Weston Beach Race
David Knight wins
Once again for the third day running Weston Super Mare was graced with perfect sunny weather conditions for the 28th RHL Weston Beach Race. Sunday's action was started with the 85cc race; in front of a packed crowd the youngsters hit the sand to tackle the tiresome course. Young Todd Kellett led for the majority of the race put a mechanical problem forced him to pull out with only 20 minutes to go handing the lead to Ben Watson.
Ben managed to take the overall honours over the hour and a half race, his fourth win in the junior class at the Beach Race to date, he commented "It was a really good race I tried to ride as smooth as I possibly could without causing myself any problems. It was a bit of a problem because I had no front or back brake so I had to try and ride as steady as possible so not to cause any more damage. I'm really pleased to have taken the overall win as there were a few problems afterwards but they got it sorted out in the end which is great."
It was David Knight once again in the adult solo class that stole the show completely as he took a stunning fourth solo win on his factory KTM in the adult race lapping everyone on the field apart from second place finisher Jamie Lewis, he secured the win by 7:22:57 and completed 22 laps from top British Motocross star Jamie Lewis riding the Nigel Arnold PAR Homes Honda with PAR Homes youngster Luke Hawkins in third place.
Just under 500 solo riders took to the track at 1pm after being led down to the beach by RHL promoter Gareth Hockey. They were let loose onto the track just after 1pm and had three hours to tackle the four and a half mile course. David Knight as always meant business and shot out the gate early on and was eager to pull a lead in the opening stages. He was tackled by youngster Scott Elderfield who briefly took the lead for some of the opening lap. This was short lived when the man machine Knighter used the full power of his factory KTM down the straight on the second lap and pulled a 30 second lead on lap two from Jamie Lewis with Elderfield in third.
At the one hour stage David Knight had stretched his lead to 2 mins and 15 seconds from motocross racers Jamie Lewis, Shane Carless, Tom Church and Luke Hawkins. At the eight lap stage it was the Manxman Knighter still leading the pack from CCM Tom Church after Jamie Lewis stopped for fuel after lap seven.
At the half way stage, an hour and a half in it was still David Knight from Tom Church, Jamie Lewis, Shane Carless, Luke Hawkins, Danny McCanney, Aaron Poolman, Jamie McCanney, Rick De Feu and Joe Jones.
CCM rider Tom Church suffered a bike problem in the closing stages of the race having been in second position for the majority of the race. Church who was five minutes down on Knight went out at 2 hours and 36 minutes handing second place to Jamie Lewis. Knight at this stage had a 6.12.92 lead over Lewis and had lapped the majority of the field at least once.
The burley giant Knight further stretched his lead in the closing stages and dominated the field proving why he was a worthy World Champion and totally showed his form at the Beach Race wowing the massive crowd who had turned out on the day to watch the riders battling it out over the fierce course.
The final top ten consisted of three Manxmen with Knighter taking the win but also brothers Danny and Jamie McCanney taking a fantastic fifth and sixth place overall. Danny broke his rear caliper on the 2nd lap and rode 18 laps with no back brake. 16 year old Jamie also did well to finish in 6th on his dad's 2005 GasGas 300. The final top ten was David Knight, Jamie Lewis, Luke Hawkins, Aaron Poolman, Danny McCanney, Jamie McCanney, Rick De Feu, Joe Jones, Tom Healey and Nigel Kibble.
Top road racer on the day was Chris Walker in 11th place and Ty Kellett who made a stunning return after his crash last year finished in 38th place on his 125.
Jack Twentyman won the over 40's class, he said "It's my 48th Birthday today and the organisers gave me number 48 as my riding number, it was obviously lucky but a great birthday present which I'll no doubt be feeling for the next week! I would like to extend my thanks to Gareth Hockey and his team for coming back and running it again as it wouldn't be the same without it."
Josh Coppins suffered bike problems early on in the race in the opening lap, he said "I'm gutted as I really wanted to go back to New Zealand with a complete Weston under my belt, this was my third time and my second DNF and the race I did finish was cut short. The bike was suffering a misfire after the first lap, we managed to clear the problem but only briefly and I managed three more laps after that before I had to retire."
