Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Nathan Watson continues to lead the CFS: Championnat de France des Sables beach race series following a strong runner-up result at round five in Hossegor. Teammate Camille Chapeliere charged back from a first corner crash to take fourth and maintain his position of third overall in the championship.
Round five of the CFS: Championnat de France des Sables saw competitors take to the Hossegor shoreline on the south east coast of France. A combination of unsettled weather and high tides ensured challenging conditions for all, with event organisers drastically modifying and shortening the original course layout to ensure racing could proceed.
Arriving at round five in confident spirits following victory at round four last weekend, championship leader Nathan Watson had his sights set on capturing his third consecutive win. Frustratingly, a crash in the first corner immediately put the KTM 450 SX-F mounted rider on the back foot.
Ending the opening lap of the two-hour race in 38th it was clear Nathan had a lot of work to do to keep his win streak alive. Rapidly cutting his way through the field, the Brit incredibly completed lap two inside the top 15. Visibly one of the fastest riders on a very busy track, he continued to work his way forward.
With the race leader pitting on lap nine, Nathan put his KTM out front as he looked to gain as much ground as possible. Colliding with a fallen rider shortly afterwards resulted in Watson’s bike becoming momentarily entangled with another machine. Regrouping, Nathan’s lead was lost and despite his best efforts in the closing stages he had to settle for a hard-fought runner-up result.
Nathan Watson:“In what was a difficult race I’ll take second place today and keep hold of my championship red plate. Coming into this race off the back of two wins I really wanted to keep that momentum going but unfortunately it didn’t happen. With the weather conditions, and organisers needing to change the track due to high tides, things were a lot more unpredictable today than they usually are. I got off to a good start, but when Camille crashed in the first corner I crashed into him and went down, too. With the tight track, coming from the back of the pack wasn’t ideal. I recovered well to briefly lead, but then hit a back marker and got my bike tangled with his and lost more time, so the chance of victory slipped away. But with the red plate still in my hands I’ll work on a few things during the Christmas break and look to get back on the top step of the podium next time out.”
For teammate Camille Chapeliere, a crash off the start dampened his hopes of securing another top-three result. Remounting outside the top 40, the Frenchman bravely fought his way forward. Sitting inside the top 20 at the end of lap two, he powered his KTM 450 SX-F up to 10th on lap six.
Showing his speed where possible, but opting not to push too hard and risk crashing, he steadily collected more positions as the race wore on. Holding fifth on lap 22 of 24, Camille put all he had into the final two laps to claim fourth and with it maintain his top-three championship position.
Camille Chapeliere:“It was a complicated day out there to say the least. The shortened course made it difficult in many places because there were so many riders on the track. A crash at the start was definitely not the best, but I fought as hard as I could to recover. Making overtakes was risky at times, but I tried to balance those risks and recover as smoothly as possible. I feel like I did that and showed my speed towards the end of the race. Finishing fourth maintains my position of third in the championship.”
The CFS: Championnat de France des Sables continues with round six at Grayan-et-L’Hopital on 11-12 January 2020.
Photos: Pascal Haudiquert