Q&A With Ken Bengtson

Sweden’s Ken Bengtson took a double race win in the EMX2t class in Latvia on his first ride in the class. Find out what he has to say about the win, his reasons for riding the class and how his 2019 has been going below.

You have been riding a two stroke in Sweden as well this year, why did you make the change from four stroke to two stroke?

Yes i have, i actually don’t have a good answer really more then that i was exciting to try 2 strokes. So i ordered 2 stroke bikes from Husqvarna Scandinavia but before i really had a chance to test it properly i injured my scaphoideum at the autumn and just started riding 1,5 week before the first Swedish National (20 april). So i started then with the bikes i had, which was the 2 stroke and because i jumped straight in to the season i just had to settle with that. But it was fun and motivating to start learning the new bike. Also i am happy because its a very strong bike so you don’t have to touch it. That makes life easier when you can ride the bike straight from the box.

How much support did you get to race at the EMX2t in Latvia? Do you have a big team or are you more privateer?

Last year and this year i am just riding private with help from all my sponsors. Like Husqvarna Scandinavia, CEC racing, Scott, SVAB, MAFI and a lot of other brands and companies that support me. Like Lommel last year i was there with my girlfriend and two friends. And now in Latvia it was my dad and myself. So private but with really nice people and companies in my back.

Was racing the EMX2t in Latvia just a one-off or do you intend to race the rest of the series this season, or maybe the whole series next year?

It was more like a one-off i just got bored at work the week before and i signed up for the race at lunch-break (haha). My plan was to wait a bit with racing anything else than the Swedish races until i had more time and experience this season. But riding there and get some more races under my belt would help me to get better for the rest of the season. I would love to do the whole series in emx250. But i’m to old for that next year and the budget to make a full season private is a little bit to much anyway. I am gonna ride in Lommel and Uddevalla this year though. For next year i have no intentions to do the emx2t series. I would rather race 450 if i had a good program with a winter of good preparations with great people.

Did you expect to go straight to the front in the class or was it a surprise for you?

I did really not expect to win, of course if i would feel well prepared and everything i would have the mindset to win. But now it was more for fun and “let’s see what happens”. Like i said, i just wanted to have some race under my belt and keep building to get back to 100% this year. But of course when i hit the track in free practice i felt good and like always i also want to do good.

In the past you have raced in EMX250 and done good, what stopped you from racing the series this year?

In 2017 i had really great support from JK Yamaha racing and that’s’ why i was able to do all the races that year. In 2018 i was riding Husqvarna private and only did one round in Lommel which ended good with 4th overall. And this year is the same. I choose some race to spend my money on and go to. The ones that’s closest to home. But of course it is my dream to ride fulltime and do all those races. Its just a hard equation with all the time you need to put into it when at the same time make enough money to afford it.

How is your season going in Sweden? Last year you were national MX2 champion, did you feel any extra pressure from this?

Its been over my expectations actually. I have been on the podium in two out of the three races, and actually won a moto at round one when the plan in the beginning was not even to race until round three. So i’m really thankful to be 4th in the standings with the possibility to still get to the #1 spot before the end of the season. Yes last year was really good for me, i don’t think i had one really bad race in all 2018, Both in Swedish National, EMX, or anyone of the enduro events i raced. No i can not say i had any pressure from that. None of the people or sponsors that supporting me is putting any pressure on me. They just want to see me enjoy and they know me and know what i can do.

Have you had to change your riding style to ride the two stroke?

I think I’m still changing my riding style a bit, the biggest part of it i think is that i really like to not use the brakes so much, but with the 2 stroke i don’t have the same brake assistance from the engine, so i have not learnt to ride as smooth as i want to, or as i did on the 4 stroke just yet.

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