It was Luke Hawkins who was super impressive; the 16-year-old has never competed in the Beach Race before and finished in a fantastic third place. He said "I can't believe I finished on the podium the first time here I wasn't expecting that at all. I'd set myself a realistic target of top ten so to get on the box is unreal. I thought I would struggle with the time but I only really started to get tired in the final few laps. The track is unreal and I tried not to do anything stupid and just get my head down and get on with it. I really enjoyed the whole thing and pleased I got such a good result for all the people that have helped me this year, it's a good way to end the season."
Second placed man was Welshman Jamie Lewis, an emotional Jamie said "I'm a bit gutted not to have been able to push Knighter a little harder but he is an exceptional rider and rode very well today. I had a really good race, the track was mega and I managed to get a good start. I had gear box problems and I got stuck in fourth gear for the final few laps so I had to try and nurse her home without doing any more damage. It was a hard race and I hope I'm getting nearer and nearer to that win that I so desperately want."
32-year-old winner David Knight was over the moon with his fourth solo win saying "I can honestly say that's the first Beach Race I've had without any major bike problems. My KTM run so smooth it was just mega, I couldn't have asked for more from them. The smallest thing I had, was a dragging clutch for a bit but that seemed to sort itself out. It was mega fun out there, the weather was awesome and the track was great. I would like to thank Gareth Hockey and all involved for the work that they have put into this over the past year after the problems that they had last year, it can't have been easy but it was fantastic this year and pleased for him and his team. Hopefully I'll be back again next year to have another shot at it!"
RHL Promoter of the 2010 Weston Beach Race commented "This year was a big test for us and how we run the Beach Race. We couldn't have asked for better and I would just like to extend a huge thank you to all the people who have supported RHL over the past year, the riders, fans, marshals and everyone who has helped make this happen this year. I hope it has put a few things to rest and that everyone enjoyed themselves and had a good weekend and will come back in 2011. Thanks again."
Results 85 cc Class
Adult Solo Results
Postscript Leighton "Onkey" Roberts finished 52nd and was "well chuffed".
A weekend of uninterrupted sunshine drew record crowds to Weston Super Mare for the 26th running of the Doodson Motorsport Beach Race. The 3.5 mile circuit was in perfect condition. Double winner David Knight took the hole shot but after a 3 hour battle 10 times world champion Stefan Everts took the win. It was the Belgian MXer's second. Shaun Simpson was runner on his Weston debut. 2005 winner Paul Edmondson was 7th. Congratulations to "ironmen" Greg Evans 9th & Gavin Houson 47th for 2 great finishes on pinned legs. Team Gas Gas Uk spannerman, Luke Meredith had a fantastic result finishing 12th on his EC250. Jeremie Warna from France won the Quads race on Saturday & John Mitchell was the runner up. David Knight was 4th.Simpson finishes second on his Weston debut
Shaun Simpson KTM UK rounded off his 2008 season with an unexpected second place on his debut at the World famous Weston Beach Race. The three-hour sea front battle at Weston-Super-Mare was won by the sand man himself Stefan Everts, who will be Simpson¹s mentor when he moves to the factory KTM team next year.
Whilst having not confirmed his participation in this unique event until late this week, Shaun showed that he was a serious contender as early as the first lap. Despite being at a disadvantage against the bigger capacity bikes on the initial sprint down the long start straight, Simpson rounded the first corner in a top ten position.
As the action shifted to the never ending line of massive dunes, the Scot started to show his pedigree and quickly made his way up the order to have the early leader and eventual victor Everts within his sights mid way though the first lap. Shaun made a brave move to pass the sand king, but his glory was short lived as he then lost the front end as he dropped down one of the steep virgin descents.
Undeterred the recently crowned MX2 British motocross champion was soon back in action, and had managed to get himself back into fourth spot as he crossed the line for the first time. With many of the other headline names dropping by the wayside as the race progressed, the twenty year old once again showed great maturity as he settled into a solid rhythm that would keep Everts within his sights.
