Greg Moss chats to MX2 rookie Caleb Ward. A little too young for the Under 19’s category, compared to most, but comes second in an MX2 moto against the big boys instead!
When I contacted 17 year old MX2 Rookie Caleb Ward it was 7am Tuesday morning and he was 400km from the SA WA border. Heading to Wanneroo.
So Caleb how are you feeling after your performance at Round 4 of the MX Nationals at Murray Bridge?
“Pretty relieved actually, I feel like I have gotten the monkey off my back in moto2. So far this season I have either been getting really bad starts starts and having to work my way through the pack or have had excellent starts, sitting in the front three in the first lap several times but then made silly errors and crashed, forcing me to once again work through the pack. Basically until Murray Bridge race 2, I have had a lot of practice passing people haha.
“I was looking forward to Murray Bridge because I have raced there once before in 2011 at Aussie Juniors and I quite like the layout of the track, it is more like a Qld style track. I thought the track would be a little deeper and softer than it was but I still felt a lot more at home on it than the tracks at the previous rounds.”
How is it that you came to be racing MX2 this year instead of MXD?
“I always went up classes pretty early all through juniors, I was quite a chubby kid, haha, and I always liked riding a bigger bike against older more experienced riders.
“I went up to seniors as soon as I turned 16 and planned to race the second half of the 2013 U19 but got injured and was forced to sit out all but the final two rounds.
“Luckily racing those two rounds was enough for WEM to let me race MX2 this year and I am really grateful for that.
“If I had of raced MXD this year it would basically be like racing juniors again because I have grown up racing all those guys since I was on 65’s… although I would still be learning all the tracks etc it’s not the same as MX2 because I’ve never raced majority of the guys in the class before and they are all a lot more mature and race differently to what I’m used to.
“I really have a lot of respect for the guys in MX2 they are all really fast and experienced racers and it pushes you to be a better rider yourself you can’t afford to make mistakes and you really have to use your head out on the track. In the 4 rounds that I have raced MX2 I’ve learnt heaps just being in with those guys.”
So what are your expectations for Wanneroo
“I’m feeling pretty confident, the majority of my training is on a deep sand track that’s really rough so I am pretty keen for Wanneroo and Coolum. I really enjoy riding sandy tracks so if I can get good starts and ride smooth I know I will be able to get some solid points for the round.
“Tell us a little about your bike and why you have chosen to ride a two stroke this season.
“Basically it all comes down to money, a 2 stroke is what I can afford to ride. I do a lot of training, I normally ride 3 to 4 days a week and as most of that training is in sand it can be really hard on a bike. The ktm250sx’s are incredible bikes, they are really fast straight out of the box, handle really well and are also the most reliable bikes I have ever owned. For the average privateer it really is a no brainer. The two stroke is the affordable option.”
Any down sides to riding a 2 stroke?
“You need to be fit and strong, there is not much point to having that much power if you can’t control it or your fitness is not at 100 per cent. So far this season I think all the tracks have been more suited to 4 strokes and I actually feel that anyone who did well on a 2 stroke this season so far deserves a lot of credit. It is difficult to ride a 2 stroke on hard packed track you have to have a lot more throttle control and be on your A game the whole moto or you will end up taking a dirt sample.”
Tell us a little about your race bike?
“My bike is incredible Andrew Hopson and the team at Axis are one of my major sponsors this year and they have taken what was already a great bike and turned it into a dream bike, it handles so good and has a tonne of power and is honestly the best bike I’ve raced. I bought the bike from Wayne Leonard Motorcycles preseason and drove down to Newcastle to do some testing with the guys at Axis. I have used Axis suspension for many years but this year was the first time I actually got to meet the guys in person and do some individual testing and it was awesome. We left the bike with Axis to set the engine up and they have done an awesome job, so far I’ve had two holeshots in the first four rounds so that’s pretty good!”
We often hear about the difficulties faced by privateers how do you overcome those difficulties?
“I live in Far North Queensland so the travel distances are huge, and so are the costs.
“I honestly would not be able to do a single round let alone the full series if it were not for the huge sacrifices that my entire family makes and without the support of my sponsors.
“I am actually really lucky I have some very loyal sponsors that have helped me out for many years. Axis Motorsports, Spent Clothing, KTM Australia, Wayne Leonard Motorcycles, and Kidner Contracting were all incredibly supportive of my decision to race MX2 and I am so grateful for that. Without their help there is just no way I could afford to go racing. M2R Helmets, Fly Racing, Dragon Goggles have all kept me looking sweet on the track, and Bridgestone Tyres have also helped me out heaps! Replay XD has come on board this year and I am super keen to get some footage of my racing at the next few rounds.
“Finally there are a heap of people who have helped me with my training. Russell and Kim Walmsley let me build an awesome training track on their dairy farm. Hamish Guy was my trainer for many years he is a great friend and he devoted endless hours to training a little fat kid. Chris Urquart for giving me some advice on fitness training, and Greg Moss for helping me out with a few things to do with my riding over the past few months.”
Good luck this weekend Caleb and I will see you along with Matt and Jake at Mossy WA coaching school on Friday and saturday and be at Wanneroo to cheer for you on Sunday.