, that side was amazing and some of the places we went were really cool.
Gatedrop: How were things with the 8Biano Husqvarna team? You ended up leaving the GP paddock after a few rounds but that team didn’t last much longer in the paddock..
Ward: Yeah I didn’t say much about what happened with the team when I left because I was told not to say anything bad obviously because it’s not a good look for me or the team, but I was having continuous bike problems and was scared to ride the thing in the end! Also in my contract I had a decent sign on $ but we got to 6 months of me being there and I hadn’t seen a cent, I spent all my savings living there for 6 months and the team hadn’t paid me and there was so much crazy stuff going on that it got to a point where I said I’m not riding until you fix the damn bike and start paying me the money you owe me, I waited two weeks and they paid me like $1500 Australian I think and I said where is the rest of the money and they said it’ll come through, it never did and they ignored me and didn’t mention anything about fixing the bike. I ended up booking flights home and came back to get all my injuries fixed and reset.
Gatedrop: When you look back at your career, is there anything you’d do differently?
Ward: Yeah I definitely should’ve listened to Ben Townley and not have gone to Europe unless it was for a factory team or at least a very good renown satellite team! Big regret (laughs), but I went because it was my dream and was assured by people I trusted that it was going to be a good team and have factory support. Also told that if anything went wrong I would come back to Aus and have a factory seat available which didn’t happen so that was a bit of a kick in the teeth but that’s racing sometimes, you’re only as good as your last race.
Gatedrop: For any young Aussies coming to race the World Championship – what would your advice be?
Ward: Do your research. Make sure you get advice from people that know the teams and have been there in a similar situation and be prepared to have your mind blown by how many fast guys there are.
Gatedrop: At the moment there seems to be a number of fast Aussies – Evans, Beaton, Todd, Crawford and Malkiewicz to name a few. It must be nice to see them doing well as fellow Aussie?
Ward: Yeah, it’s obviously really cool to see so many Aussies over there doing well, I mean it hurts because I’ve grown up racing all those guys and beaten them and always thought I was capable of doing the same as those guys but sometimes things just don’t go your way and one bad decision or injury can have a huge impact, either way I still hope all the Aussies over there do good! I know how hard it is and it’s awesome seeing so many guys doing well mixing it up with the best of the best!
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Main pic: Brent MX Pics