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Waters has competed at the top of Australian road racing, speedway and now desert racing after taking on Finke and Hattah this year while juggling ASBK crew chief commitments.

We interview Brodie Waters about tackling the Finke and Hattah this year while juggling ASBK crew chief commitments for older brother Josh Waters.

Can you give us the run down on your two-wheel career so far?

I finished road racing in 2012 – except for a few rounds of World Supersport in 2013. If it wasnt for helping Josh in ASBK I probably wouldnt have anything to do with road racing. But when he returned from Europe in 2016, he needed someone to help out in the garage – I build race engines on the side, still.

In 2013 I did a little bit of speedway and Leigh Adams convinced me to take it further. I enjoyed it but it got to the point where I had to head to England to take my career further, and that just wasnt realistic.

So that led you to jump on a dirtbike again?

Yeah, at the start of 2017 I bought myself a new dirtbike and decided to race Hattah that year as a bit of fun, because its our local desert race. I came 13th, then a few local guys from Mildura convinced me to go and try Finke and I havent looked back.

To prepare for Finke I do a lot of trail riding, but our trail riding is maybe different to other peoples trail riding. Its 150-160km/h down fire trails at full noise. I enjoy that with my mates and we do that most Sundays. We can go out for a few hours, come home, give the bike a quick wash and oil change and youre right to go again. It works in easier with [my job in] the building business and my kids, plus the enduro scene is very family oriented.

Brothers Josh and Brodie Waters

Tell us about the demands of Finke? What level are you riding at?

I used to say Id ride at about 85 percent, but everyone is at such a high level I think that has increased. Youre riding in that 85-90 percent range the whole way – its very mentally tough. This year I left with David Walsh, but by the 10km mark I couldnt see him and I didnt see another bike for the next 220 kilometres – youre riding by yourself, literally just out there.

I use the fuel stops to break the race up into sections – thats the best way I find I can maintain focus, keep pushing and remember where I am on track. A lot of the hills look similar, but some you can hit at full throttle whereas others you have to remember to back off because theres a big drop off or they might be whooped out. Course knowledge is key for Finke.

Brodie and David Walsh prepare for the start of the Finke

You started the race with eventual winner Walsh, did you see where he was faster?

I dont think he had a faster bike – just a bigger set of knackers! From the lines he takes – you can tell he knows where he is going like the back of his hand. For my pre-runs I have six or seven days allocated – its a limited amount of time to learn the track which means I have to race up and down reasonably fast. The advantage you gain with allocating more testing time is that you can take your pre-running much slower, to understand the track better and look for better lines. Walsh has raced Finke for 13 years or something – that also helps. Hes such a fast rider and it puts him on another level to the rest of us right now.

I noticed you ran Öhlins on the KTM 500, which seems risky?

This year I picked up sponsorship from Öhlins – it was a complete unknown because nobody runs that combination. I know from road racing that Öhlins is a top product but we still went up there early to get it set up properly. Byron [Draper] hadnt been to Finke or even worked on an off-road race before and I was aware people were watching to see if we failed, I was a bit anxious to make it work right. On my first pre-run the track was in bad shape, but I did a reasonable time with the Öhlins gear straight out of the box. That gave me a lot of confidence. I flew back to Wakefield Park for ASBK testing, then back to Alice Springs where I was joined by Byron and Ben Grabham for four days. Ben helped with coaching and set up, he knows what a good bike is meant to look like at Finke and having those two in the team helped speed up development. From day one we had a good base setting, and we were lucky to not have to change much before the race. The results have made us really excited to see where we can take that combination.

Do you make many setup changes between Finke and Hattah?

Not as much as you might imagine. At Finke, you dont run the bike as fast as what people think you might, you can over gear them. Everyone pretty much runs the same gearing and the KTM 500 is fairly short in the gears from first to fourth, but fifth and sixth is fairly tall. It works out quite well and makes it a good all-round bike. It also means [teammate and brother] Nick and I can use the same wheels because the sprockets are the same. At Finke youve really got to gear the bike for the whoops – and the reality on race day means you run low rpm in sixth or back to fifth gear – that keeps the bike more planted and straight.

Are you standing on your pegs all day?

Yep, you feel it in the backs of your legs at Finke, its like doing a squat all day! Your lower back is what gets really sore though, from standing up and holding the position.

Hattah is a big four-hour motocross race, really. Its like trying to compare a cycling race to a running race – they are both races but they are totally different. Hattah is way more physically demanding. But you dont have to be the fittest person to do well at Finke.

The Maxima BMW team brought in help from Bitubo suspension for the Hidden Valley round

What are your goals for next year?

Ive already started to plan for Hattah next year, the short turnaround between races is a real challenge. We start Finke pre-running at the end of February, combine that with ASBK commitments with Josh and its hard to fit everything in. I want to be on the podium next year at Finke no matter what. Hattah is a little bit different because more of the factory riders race there – but Im aiming for top five at Hattah.