Swift and well executed pit stops after an hour and then at the two hour mark saw Simpson pause only briefly for fuel, drink and fresh goggles on both occasions, with the KTM 250SX-F two-fifty four stroke machine not missing a beat throughout this gruelling encounter. Come the end of the three hour race, only the front three riders had managed to complete eighteen laps, with Shaun coming home just a couple of minutes behind Everts to take a worthy runners¹ up place on his MX2 bike.
Around one hundred thousand fans watched the twenty sixth edition of this annual race in glorious weather, with temperatures on the South West coast reaching the early twenties. Shaun¹s father Willie Simpson was the winner of the first ever Weston Beach Race back in 1983.
Speaking after the race Simpson said. ³That was mega, I loved every minute of it, and I am so glad that I have finally had the chance to ride this great race. I made a good start, but perhaps should have opted to follow Stefan rather than passing him on the first lap. Despite losing out on power in some places, I was making up good time in the motocross part of the track. ²
Shaun continued. ³The second hour was the hardest as I forgot to put my drinks pack on during the first pit stop, so I got quite dehydrated. The last hour was OK as I picked it up on my second stop, and that gave me an extra spurt for the final push. To finish second behind Stefan on a two-fifty four stroke is a great result both for me and KTM.²
Everts and Simpson triumph in Weston Beach Race
Veteran multi champion and Red Bull KTM factory team boss Stefan Everts showed more than 900 riders how it is done on the sand on Sunday to clinch victory in the three hour MX Weston Beach endurance race on Britain's Weston-Super-Mare seafront.
It was a guru vs. new boy affair when Everts, riding a Red Bull KTM 450 finished the race just over two minutes ahead of Britain's Shaun Simpson, who joins the Red Bull KTM MX2 Factory Team in 2009 and this year finished fourth in MX2 world championship riding for KTM UK. It was the twenty sixth time the race had been held on the UK beach, won on the first occasion by Willie Simpson, Shaun's father.
Everts still the King of Sand Everts, one of the most revered personalities in motocross racing said before the event claimed he was not as fit as he used to be but the results indicated he still has the strength, skills and winning spirit to triumph. Everts victory, ahead of Simpson in second, MX2 World Champion, Red Bull KTM factory rider Tyla Rattray in eighth place on a KTM 450 and two times World Endurance champion and Grand National Cross Country Champion David Knight (KTM 450) who finished thirteenth, showed he has lost none of his sting on two wheels. Everts is and remains the King of Sand.
Simpson tackles bigger bikes with grit and determination Simpson, recently crowned MX2 British motocross champion, showed his skill early in the race defying the bigger capacity bikes and rounding the first corner in the top ten. He tackled the formidable dunes and had Everts in his sights half way through the first lap. But then he lost the front in a brave attempt to take on the maestro and instead settled in to find his rhythm for what was a very long race. At the end of the day, the 20-year-old Scot piloted his KTM 250SX-F into second place behind his mentor to be one of only three riders to complete all 18 laps.
Speaking after the race Shaun said: "The second hour was the hardest as I forgot to put my drinks pack on during the first pit stop, so I got quite dehydrated. The last hour was OK as I picked it up on my second stop, and that gave me anextra spurt for the final push. To finish second behind Stefan on a two-fifty four stroke is a great result both for me and KTM." The race, in which there was a field of over 900 starters, was run in Indian summer temperatures in the 20's on England's south west coast and attracted around 100,000 spectators.
Ups, downs and disappointment for Knight at ’08 Weston Beach Race
With the ’08 US Grand National Cross Country title already his, having wrapped up a second consecutive US GNCC crown with victory at round 11 of this year’s championship, David Knight turned his attentions to the infamous Weston Beach Race this past weekend, where once again he entered both the quad and solo classes. Last competing in ’06 when he won the solo class Knight’s goal for ’08 was to try and do the double and win both classes.
Competing in the quad race first, Knight’s ‘just for fun’ outing saw him finish fourth. Running at the front of the race the Manxman lead for a while but during the closing stages of the three-hour event an intermittent fault saw his bike cut out on several occasions, which slowed his process. Despite his problem Knight still completed 17 laps and missed the podium just by one position.
