By Dick Law. Ben and Nathan Watson’s attempt at round three of the French sand racing championship didn’t quite go according to plan at the weekend as the brothers suffered at the hands of the French organisers and some mistakes of their own making.
Despite winning the first two rounds at Berck and Loon-Plage, Nathan was told by the French organisers to line up in the second group of riders on the start line of the two and half hour event alongside his brother Ben who was making his first attempt at the series. This meant that the pair didn’t get that all-important start and where mired mid-pack.
Nathan’s problems were compounded when the clutch on his works KTM boiled up before the end of the opening lap, which then cost the team lots of time trying to repair it. But in the end Nathan had to ride the rest of the race without a clutch.
Things became worse for Nathan after the event when his machine failed a noise test and was docked a lap which dropped him down from third place to 11th.
Ben was disqualified by his own mistake and he said: “It’s my own fault as I didn’t see my pit signal which told me to stop for fuel and the bike ran out of petrol soon after. The team came out and re-fuelled my out on the track, which is against the rules and I was thrown out.”
If you think the Watson brothers had it hard, spare a thought for Belgium’s Yentel Martens who was in a class of his own round the twisty Saint-Leger track and had a sizeable lead when just after passing the work area entrance, he remembered the rule stating each rider must make three pit stops.
In an effort to get put things right, he went a short distance round the track the wrong way to get into the pits, which is also against the rules.
He was black-flagged just before the chequered flag and was excluded.
Frenchman Richard Fura was declared the winner from Daymond Martens, Camille Chapeliere and Milko Potisek.
Jamie McCanney was tenth on his Yamaha and upheld UK honours while Richard McKeown had his bike stop on the second lap.
Briton Jordan Divall was running third for the first 40 minutes, posting some blisteringly fast lap times, until his bike started over heating. He pulled into the pits so lost lots of time. He got back out and came 18th.
Nathan Watson now stays in the south of France for round four which takes place this Sunday at Hossegor-Capbreton.