Highly rated teenager Ben Watson confirmed at the International Dirt Bike Show that he will step in the MX2 class of the FIM Motocross World Championship as part the Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM UK team.
Watson’s name grew in prominence thanks to two victories in the competitive European EMX250 Championship this year; a series that acts as a feeder class to Grand Prix and MX2. It was only his second attempt at the competition and although his success in Hitachi colours was mixed with some crashes the younger brother to new Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna MXGP recruit Nathan, is clearly on a fast rise.
Watson would clearly be considered an EMX250 title contender for 2015 but instead has chosen to jump into MX2 with the full support of the Hitachi crew.
“It was a tricky decision to make but we thought the quicker I get into MX2 then the faster I would learn and be brought up to speed,” he explains. “You cannot beat being around the fastest guys and also racing across so many different tracks. Of course there will be at least 10 more rounds in GPs compared to the European Championship.”
Red Bull-backed Watson is mindful of cases of other riders who have perhaps moved to Grand Prix too quickly and where their careers have suffered as a result. The likes of Valentin Guillod, Mel Pocock and James Dunn all had their confidence hit by an initial lack of progress in MX2.
“I will not put any pressure on myself,” he says. “It would be nice to get into the top 10 or something like that through the year but I cannot expect too much. In my first go at the European Championship I think I qualified for just two or three of the seven rounds. In my second season I was winning races… so I know the first year doesn’t necessarily mean anything!”
The Brit is now wading through a comprehensive training programme (“it is going well and it is not too different from what I’m used to.”) and should be training and riding practice laps in southern Spain with his brother and family when the winter freeze hits northern Europe in the coming eight weeks.
Watson will be joined in MX2 by Bulgarian Petar Petrov and in MXGP, Shaun Simpson will once again be pushing to be the best British pilot in the premier class of the world championship while looking to defend his British MX crown.