The serious stuff came during the solo event – the race Knight hoped to win. Starting well and claiming the holeshot the KTM rider spent much of the first hour racing against New Zealand’s Josh Coppins. Forced to catch back up to Coppins and then race leader Stefan Everts after his bike wouldn’t start following the first round of pit stops, Knight rode hard during the second hour and lead the race after the second refueling stop. Opening up a 30 second lead as the race neared it’s close, with 40 minutes remaining Knight’s bike stopped and refused to start for one-minute. Dropping back to second and behind Everts, David again pushed hard and closed back in on the Belgian. Disappointingly, Knight’s bike stopped again shortly after, which put his out of the race. Having competed 15 laps Knight was credited with 13th position.
David Knight: “Because I was unable to compete at Weston last year I was really looking forward to this year’s event. It’s just too bad that both races weren’t two hours long as I’d have won both if they were. The quad event was just a bit of fun. It was going really well but I’m not sure if I got some water in my fuel or what because near the end of the race my bike started to cut out. Like I said it was just a bit of fun, so I wasn’t too worried about it. Fourth’s not too bad, but it could have been a win if I’d had a little luck on my side.
“Not finishing the solo event is really disappointing. I was really pleased with the way I rode, enjoyed battling with Josh Coppins more than any other race I’ve ever done, I just can’t believe that having done the hard work and got into the lead it all ended with me finishing down in 13th. I made a great start but then decided to follow Everts and Coppins for the opening lap. We all broke away from the others and I had such a laugh racing with Josh. We kept passing each other for about an hour. My first pit stop went well but my bike didn’t start so I had to bump start it, which meant I was about 50 seconds behind Everts then. By the second pit stop I was right with him and coming out of the fueling area I was leading.
“With about 40 minutes to go I was about 30 seconds ahead. That’s when my bike stalled and it took me about one-minute to get going again. Everts past me and although I was closing in on him my bike stopped again close to the pits and that was that. I’m not sure what the problem was but I was out of the race. Weston is hard on bikes but my motor was running well until it stalled the first time.”
Paul Hubbard, from Diss in Norfolk, has been reinstated with his 56th place finish in the Weston Beach Race results. The Bavins Yamaha rider was originally excluded from the race after he was accused of confronting a security guard at the parc ferme entrance. It later transpired it was not Paul, but another rider who gave Paul’s number when he was asked who he was by the guard. Paul, a regular competitor at the beach race, and an organiser of events in the Eastern Centre, was understandably upset that his name was brought into disrepute like this. Organisers of the beach race, RHL Activties, have looked into the situation and are pleased to be able to clear Paul’s name and re-instate him in the results.
Ramon sandblasts Weston
Belgian Steve Ramon won this weekend's Silver Jubilee Weston Beach race on a Suzuki 450 in bright autumnal sunshine. Josh Coppins from New Zealand was the runner up. British Four Stroke champion Brad Anderson was 3rd. The race was prematurely ended after 2 hours 20 minutes due to safety considerations.. Welshman Greg Evans (left) was 3rd at the halfway point but he was forced to retire when he lost his coolant. Fellow Valley Boys Ashley Greedy & Jamie Lewis finished in 5th & 6th.
The Optoma Loans Holeshot prize was claimed by American Mike Brown who was first past the Optoma Loans boards, situated just before the first dune, on his 450cc CAS Honda. The 2007 MX2 class Maxxis British Motocross champion was in the running for a top three finish before the engine on his bike started making ominous noises and he chose to retire – albeit a $1000 better off !
On Saturday it was Paul Winrow who reclaimed his title of Quadmaster of Weston, when he took victory by nearly four minutes over Jeremie Warnia. Winrow had built up a healthy lead in the early stages before having to pit to change a wheel allowing the hard charging French Suzuki rider to close up and move into first position. It looked as if this would be the case right to the flag, but Winrow was able to capitilise when his rival also hit mechanical gremlins and was forced to stop for adjustments. Just one lap adrift was Carl Bunce who rode a superb race for third at the chequered flag.
The H Bomb Squad, Freestyle Motocross team put on an awesome display on both days with Caleb Moore back flipping his quad more than six times over the weekend and ‘finishing the job’ that they started three years ago. He was ably backed up by his younger brother Colten, while solo freestyler Jimmy Fitzpatrick also wowed the crowd with some spectacular stunts. Highlight of the show was when Moore and Fitzpatrick flipped both bikes simultaneously just yards apart – amazing !!!!
