Rabaconda Rider Nathan Watson [Q&A]
Nathan Watson has been riding since he was 3 years old. He grew up racing motocross and in 2015, had a season in MXGP for Factory Husqvarna IceOne Racing team. In 2016 he made the transition to Enduro with KTM Enduro Factory Racing.
When did you first start riding dirt bikes?
My dad raced bikes all his life so I was on a bike as soon as it was possible! It all started from there… I think I was around 3 years old when I got my first bike.
What has been your best moment as a pro rider?
Enduro wise, I’d say winning my first day in E1. It was on the second day at the Swedish GP. I had come close a few times so it was nice to finally get it done.
What were your first impressions during the first Enduro GP? Did the level of the World championship competition surprise you or did you know what to expect?
I really didn’t know what to expect as I’d never followed it in the past so I didn’t know where I was going to stand. I knew the guys where going to be fast… it’s the biggest Enduro series in the world after all.
Did you have to change your riding style much when you moved from motocross to Enduro?
I wouldn’t say I had to change my style, I just had to learn different techniques of riding a bike as it is a completely different sport! It’s been a challenge.
What are the main differences in your training methods when you compare motocross and Enduro?
Physically, I still do the same kind of stuff when I can, an Enduro GP event lasts a week so I have less time to train. Regarding bike training, I still ride some motocross and just also train Enduro and trials.
Who has been helping you settle into the Enduro life? I know another Rabaconda rider Antoine Meo welcomed you at his riding facilities before your official Enduro career started. Did he play a big role in making you decide to enter the world of Enduro and has he been helping you out since?
Not really, I only spent two days at his home for a test and that was the first time I’d met Antoine, I actually haven’t seen him since! He gave me his opinion on Enduro and I definitely took everything he said into consideration. My biggest helper is my riding coach Christophe, he helps me with everything along the way and I think without him I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What has been your favorite GP since and which one you would like to forget?
My favourite GP was Spain. The tests were really fun and the transfer was really challenging so I enjoyed that weekend! I would like to forget the Italian GP, I hated the special tests and I had some bad luck.
In MX your mechanic changed your bikes tyres, but in enduro you have to do it yourself and I’ve seen you change the tyres quite easily. How long did it take you to get the knack with the Rabaconda and can you describe what it is like to change a tyre with a Rabaconda Tyre Changer?
Yes I’d never changed a tyre before switching to Enduro so I had to learn fast at the start of the year. It’s actually really quite easy when you use a Rabaconda… The machine basically does it for you! So I’ve had no problem with tyre changing.
What do you do when you aren’t riding? What are your hobbies?
I like to play golf, go fishing, see friends, and you can often catch me in the kitchen cooking!
Who are your riding buddies?
I have a good group of friends around my home that also like riding bikes, I’ll often go training with these guys. I rarely go on my own.
Check how Nathan handled his tyre change “debut” at Enduro GP 2016 round 1 in Morocco at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtdPn3avvLQ