Ben Townley on Josiah Natzke KTM Factory Junior Team

Ben Townley on Josiah Natzke KTM Factory Junior Team

Ben Townley has spent the past couple of weeks in Europe with Josiah Natzke (KTM Factory Junior Team) getting first hand insight on Josiah’s progress under 10x World Motocross Champion Stefan Everts.

Having made the commitment to develop, mentor and train Josiah in NZ as lead up to 2015 NZ MX Championships before leaving for Europe, Townley is more than happy with how Josiah is performing under what could be described as the best opportunity to develop a Motocross career overseas.

BT and Josiah Rnd 1

Photo Credit: Mad Max Photography

Ben needs no introduction on his Professional MX career achievements though undoubtedly taking on the task of upping the skill, technique, fitness, mental determination of a rider who has the ability to achieve comfortably on NZ’s MX Championship circuit, would be no easy task.

I caught up with BT post Josiah’s racing Rounds 1 and 2: Trentino and Valkenswaard.

Josiah stands 4th Overall in EMX 125cc Championship after finishing 5th in Round 1 at Trentino and 10th in Round 2 at Valkenswaard.

Q: What is the level of racing like in Josiah’s class with over 100 entries at Trentino, and 93 entries at Eurocircuit?

BT: ‘It isn’t really any higher than what I know Josiah can ride. His team-mate is maybe on a slightly higher level than the rest of them right now, but other than that it’s about 5-10 more Josiah’s out there that he needs to beat!’

Josiah is certainly embracing the opportunity to race under KTM Factory Junior Team along with working under Stefan Everts.

Q: In what ways will he benefit from this experience?

BT: ‘Well there are so many things that’s it’s hard to name them all separately to be honest. It could be overwhelming for him at times because there is so much to take in, but if he can sponge it all up, I believe he will rapidly improve and become a very good rider from everything that is passed on to him’.

BT and Josiah Trentino

Photo Credit: Chris Ritchie

Europe’s MXGP tracks are so different from what we have in NZ. Josiah relishes tracks hard pack and is rising to the task of mastering racing on sand.

Q: What will be the learning curve Josiah will be going through to adapt to the variance of Europe’s MXGP tracks?

BT: ‘Yea the sand is the most difficult one to master, but he is living in the best place in the world to improve this area of his riding. Already he has improved a lot, but he will need to be a lot better when they return to Belgium for the Lommel Round. But he has 3 months to do so. I don’t think he’ll have too many issues with the other tracks that he encounters. To be honest, NZ prepares you really well for European tracks other than sand’.

The opportunity for MX Junior talent to race on MXGP tracks certainly gives rising young talent a shot at racing circuits designed for Pro MX1 and MX2.

Q: In what ways is this going to be beneficial for Josiah long term for his career?

BT: ‘It certainly is beneficial for him to be racing this class this year. It gives him a chance at performing from the start rather than struggling through and maybe making it. But having said that, he’ll need to perform to have a long term future as there is so much talent around in these EMX classes, so you really need to stand out and be seen’.

Start_MXGP_5_EU_2015

Photo Credit: MXGP EMX 125cc Round 2: Race 2

At 16 years of age, you broke ground and went to Europe to begin an outstanding MX career racing Professional Motocross in Europe and USA. Your achievements of FIM MXGP wins, MX2 World MX Champion (Europe) and AMA Supercross East Coast Lites Champion (USA) is certainly cemented in MX history.

Q: What challenges do you think Josiah will take on board to keep alive the potential he has to race Motocross Professionally overseas?

BT: Well to be frank, he has the ultimate platform from what I’ve seen in the past 2 weeks to kick start his career. If he can’t do it from this opportunity then I’ll be disappointed’.

My thanks to Ben Townley for his time on the above.

Words: Sharon Cox

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