One disappointing note for the weekend was the non-appearance of David Knight and Stefan Everts – both of whom were desperate to ride but prevented by very different reasons. Gareth Hockey, Director of RHL Activities said, “The reason Stefan could not come was he was in a reality TV show which was unfortunately put back two weeks from the original date. We were hoping he would be voted out of the show but it was not to be and at the moment he is still in there. We had contracted Stefan to ride at Weston but he had made the agreement to appear in the TV show before our terms had been accepted and had to honour it, so it was out of our hands.
David as I am sure you realise has been competing in the GNCC in America and with the final race coming up this week and him needing a twelfth place to clinch the series, KTM did not want him to risk any kind of injury by taking part in the beach race.
It was very unfortunate that both riders could not make it but I am sure that the spectators enjoyed the performances that Steve Ramon and Josh Coppins gave. We apologise that two star riders did not appear but we will make every attempt to get Stefan and David to the race in 2008 along with other top GP riders to keep this event at the level we have achieved.”
Nearly 55,000 fans watched the Quads, Sidecars, and Solos battle it out on the North Somerset coastline, giving a weekend total attendance of over 100,000.
David Knight completed a perfect season when he raced to victory in the solo race at the Weston Beach Race on Sunday 22nd October 2006. In front of a damp but not dispirited crowd of over 35,000, the Manx world enduro champion completed 18 laps of the 3.5 mile track in the allotted three hours. It was pretty plain sailing for Knighter who was never really troubled from the moment the 950 strong field charged off down the one mile start straight – although when asked what the secret of his success was he commented, “no front brake!!”. Behind him multi world motocross champion Stefan Everts, in his last competitive UK appearance before retirement, had to work hard to get through the traffic after a not so good opening lap. When he caught Newcastle’s Brad Anderson the two provided the trackside audience with some fantastic entertainment as first one, and then the other grabbed the advantage, with both! riders coming to grief in the Weston sand at least once. At the finish it was Everts who was credited with the runner up spot ahead of Anderson who thoroughly enjoyed “mixing it with one of the world’s greatest riders.”
Saturday’s Quad Magazine, quad race, was also a superb spectacle with over 20,000 fans enjoying the sunshine and blue skies as no less then 325 four wheel monsters tackled the North Somerset coastline. American John Natalie took charge of proceedings on his first visit to the beach race with fellow countryman Dana Creech repeating his second place of 2005. Previous Weston winner Paul Winrow had to settle for third spot after a fender bashing scrap with Creech in the closing stages. In a flying visit that saw them arrive just before the start, and depart before the podium presentation, French pairing Frederic Clemente and Pascal de Palma scooped the two man class, while Beverley Barnes was the first lady home, and Steve Atkins took the 4 x 4 honours.
The sidecar’s, as always, served up their own brand of excitement and it was Jonathan and David Sheard who repeated last year’s success with the win over Andrew Seward and Simon Rogers, with Alan Dow and Paul Hutchman filling the final podium spot.
H Bomb Squad freestyle rider Christian Gagnon is making good progress in hospital after his big crash while attempting a 360 degree flip on a quad. The 29 year old French Canadian has a broken leg and sprained wrist. He will be undergoing an operation to have the bones plated today (Monday), and all being well he should be flown home to Montreal on Wednesday.
It appears the crash was due to a combination of factors, but was mostly down to the damp conditions on and around the ramp which left Christian a little short on speed. Despite the crash he is in great spirit and has one eye on Weston 07 !! Speaking from his hospital bed Christian said, “I am looking forward to coming back to Weston next year for the 25th anniversary, and completing the jump I started this year.”
