Life's a beach - but no sign of the Hoff!

Last weekend, 13th/14th October, saw that great event the RHL Weston Beach Race take place - as you might have already guessed from the name - on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare. It was the 30th anniversary of this illustrious race and the weather did its 'golden October' thing and the sun shone on the sand despite dire weather warnings of rain and wind which didn't materialise. An estimated crowd of 65,000 came to watch the event over the weekend and it turned out to be an exciting series of battles. The riders were the usual eclectic mix of professionals and amateurs, all ready to take on the mighty dunes and shimmering sand of Weston beach.

Mad as a lorry

The Weston Beach race spans multiple high slippery dunes, some as big as a lorry, and a mile of straight wet sand, conditions which make for a really unique and exciting race.

Riders reach speeds of 100mph on the long Weston Beach Race straight


There was a three hour battle across the dunes for the first three places, between Jeffery Herlings, Shaun Simpson and Ken de Dycker until the riders eventually came in, in that order with Jeffery Herlings triumphant in his debut RHL Weston Beach race.

500 riders took part in the afternoon solo race and the Belgian rider, De Dycker took an early lead tackling the dunes furiously on his KTM 450. He went over the bars when he hit a wet patch on the beach and also lost speed having to make extra fuel stops. Because of this he was eventually overtaken by Simpson.

The middle section of the race saw Monster Energy Yamaha's Simpson, (whose father won the race in 1983!) with a good lead until he went over the bars while weaving in and out of the riders to get further ahead. The Scottish 24 year old had to stop to check his bike which allowed 18 year old Dutch rider, Herlings to swing by into the lead in the final hour.

The race ended with the riders who could keep themselves and their machines going and who managed to pitstop fewest times coming out on top.


Earlier in the day Joseph Ruby won the youth quad three class, with Lestyn Rowlands coming in first in the youth quad two class and Callum Brooks in the youth quad one race.

In the small wheel 85cc class it was Tommy Clarke who triumphed and Jed Etchells from the Isle of Man came second and Josh Greedy from Wales third. In the 85cc big wheel class local man Todd Kellet took the win with Alfie Bowtell second and Josh Coleman third.

'Laughing in my helmet'

Here's what the riders had to say about the event:

Jeffrey Herlings – adult solo race winner

“It was really good. I was surprised how well it went, as I paced myself in the beginning to save my energy. I was about 30 seconds back, but I cruised around and only had to do two pit stops for fuel, which helped. It was really something I liked to do, and it’s way different than riding normal motocross or GP’s. I loved it, so maybe it’s something to do again in the future, and I definitely think everyone should have a go at racing it at least once in their lifetime. I didn’t expect to win the first time, so I’m quite surprised with the result. I had a couple of crashes, went through the fence really fast at one point, but anyway congratulations to Shaun in second and Ken in third because it was really tough. The straight was really cool, as you can get to over 100mph, which is an amazing feeling and I loved it. The atmosphere was great and you can’t ride race speed with the amateurs, as they go left to right, right to left and you’re not always sure where they are going to start or end, but it was a lot of fun to be with them. That part was particularly difficult, not to crash with the other guys, but a big thanks to KTM for giving me a great bike. It was really well organised, the flag marshalls were good and it wasn’t dangerous at all, as I thought it might be, which was positive. I am really glad I came.”

Shaun Simpson – adult solo second place

“It’s been a great weekend and good to be part of. I am just really happy we got round in one piece. Everything went well apart from having a crash when I got a bit excited in the lead and I also had to make an unexpected pit stop. I was behind two guys on a jump and there were two main lines, but I thought I could make a new one to get by, and I went over the dune to find there was a big soft part at the back end of it, which sent me over the bars. I thought I broke my radiator too after colliding with someone, but it was a good event and I definitely need to be back next year to take the win. It’s nice to see so many people getting behind a motorcycling event, and it’s a bit different for everyone, so I was pleased to see it so well supported.”

Ken de Dycker – adult solo third place

“My race went okay, but on the first lap I was a bit crazy and tried to jump things that just weren’t possible. I crashed a few times and got my bike stuck. It was a really fun race and I’ve never done anything like it before. Racing against the amateurs was the funniest part; seeing everyone in front of you doing some crazy things and I was just laughing in my helmet going round. I’d really like to do this again but we had to stop four times, as I had a smaller fuel tank than the others. It has been a great weekend overall.”

Lovely day for a dog walk though...

So the event was a great success this year, with kindly weather and fantastic nail-biting racing - and even a dog walker who somehow missed the 500 motorcycles and the 65,000 crowds on the beach and wandered into the race to, walk the dog! Follow the link if you want to read this story - just lucky it wasn't one of those dogs which likes to chase motorcycles.....!

If you went to the RHL Weston Beach race this year, as a competitor or a spectator, and have any stories or photos we would love to hear/see them so send them to us via the comment form! Look forward to hearing from you!

Posted by Lucy England
for Wemoto News on 18 October 2012 in Racing



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