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Watson and Natzke make it to the MX2 podium at Canada heights

Hitachi KTM MX2 riders Ben Watson and Josiah Natzke both made it to the podium at round three of the British Motocross championship at Canada heights in Kent on Sunday April 30.

With Hitachi KTM MX1 rider Jake Nicholls out for the foreseeable future after dislocating his hip in a freak accident at the last round of the world motocross championship at Valkenswaard in Holland, it was down to the team's two MX2 riders, Ben Watson and Josiah Natzke, to get the results.

While Josiah set the second fastest qualifying time behind Mel Pocock, Ben struggled with the track conditions and could only manage eighth place.

As the start gate dropped at the start of the first MX2 race, Harri Kullas got the holeshot from Josiah, Pocock, Todd Kellett and Martin Barr, with Ben not getting the start he wanted down in tenth place with a lot of work to do.

Towards the end of the second lap, Pocock found away passed Josiah pushing the young New Zealander down to second place while Ben had already passed three riders and was up to seventh place on the hard track that had very little opportunities for overtaking.

With three laps to go Ben passed Barr, who was suffering with a mechanical problem on his Honda, and moved in to fifth place; the position he would end the race.

Kullas won by just under eight seconds from Pocock with Josiah third, Kellett fourth and Ben fifth making the best he could from his bad start.

The second MX2 race started much better for the two young rides. Josiah followed race leader Barr round turn one and took the lead of the race before the end of the first lap. Ben gated fourth making things a lot easier for himself, coupled with his main championship rival Kullas down in seventh place.

By lap five and with Josiah still in the lead Ben was up to seventh place and closing on his team mate but Kullas was in fourth place and pushing on hard and fast. At half distance Josiah began to struggle letting Ben through and in to the lead while a lap later Barr and Kullas pushed him down two further places to fourth place.

Ben crossed the finishing line first just under three seconds clear of Kullas with Barr third and with Josiah hanging on to fourth place ahead of Michael Eccles, Josh Gilbert and Liam Knight.

Overall it was Kullas, with Ben and Josiah filling the next two steps on the winner podium while in the championship standings Ben is still the leader over Kullas but with a smaller margin.

The Hitachi KTM team next event is round seven of the World Championship in Kegums in Latvia next weekend.

Ben Watson 919 – MX2 overall second.
“The day has turned out OK in the end, but in race one I got a really bad start and that was my race done. The track was so hard because of the lack of rain and it was very fast with just one racing line and with a lot of the riders going at the same pace it was very difficult to make a pass. Things were much better in race two as I was about fifth going out of turn one and managed to work my way through for the win. The track was a bit rougher which helped with passing a lot and I am still in the lead of the championship and still have the leaders red plate going on to the next round.”

Josiah Natzke 33 – MX2 overall third
“I am happy with today as my starts were good and it always helps when you get good starts. I had a good first moto but tightened up a little bit halfway through but it all came back to me for the latter part of the race for third. In the second I was leading till I got really bad arm pump and faded back to fourth place. But it's great to get my first podium so I have to be happy.”

Other notable results for KTM riders at this round was the evergreen Brad Anderson - fourth overall on his Verde KTM, while Dutchman Mike Kras won the first ever British Two-stroke championship round with two commanding wins on his GL12 KTM.

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