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Watson masters the rain to win in France!
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Watson masters the rain to win in France!

FXR

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Nathan Watson delivered a masterclass of riding at round four of the CFS: Championnat de France des Sables to claim victory at Saint Leger de Balson.

Feature Image Courtesy of Pascal Haudiquert – KTM Media Library

Confidently securing his second win of the series, Watson further extends his championship lead. Putting in an impressive ride, teammate Camille Chapeliere joined him on the podium for the first time in 2019 with third.

After last month’s cancellation of round three at Magesq, competitors returned to action for round four at Saint Leger de Balson – inland, south of Bordeaux. Eager to build on his championship lead, Nathan Watson was determined to add to his win tally.

With continuous rain falling throughout the day, Watson knew that a strong start would be key to ensuring success. Claiming one of his best starts of the 2019/20 series, the KTM 450 SX-F mounted rider did exactly that by ending lap one inside the top five. Quickly picking off riders one-by-one, he powered his way into the lead on lap four, setting a pace that few could match.

After 10 laps he stretched his advantage out to one-minute and 20 seconds over teammate Chapeliere. Feeling comfortable in the worsening conditions he held his pace for the remaining six laps of the two-hour and 30-minute race. In doing so he secured a confidence-boosting victory heading into round five next weekend in Hossegor-Capbreton.

Nathan Watson: “Conditions were difficult today. We woke up to rain and it seemed to keep falling the whole day. By the time our race rolled around the track was pretty beaten up and I knew getting a good start and getting to the front as early as possible would be key. Thankfully I had one of my better starts of the year and with some decent passes I was able to get by Camille for the lead on around lap four. I just put my head down after that and opened up an advantage. When I got it to about one-minute and 30 seconds I was able to control things to the finish. We’re back in action next weekend where hopefully I can continue this win streak heading into the Christmas break.”

Claiming a strong fourth position last time out, Camille Chapeliere looked to build on that momentum at round four. Continuing to adopt the tactic of riding within and not above his maximum level, Camille diligently got to work in the deep, rough sand of Saint Leger de Balson.

Securing yet another holeshot on his KTM 450 SX-F, he shot out to an early lead. Remaining calm and collected he held that position until teammate Watson overtook him on lap four. Holding second for the majority of the race distance, Camille eventually slipped to third position with two laps to go. The result marked his first podium finish of the 2019/20 series, while also moving inside the championship top-three.

Camille Chapeliere: “I’m really happy with my performance this weekend. After a fourth place result last time out I was targeting a podium here and now I’ve managed to achieve that. At Loon-Plage I tried to ride more conservatively and finished fourth. But I knew stepping the pace up a little more could improve my result. With another holeshot – I’m unbeaten this year – I put myself into a strong position and led for the first four laps. I stuck with Nathan for as long as possible when he came past and then focused on my own race. I’m happy with third and how things have gone, now I want to carry that confidence and form into next weekend’s race.”

The CFS: Championnat de France des Sables continues with round five at Hossegor-Capbreton on December 14-15.

Results – CFS: Championnat de France des Sables 2019/20 – Round 4: Saint Leger de Balson

1. Nathan Watson (GB) KTM, 16 laps 2:30:32.610
2. Todd Kellett (GB) Yamaha, 2:32:13.210 +1:40.600
3. Camille Chapeliere (FRA) KTM, 2:32:41.190 +2:08.580
4. Jeremy Van Horbeek (BEL) Honda, 2:33:03.380 +2:30.770
5. Richard Fura (FRA) Yamaha, 2:36:04.840 +5:32.230

Championship Standings – CFS: Championnat de France des Sables 2019/20 (Round 4)

1. Nathan Watson (GB) KTM, 435pts
2. Todd Kellett (GB) Yamaha, 360pts
3. Camille Chapeliere (FRA) KTM, 326pts
4. Richard Fura (FRA) Yamaha, 301pts
5. Stephane Watel (FRA) KTM, 295pts