Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Nathan Watson has secured his second consecutive victory in the Championnat de France des Sables. Putting in a strong performance throughout the two-hour 30-minute beach race, Watson initially crossed the finish line in second, but was later awarded the overall win. Enjoying his strongest round so far, Camille Chapeliere rode an impressive race at the Ronde des Sables venue to finish as runner-up.
After his confidence-boosting victory at last weekend’s round three, Nathan Watson headed to round four with hopes of making it two wins in a row. Starting strongly, he battled with teammate Chapeliere for the lead during the first half of the race before taking control.
However, despite pulling a sizeable advantage, Watson was unable to maintain his lead as the race conditions changed. With organisers cutting the event short due to an incoming tide, the Brit slipped back to second place at just the wrong moment in the race. Unable to regroup in time, Watson shadowed provisional winner Milko Potisek across the finish line for what he thought was a runner-up result. Later confirmed as the winner, Watson claimed his second consecutive beach race win.
Nathan Watson: “I’m disappointed to have physically just missed out on that race win but naturally pleased to be awarded the overall win. The race to the chequered flag itself was close and I was right behind him crossing the finish line. I had a good race and was leading with about a one-minute advantage. Then suddenly he came past me and I was shocked because I didn’t realise he was catching me so quick. I must have been riding too relaxed in traffic. He passed me on the last lap and I tried to regroup, but it was too late. With two tough rounds back-to-back and my victory at Red Bull Knock Out, I’ll take a bit of time to recover over the Christmas break and then work hard to prepare for the next round.”
Claiming the holeshot on his KTM 450 SX-F, Watson’s teammate Camille Chapeliere put in a series of blisteringly fast laps to hold firm at the front of the results and maintain the race lead during the first hour of racing. With lapped traffic hampering his vision, the Frenchman was forced to pit earlier than scheduled for a fresh pair of goggles. Despite his strong pace during the latter half of the race, Chapeliere was unable to catch the leaders and had to settle for third overall, but was later awarded second.
Camille Chapeliere: “After last weekend’s disappointment I was determined to return strong here. I worked a lot to be ready and I wanted to show my speed on the track. My first hour was good. I took the holeshot and lead for quite a while. I had a little issue with my goggles and was unable to hold that position as I needed to pit early for a fresh set. But overall it’s been a good race and now I will continue to work and be ready for the next round as we build towards Enduropale le Touquet.”
The Championnat de France des Sables continues with round five in Grayan on January 13, 2019.
Results – French Beach Race Series, Round 4
1. Nathan Watson, KTM, 25 laps 2:23:11.880
2. Camille Chapeliere, KTM, 2:26:59.150 +3:47.270
3. Jeffrey Dewulf, KTM, 2:28:59.550 +5:47.670
4. Yentel Martens, Husqvarna, 2:23:59.550 +1 lap
5. Daymond Martens, Honda, 2:24:01.590 +1 lap
Championship Standings (After round 4)
1. Jeffrey Dewulf, KTM, 500 points
2. Milko Potisek, Yamaha, 500 pts
3. Nathan Watson, KTM, 435 pts
4. Maxime Sot, Yamaha, 397 pts
5. Yentel Martens, Husqvarna, 390 pts