The Cardiff Volkswagen Youth classes were by no means the least gripping races of the weekend. The 65cc class on Saturday provided as much drama in 45 minutes as most parents would wish for in a lifetime ! However, it was Ben Watson on the RMR KTM who came out victorious, with Callan Cooper making the long trip from the Isle of man worthwhile in second, and Daniel Clarke third. Sunday’s 85cc race was also a testament to the ability and determination of the youth riders. Dan Thornhill completed 14 laps on his KTM to win the small wheel class, with Ryan Staveley second and Steven Holcombe third. Jack Rowland, on the aptly named Jet Shed Suzuki, narrowly overcame Matthew Moffatt for the bragging rights in the big wheel class with Frazer Norrie a brilliant third.
Knight challenges the King - D3-Racing KTM Results Service
David's weekend started on Saturday with the quad race, he very rarely rides a quad, but bought one 10 days before the race to have some fun before the main event on Sunday and learn the track a little better, having previously won the quad class at his first and only quad appearance at Weston he was also considered a serious challenger for the Trophy. David got a good start and finished the first lap just inside the top ten having got stuck a few times on the bigger than ever dunes. Early leader Paul Winrow had pulled a good lead on the first lap using all his experience to keep out of trouble, over the next few hours the lead changed several times with some very competitive racing, just after the 2 hour mark Knighter had moved into a comfortable 2nd position behind Winrow and was just over a minute down on the leader. As the course deteriorated David really began to struggle, the deeper ruts were not favouring his tyre choice and he was regularly getting stuck, his low profile tyres which worked great early on were now becoming a handicap, but despite this he was still lapping with consistent times and close to matching Winrow, then disaster struck and he had a huge crash, rolling the quad and hurting his leg badly. At this point he decided that it would be wise to stop and save himself for the battle with Everts on Sunday. Racing the quad had given him and the D3-Racing team good experience to prepare for Sundays race, David was taking the main event very seriously and Stefan would be very difficult to beat in the deep sand of Weston, only the best preparation and determination would get the result that he wanted. DK had battled with Everts in 04 at Weston but a snapped chain stopped him from pushing the MX champ, this time DK was confident and determined to prove that when it comes to 3 hour extreme events then he is the King.
The main event started at 12.40pm and almost 900 solo riders took to Weston's wet beach in very overcast and sometimes showery condition, Knighter made an awesome start with his big 525cc D3-Racing KTM 4 stroke, powering to the front of the pack, on the first lap he lead fellow Enduro riders Paul Edmondson and Edward Jones with Everts and Ramon just over 1 minute behind. On the 2nd lap DK got stuck in traffic and Eddy inherited the lead with DK about 8 seconds down, these two World champions from Enduro seemed to be giving the motocross boys a lesson in riding the beach, they were pulling away from the field and the huge crowd was loving it. But then both riders hit problems, firstly Eddy's bike took on board water and drowned the motor and he was unable to restart, Knighter crashed into the bike of a slower rider destroying his front disc, he had a 2 minute lead on Everts but that wasn't enough time to risk replacing the front wheel, he would have to ride with no brake !! , it didn't affect his speed too much but Everts was closing whilst the course was still fast, but once David got into a Rhythm he forgot about not having a brake and started to pull away. During the 3 hour event DK pitted 4 times, twice for fuel and twice for goggles, Stefan by comparison was able to have just one fuel stop but he didn't seem in a rush, he had a slow stop and maybe thought it would be easy to catch David. As many other top riders have found that once you let the Knighter go its very difficult to reel him back in, as the event progressed the conditions became very difficult, deep long ruts and lots of water but DK in the last hour was upping his pace, each lap getting faster and faster, by now having no brakes at all, the water and sand had just washed the rear pads away but after the 2 hour mark and David's last pit stop he had just over 4 minutes on Everts. The last hour and David really came into his own, now it would be a test of bike preparation and rider fitness and DK just pushed even harder, he came to Win and he was going to do it convincingly, going into the final lap he had a safe cushion of just over 7 minutes on Everts, David was going at such a pace that he would cross the line just under the 3 hour mark meaning that he could go for another lap, fortunately for Everts DK stopped before the line and waited for the 3 hour mark and rolled across the line taking the flag, Everts by comparison had to push across as his bike had stopped, these two riders had lapped the entire entry, most of them several times. David had finally done what no one else could this season and beat the King.
