Todd Waters annonuced his return to the MX Nationals in 2016 with Suzuki and Wilson MX at last weekend’s Sydney Motorcycle Show. MCNews.com.au managed to sit down for a chat with the 25-year-old Queenslander to get the low down on the season ahead.
Todd Waters: It was a last minute deal. I was contracted with the Factory Husqvarna Ice One Racing Team for 2016, but it all went pear shaped following the Motocross of Nations in France. The Friday following the event everything ended, and unfortunately there were no rides left in Europe by that stage. That’s when I made my way back home, started talking to teams over here and the Wilson MX deal popped up. I really liked their ideas and the way they wanted to move forward with their structure and team. So basically, we were fortunate enough that Suzuki were willing to come on board and develop a factory backed team with Wilson MX and myself. There are going to be a lot of good people involved backing me, and they believe in me which is huge! We have Cool Air Kev (Kevin Crutcher) coming back, and Jay Foreman will also be on side. I think it is going to be a great environment, we are going to have good bikes and the whole package is going to be really competitive for 2016.
TJ: You have spent the last two seasons racing in Europe with the factory Husqvarna team, and managed some podiums while you were there. How was that experience for you?
TW: The experience was unforgettable; it was something I’ll cherish forever. I went over there unprepared and got thrown in the deep end big time. Unfortunately I got injured in the first season and this year I was coming back. The first half of the season was going really well, we were sitting eighth in the MX1 championship, we got a podium and a got a few top fives. Then we made the transition to the new bike and I just didn’t gel with it. I struggled the last half of the season with that, but it was kind of expected, as we didn’t have much time on the bike. I’m very disappointed that I’m not continuing there, you know we had ten GP’s under our belts and we scored a podium in that time so our results were there and the ability was there, it just didn’t work out. On the positive side of things, I learnt so much and I know what I need to do to get back there racing and most importantly get back there racing at a competitive level. So I’m setting myself up here, I’ve got a good team and a good bike behind me. I’ve also got a good trainer in Jarah Breese from Breese High Performance who I’ve been working with for a few years, so I know I’ve got a great structure around me, and I believe I can put it all into place to try get myself back over there.
TJ: Is there anything you can elaborate on in regards to the decision made by Husqvarna following the Des Nations?
TW: Yeah absolutely, it was a mutual agreement. We both decided that we didn’t want to continue so there was no hard feelings or anything like that. It was just really unfortunate that it was so late in the season because there were no rides left over there. We just felt that we weren’t going to be able to move forward if we continued with Husqvarna in 2016, so I needed to take the step to come back home to Australia to regroup and hopefully put in a solid season to make my way back over to Europe in the future.
TJ: You mentioned you had issues adjusting to the 2016 Husqvarna FC450 while you were in Europe, were there any areas in particular that you felt you struggled with?
TW: No, the bike was fine it was more of a time issue. We had the old model set up so well that trying to change mid way through the GP season was really tough. I’m one of those guys who likes to keep things the same, so changing so dramatically mid season was really difficult for me.
TJ: Are there any other areas of the Suzuki deal that are soon to be announced? Obviously starting up a new team brings along new sponsors, products, parts and personnel?
TW: We can’t announce anything official yet, but I can say that it’s all happening pretty quickly. We are currently in negotiations with naming rights sponsors, and once they are all sorted it will all be about just putting the smaller pieces of the puzzle together to really fine tune the package.
TJ: For 2016, we are looking at one of the most loaded MX1 fields in Australian history! We have Kirk Gibbs, Daniel Reardon, Matt Moss, Dean Ferris, Kade Mosig, Adam Monea and yourself as the big name heavy hitters, along with the youth of the class like Dylan Long, Jacob Wright, Jesse Dobson and numerous fast MX2 guys that will be stepping up! Did knowing that there is going to be a quality field to race against help you in making the decision to come back to Australia?
TW: Absolutely! Like I’ve mentioned previously to plenty of other guys, the Australian racing has always been pretty stacked. Before I headed to Europe we had guys like Josh Coppins, Cody Cooper, Ben Townley and Brad Anderson all racing alongside the Aussie boys, so there has never been a shortage of talent. I guess also, as we have proved, Dean Ferris and I have been over to Europe recently and run up front, so it is known that the Aussies aren’t slouches. So yeah, that definitely excites me for 2016 because it will create a great racing environment for us to all improve in. I’ve just got to make sure I put myself in the best position to get out there and do my best.
TJ: Where will you be based now that you’re back home in Australia?
TW: I’ll be based on the Gold Coast in QLD, so that’ll be good because there are a lot of tracks around there and plenty of guys to train with too. There are also the Sunny State and QLD title races so those local events will be good to keep me on the gate throughout the year.
TJ: You said you’ve been back in Australia for a few weeks now, have you been on the bike at all yet?
TW: I actually haven’t been on the Suzuki yet, but that’s simply because I haven’t had one at my disposal. I rested up after the Des Nations and have just finished some physical testing, which I now have my results back from. With those results we have been able to start putting together my off bike training program, so it’s all coming together. I’ll hopefully get on the bike in the next couple of weeks and start testing for 2016, which will lead into racing the New Zealand Motocross Championships in February.
TJ: Do you feel this factory deal with Suzuki domestically could open the doors to you representing them in Europe in the years to come?
TW: You know, for myself at the moment I’m just trying to develop a solid team around myself. In my eyes there is no sense in changing things if you have created something nice, but I guess in saying that if the opportunity did come up I would look at it for sure. I’m still only young and I still have the goal of winning GP’s and one day winning the World Championship. No other Australian has ever done that and deep down that’s what I want to achieve. Unfortunately, for now I’m back here in Australia but at the same time I’m excited for the opportunities to come with Wilson MX, Cool Air Kevi and Jay Foreman. I’m excited for 2016, because I want to be standing up on the box winning for those guys as they have got behind me and are showing they believe in me!
TJ: Well, thank you very much for your time Todd and we look forward to seeing you out there in 2016 aboard the Factory Suzuki.
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