WATT EYES POOLE CHALLENGE
Australian international Davey Watt wants to follow in the footsteps of world champion Chris Holder and earn his stripes in the SGP series.
04 / 01 / 2013, 13:04
Australian international Davey Watt wants to follow in the footsteps of world champion Chris Holder and earn his stripes in the SGP series, without the aid of a wild card.
Watt lines up in the three-round Australian Championship, which opens at Adelaide venue Gillman on Saturday. Holder misses out through injury and SGP wild card Darcy Ward has opted out of the competition this year. This means Watt starts as one of the favourites to triumph along with fellow Queensland-born star Troy Batchelor.
A national title isn’t the only thing up for grabs as the top four all earn places in the SGP qualifying rounds.
Watt was forced to miss this season’s GP Challenge at Gorican, despite qualifying, after suffering a collapsed tube in his right kidney, which was successfully repaired in Bydgoszcz in November.
He earned the second reserve spot for the 2010 series and made his Grand Prix debut in the splendour of Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. This gave Watt the desire to become a more permanent fixture in the SGP series, and he is keen to earn his place for 2014 via this year’s Challenge, which takes place in his British hometown Poole on August 24.
Chris has never had one event wild card or had one for the series. He has done it all himself. Itâ€™s a huge achievement in my book before you even become world champion.
He said: “Sometimes I think I’d love to be given the chance to have a wild card and ride in the Grand Prix – that would be fantastic. I’d jump at the chance. But the feeling of doing it yourself and qualifying off your own performances is a pretty big credit to yourself.
“All the guys who have qualified and kept themselves in the Grand Prix – that’s a huge achievement. Chris Holder qualified at the end of 2009, went into his first two Grand Prix years and finished eighth and now he’s world champion.
“Chris has never had one event wild card or had one for the series. He has done it all himself. It’s a huge achievement in my book before you even become world champion. That’s something I’d like to achieve as well.”
Former Poole skipper Watt knows he would never have a better chance to qualify than in a Wimborne Road Challenge.
He said: “Obviously I love riding at Poole. It’s one of my all-time favourite tracks and it would be awesome if I could get there and qualify for a Grand Prix place.
“There are three tough rounds in Australia to get through first, then I’ve got the quarter finals and semi-finals to deal with, which are extremely tough. We’ve seen some top riders go out at the early stages of Grand Prix qualifying.
“They are pretty cutthroat those meetings and I’m under no illusions that it will be hard work. But hard work is what I’ve had to do for a long time – it’s nothing new to me.”
Despite spending the end of the season on the sidelines as he awaited surgery, Watt is hopeful of winning his first national title in a series without the nation’s Grand Prix stars.
He said: “There is a real possibility of me becoming Aussie champion every year, but I’ve always had my mate Chris to deal with or Crumpy or Leigh Adams.
“It has been someone throughout my entire career who keeps frustrating me. But in saying that, there’s Troy Batchelor and a whole bunch of guys who are capable of winning events and scoring points.
“It’s not going to be easy and I haven’t ridden a bike for a couple of months, so I’m not thinking this is going to be a walk in the park.
“It’s going to be really, really tough, but I’m looking forward to getting back on a bike, having some fun, seeing some mates and riding in a bit of heat for a change.”