Edmondson wins ’05 Weston Beach Race
In front of thousands of spectators and competing against over 800 riders Honda Racing Fast Eddy PAR Homes rider Paul Edmondson topped the 23rd running of the annual Weston-Super-Mare Beach Race. In doing so Paul claimed his first ever Weston victory having finished as runner-up on four separate occasions.
Lining up on the inside of the start straight Edmondson managed to avoid troubles as he rounded the first turn and exited the wide left hander just inside the top 20. Passing numerous riders over the first six dunes Paul was comfortably inside the top five half way around the first lap and settled into his race pace behind two-time le Touquet winner Jean Claude Mousse, Jordon Rose and Tyla Rattray. Following the few riders ahead of him across the remaining dunes of the opening lap Paul then moved to the runner-up position on lap two before proceeding to the front of the race mid-way through the event.
Stopping twice for fuel Edmondson returned to the track in the lead after his second stop and maintained his advantage during the closing stages of the three-hour competition. Not wanting to make a mistake that might cost him victory Edmondson rode extremely cautiously during the final hour and despite a few close moments with lapped riders started the final lap of the race in the lead.
Knowing that anything could, and often does happen, in the latter stages of the Weston Beach Race, Paul slowed his pace considerably, used extreme caution when passing slower riders and claimed his first ever Weston victory ahead of Brad Anderson and Jason Thomas.
Paul Edmondson: “It’s a great feeling to have finally won the event. I first finished second to Dave Thorpe back in ’88 and again last year I was the runner-up to Stefan Everts so to have won is awesome. I can’t believe how well the race went for me – I was really lucky and didn’t have any big crashes or any bike problems. In fact my bike ran perfectly all race and never missed a beat.
“I was about 20th out of the first turn and worked my way up inside the top five not long after that. From there everything went well in the race. I followed the riders that were ahead of me for the opening lap and then found myself behind Brad Anderson on the second lap. I made two fuel stops, one at the end of the first and one at the end of the second hour. I passed Brad shortly after my first stop and then had a good battle with Tyla Rattray for about three or four laps.
“I had a few near misses in the last hour of the race but I slowed my pace to make sure that I didn’t make any mistakes. I was really nervous during the last few laps because so often something silly happens at Weston, which can cost you the win. Thankfully it didn’t and to win is great.”
Gas Gas rider Paul Whibley finished 6th.
Disabled Riders Conquer Weston
The dunes and jumps of the Weston Beach Race present their own specific challenge to the thousands of riders who tackle the annual end of season three-hour enduro. This year Paul Rowlands and Laurie Squirrell, both paraplegics after racing accidents, made their competitive comebacks in the quad race and successfully overcame the personal and physical challenges presented by this unique event. The fact they competed at all was subject to conjecture with both riders going against an ACU ruling on Friday that neither would be allowed to start.
Subsequent to the completion of the quad race, ACU Director and Chairman of the Motocross Committee, Roy Humphrey held discussions with Phil Armes of PA Promotions, himself a paraplegic, and decided to call a meeting on Sunday with all interested parties. Paul, Laurie, and Phil, together with Gareth Hockey and Phil Roberts of Weston organisers RHL Activities, Tony Nash of the Quad Racing Association (QRA), and Roger Harvey from Honda met with Roy in the VIP marquee where Roy issued the following statement,
"Whilst the ACU, myself as Chairman of the Motocross Committee and a Director of the ACU, condemn yesterday's action by both Paul & Laurie, I applaud their skill and determination in proving a point. The ACU will take no action against either Paul or Laurie, but instead invite them to work with the ACU and other interested parties, to help devise a protocol and systems whereby disabled people can access and enjoy participation and competition in motorcycle sport. Motorcycle racing should not be in isolation from other sports that have progressed the active participation of disabled people. The ACU, RHL Activities, and the QRA will endeavour to explore all possibilities with the insurers and medical specialists to achieve this common aim."
Tony Nash of the QRA was pleased with the outcome of the meeting and added, "I have been actively promoting the inclusion of disabled people within our sport for some time. This is a golden opportunity to take this issue forward and I will do all I can to assist with making these aims a reality."
