Todd Waters could surprise a few people this year, as the Australian certainly has the speed to succeed in the 2014 MXGP series. Unless you have been following the Australian MX Nationals series in recent years, you probably don’t know much about him. However, you can find out a little more about Waters, how he fared at the Hawkstone International and how he is adjusting to Europe in this exclusive MX Vice interview!
MX Vice: Overall, you had a pretty good day [at the Hawkstone International], except for the result in the first moto. What happened there?
Waters: I had a big crash over the back, and had some problems, so I had to call that one a day.
MX Vice: But, you’re not hurt, right? Obviously you were back out there for the final two motos.
Waters: Yeah, I snapped my clutch off and stuff like that, so I was not able to finish the moto. But, it was quite a big crash, I haven’t had one like that in quite a long time – it knocked me around a little bit. In the second race, we ended up with a third. I settled into the race, and just wanted to bring it home. I didn’t want to crash again! It’s quite a difficult track, it’s sandy but with a hard base, so you can get caught out quite quickly.
MX Vice: You have raced a lot this pre-season. Have you done that to get used to the competition, the tracks etc?
Waters: For sure that’s the main thing. For me, I don’t know half the guys out there. The fact is that in Australia it’s not televised, so we don’t see the guys. Obviously we know [Antonio] Cairoli and the top guys. But, there are guys in eighth place that I don’t know the names of or what they look like.
MX Vice: So has that caught you off-guard? Obviously you knew there would be quick guys, but are you surprised by the depth?
Waters: Not at all. I knew that this was the world championship, and these guys are extremely fast. On the other side, they have been racing on these tracks their entire life. They know the tracks inside out, the teams and all that sort of stuff. For me, I have just got to adapt as quick as I can, and that’s what we are doing here in the pre-season races. We’re trying to get myself settled and into a routine, basically.
MX Vice: Obviously, you want to do the best that you can. But, if it doesn’t go your way at first, are you going to think ‘hey, this is new to me, I need to give myself time to adapt’?
Waters: The outlook I have is to focus on myself, and to take it race by race – that’s all I can do. I can’t go setting goals, because I don’t know the people that I am racing, basically. I don’t know where I fit in. So, for me, I’ve got to go out there and make sure that I walk away from the track happy. I know that if I get eighth place, I’ll walk away happy with what I’ve put in. Otherwise, I’ll go and train hard and try to minimise the mistakes and stuff like that. For me, it’s important to get through the full season. That’s the thing in GP’s, there are a lot of riders that injure themselves, and I just need to settle in and make it through.
MX Vice: Have you been studying the GP tracks, watching videos etc, or are you going in with a more relaxed attitude?
Waters: I haven’t really had too much time lately. I was over here testing straight after the Motocross des Nations. I flew home at the beginning of December and then came back on January 4th. Then we went straight down to Spain, Sardinia, Sicily and Italy. I’ve been everywhere. For me, I’ve just been racing, training and focusing on myself. I do want to watch them a little more, but I just haven’t had the time.
MX Vice: When do you head to Qatar?
Waters: We’re heading over on Wednesday, and then we fly straight after to Thailand, and spend the week there. There will be no bike training there, but before Thailand I will probably right on Tuesday or something.
MX Vice: What are you expecting from those races? Obviously, they’re quite unique.
Waters: I’m excited. It’s got the hot weather, and that’s what I’m used to. The thing that I’m looking forward to is that it is out of their comfort zone too. They have got to travel, and it’s a new track for them, in a way. So, it’s not just me coming over here and racing in Holland where they have rode since they were twelve years old. It’s going to be a little better for myself, but I won’t count anyone out – that’s for sure.
MX Vice: Are you based out in Lommel at the moment?
Waters: Yeah, I’m over in Lommel.
MX Vice: So, you’ve been putting in a lot of work in the sand then? I guess that’s the hardest thing for you to adjust to?
Waters: It is. It’s a lot different to Australia, and obviously these guys have grown up just on sand. So, there very good on sand – that’s a fact [laughs]! So, I think the hard-pack tracks I can get a much better placing against the guys, but I’ve got some work to do on sand.
MX Vice: Finally, is there anything like Hawkstone over in Australia? Is there anything you can even compare it to?
Waters: There is, but not with the hills. Most of our sandy, loam tracks are normally flat. So, that’s what I like about this track, it goes up and down hills and it’s got cool character about it. It’s a pretty sweet track.
Interview: Lewis Phillips
Image: Juan Pablo Acevedo