News 5 Aug 2020

Preference of Waters is to pause national racing until 2021

Current national MX1 champion and team owner instead looking ahead.

Image: Foremost Media.

Australian MX1 champion Todd Waters has tentatively called for national competition to be paused until 2021 as escalating government restrictions and border closures continue to complicate Motorcycling Australia’s (MA) plans to form a new outdoor series.

Waters, who launched his own Berry Sweet-backed Husqvarna team this season, has faced numerous challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic and has indicated that beginning from a clean slate next year would now be ideal.

Since COVID-19 has halted racing, Waters has been rapidly expanding his business interests on the Gold Coast, and remains cautious that a condensed Australian motocross calendar could result in additional compromises at the top-level of the sport domestically. Reduced budgets and a lack of information to plan forward has also impacted his decision-making process.

“We’re going to have to put some thought into it with budgets and things like that,” Waters told MotoOnline. “I’ve been racing here in Queensland, but as for nationals, I can’t see how that’s going to be possible at the minute. I’m hoping that they’re going to be like, ‘it’s been a tricky year, let’s come back in 2021 with a proper championship’.

“I’ve heard that they’ve got TV rights planned, so I’d like to see everybody putting their time and effort into next year rather than trying to pull something together in a short amount of time to run a successful championship. It just makes sense to me that from, say July, next year we aim for a serious 10-round championship on TV.

“On the other hand, racing’s racing and I do love it. It’s just tough to commit to a championship that I don’t know anything about. Even the hub that’s been spoken about, it’s all good and well, but I can’t see how anyone can afford to do that or organise it… it’s a big thing. I’d do my best to try and be there, but it would be difficult.

“For defending a championship, how do we train for that? We don’t know what’s happening and have been in limbo for a long time now. I’ve just been doing a lot of base fitness, so I’ve got no intensity in my riding without any races to aim for, so I’m at about 50-60 percent of where I’d need to be to race a championship. From the team’s side, it’s obviously very difficult with a lot of sponsors pulling out or back and putting things on hold.

“I’ve spent this time trying to create incomes elsewhere, even being on the tools myself with the T-Dub Garage. I’ve been running some riding schools as well, trying to adapt and find different avenues. I was supposed to be paid this year to ride and run a team, but now both of those aren’t sustaining an income, so I’ve had to go in other directions, but in some ways it’s been good for me to start those small businesses.”

KTM Group yesterday announced that its in-house factory enduro teams would be benched for the remainder of 2020 regardless of if MA eventually restarts the Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC), which Waters had also committed to this year. Without Daniel Sanders or Daniel Milner competing, the 29-year-old is uncertain if he will invest in the remaining rounds.

“That’s a shame because I guess that means that the two Daniels wouldn’t be racing and they’re the reason I’m there,” he continued. “To race an Australian championship without the elite guys there – and you obviously have the Yamaha guys there, so you can’t count anyone out – but it’s a strange time. I saw Tasmania is still on the cards, which is something I’d probably have to sit out, although if it was achievable and within driving distance, I’d like to race.”

It’s anticipated that MA could release further information on its plans to manage and promote the Australian Motocross Championship as soon as this week, while discussions are still taking place in the background in an effort to develop the previously-reported hub in a bid to salvage the season. How the ongoing border closures will affect those plans remains unseen.