Gareth Hockey of RHL Activities endorsed Roy's handling of the situation and said, "This is a really positive outcome from the events of this weekend. The Weston Beach Race provides a different kind of challenge to normal off road competition, and we are pleased that the ACU have recognised this and I look forward to working with Roy on developing the opportunities for disabled participants."
22nd Annual Weston Beach Race
Edmondson claims runner-up spot at Weston
Securing the runner-up spot in the Enduro 2 class of this year's World Enduro Championship just seven days earlier, Honda Racing Fast Eddy rider Paul Edmondson and the HRFE team decided to compete in the annual end-of-season Weston Beach Race this past weekend. Returning to Weston-Super-Mare as a competitor for the first time in 10 years, Edmondson claimed the runner-up spot in the solo event behind eight-time world motocross champion Stefan Everts. Mounted on one of his training bikes, Edmondson, who took part in his first Weston Beach race in 1985, showed that there is no substitute for experience as he placed as the only rider to finish on the same lap as race winner Everts. Managing to negotiate the first turn and the opening dunes without too much trouble, Edmondson settle into a pace that saw him claim a well deserved podium finish. Not wanting to use too much energy during the opening stages of the race, Edmondson frustratingly found himself having to pit four times during the event - something that saw him fall off the pace of race winner Everts. Despite things not going quite to plan, and having spent a little too much time in the pits, Edmondson thoroughly enjoyed the event and vowed to return in '05 to try and go one better and win the event.
Paul Edmondson: "I'm really pleased to have finished second to Stefan Everts because Weston was just a bit of end-of-season fun for me, I never set out to take the race too seriously. It's a nice way to finish the season off on a domestic level. As normal with Weston nothing went to plan as I ended up managing to do four fuel stops instead of the proposed two, which obviously cost me a lot of time. All in all it was a great event, especially seeing as so many spectators came out to watch the event." "Finishing as the only rider to finish on the same lap as Stefan Everts is nice, especially considering how much time I spent in the pits. I didn't have any major crashes during the race. I got stuck a few times on some of the dunes but pretty much managed to stay out of trouble and pick my way through the lapped riders." "I had a good battle with Brad Anderson around the second or third lap but knowing that Weston is a much harder race than most, and being three hours long, I decided to settle into a manageable pace, get the bike to the finish, and that's what I did. Finishing on the podium as runner-up is great."
HONDA RACING TEAM SANDIFORD
With ?hectic? written all over this last weekend as Sandiford?s launch of the Montesa Cota 4RT at the Scott Trial in Richmond, North Yorkshire was the day prior to the Beach Race, a slightly jaded Team Sandiford was however still fully prepared.
With Martin Sandiford and Wayne Braybrook both seeded into top 100 riders, they were in the first handful of ?popstars? onto the beach. Campaigning the Enduro version Honda CRF250X, we were always aware that top speed wasn?t the bike?s ticket, BUT, the bikes performance in the dunes was superb.
A crash on lap one for Martin, then piled on by a 2 further bikes, left him well down the order on the first circuit (over 150 riders had come through before Martin came past the pits). Wayne came past his crew in the top 20 and despite a couple of ?slip off?s? and ?tangles? started to pull through. Martin too then went on the charge and managed to get into the top 20 with 2 laps to go. Wayne was by this time well into the top 10 and that last couple of laps pulled him through to a creditable 5th. After fighting through the pack Martin managed a final 31st placing having to cruise the last lap to save his clutch.
Quote Wayne : ? I?m really chuffed, the bike never missed a beat all day and despite losing ground on the straight on my trusted little 250X she came up trumps in the dunes. I rode the same bike on which I rode in the ISDE and that really proves the pain these ?X?s? can take ? the event was awesome, I really enjoyed it. ?
Quote Martin : ? I?m a little disappointed not to have finished higher, but my bike got so much pain after my first lap crash and then subsequently fighting through the pack. However, it never once got hot but I did lose some adjustment in the clutch, I think that was to be expected as the ruts on the last lap were unbelievable. I?ve some fair bruises from my crash, not least a burn across my chest from a 4 stroke KTM exhaust!!?
Weston Beach Race 2002
David Knight won the re-scheduled solo Regency Weston Beach Race with 27 laps on Sunday 3rd November & won the quad race the previous weekend.