PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 15, 2003) -- David Watson, 25, of Ludlow, Mass., wrapped up the 800 class title of the 2003 AMA U.S. Hillclimb Championship presented by Pace American. Watson finished second on his Honda in the season finale held at ...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 15, 2003) -- David Watson, 25, of Ludlow, Mass., wrapped up the 800 class title of the 2003 AMA U.S. Hillclimb Championship presented by Pace American. Watson finished second on his Honda in the season finale held at Oregonia, Ohio, on Sunday to claim his seventh-career AMA U.S. Hillclimb Championship. Watson won the 540 class at Oregon and had clinched that title at the 10th round of the championship in Sept. Watson has now swept both the 540 and 800 class titles three times (2000, 2002 and 2003). He is the only rider in the history of the series to win both classes in the same season.
This year's 800 championship was another thriller that came down to the final event. Winning two of the three races leading up to Oregonia, Watson held a scant lead over his series rivals Tiger Strank and James Large. In a series that ended incredibly similar to the 2002 title chase, Watson did what he needed to do by finishing second at Oregonia. Large won the climb and finished the season second, just four points down to Watson. Strank took third in the series, a single point behind Large.
"I knew that I had to go in there and still race for the win and that's what I did," said Watson of his approach to the season finale in Oregonia. "I was the first in order out of the three contenders. I ran a good time and Tiger (Strank) ran about the same, but wasn't able to beat me. I had a good feeling after that first run. It took a lot of pressure off me. (James) Large came back and beat my time in the second round, but I was right there and knew I had a pretty good chance to wrap it up."
Watson had an incredibly consistent year finishing on the podium in all but one round in the 800 class, including three victories. He completely dominated the 540 class winning eight of the 11 nationals and finishing second in the other three rounds. After less than 10 years in pro hillclimb Watson is already becoming a legend in the sport.
"It's really hard to believe," Watson admitted. "Growing up watching my heroes in hillclimb. They were like gods to me, guys like Greg Williams and John Williams, Lou Gerencer and Earl Bowlby. Now to be talked about in the same breath as those guys feels weird, but it's awesome at the same time."
Watson will be presented his awards at the 29th annual AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet to be held at the Rio Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, on Saturday evening, Nov. 22.