Features 15 Mar 2022

Fast Thoughts: Nathan Crawford

Experienced MX2 racer expands on a range of pre-season topics.

KTM Racing Team’s new MX2 recruit Nathan Crawford has enjoyed a near-perfect build-up to the opening round of the Penrite ProMX Championship later this month, culminating with a solid win in the Sunshine State MX Series round at Conondale over the weekend. MotoOnline caught up with the 24-year-old Queenslander to get his Fast Thoughts as the 2022 season draws closer.

Image: Supplied.

Winning the Sunshine State MX Series round at Conondale…

It was the first time we’d raced at Conondale in a couple of years and I love the fact that whenever we go there, there’s a new track marked out. With how close we are to the ProMX Championship beginning, any time we can get behind the gate and race good riders is really important. I’ve done quite a few pre-season races now and have pretty much lined up against all of the main players in the MX2 class in some shape or form, so I now have a pretty good idea of how I match up. Honestly though, one of the highlights for me – outside of winning the MX2 class – was setting a good qualifying time. That’s an area that I always generally struggle at, as I’m not an all-out sprint guy. To be right there, only half a second off Todd Waters, gave me a lot of confidence heading into the races. I felt really good all day and like the Nato of old – I haven’t been able to go that fast and in control in quite a while.

Being part of the new-look KTM Racing Team…

This is the first year that KTM has fielded a MX2 rider since 2016 and it’s been a breath of fresh air for me. I’m really enjoying the bike and get on well with everyone involved in the team – you couldn’t keep the smile off my face at the moment. It’s hard to even pinpoint if there’s one element that I like the most. I’m feeling really comfortable and confident on the bike, have good relationships with the staff, the team manager and my mechanic, and everyone’s on the same page. It’s how it should be and it’s making the ship sail quite easily.

Image: Supplied.

Coming into form…

I’ve been on the KTM since December and, although I felt good on it straight away, it can take time to adjust to how different bikes feel underneath you. We’ve done a couple of testing sessions on the race bike and it’s now at a point where I feel really comfortable going fast on it. I think over the past two or three weeks we’ve turned a corner. I’ve got a skip in my step and I’m feeling great, but I still feel like I haven’t hit my peak form yet. Even on the weekend, I didn’t go into the race thinking that I’d set the world on fire. I just wanted to get three good starts on the gate and some intense racing against some national-level guys. The races ended up coming to me and to have this confidence and speed heading into the nationals certainly puts the mind at ease.

Current training squad…

I’ve been training with Nathan Crawford’s 00 Elite Rider Training with Aaron Tanti, Kaleb Barham and Ryan Alexanderson. There’s a bit of a weird dynamic with two Nathan Crawfords, especially if someone calls out to one of us at the track! I’ve known Nathan for years – he’s a former pro racer and has loads of experience that we can learn from. As for the four of us riding, it’s been really beneficial as we’re all at different levels. Ryan is an up and coming racer, Kaleb is a privateer with a lot of potential and Aaron is obviously a step ahead of us, racing the MX1 class with a good team. We ride together every day and we all get on really well – there’s no BS between any of us.

The year ahead…

I go into every year with the expectation that I’m going to win and I’m definitely looking forward to the upcoming ProMX Championship. There are a couple of tracks that we haven’t raced at before, and the media package that Motorcycling Australia has is really good for publicity and building support, both for the sport and for us as racers. I’ve been in the MX2 class for a while now and I know what I need to do to win the championship, what to steer clear of and the mistakes that I need to eliminate in order to be successful. I’ve got the right people around me this year and there’s no time like the present to try and make it happen.