The 35th running of the HydroGarden Weston Beach Race takes place this weekend and, with the infamous course almost finished, Gareth Hockey – Director of event organiser RHL Activities – is confident of challenging some of the world’s best riders.
“We’re going to try and break it into three sections,” he said. “Section one, which is the far end off the start, will be reasonably sensible with quite large yet doable obstacles.
“Section two, which is known as the golf course up to the big tunnels, is going to be a bit more extreme enduro. It will be extremely hard, extremely difficult, with some big obstacles in the way.
“For the last section we are building a more motocross style area around the finish.”
Last year’s champion Todd Kellett is back to defend his title against some seriously quick riders including multi-time Weston winner David Knight, British MX1 motocross champion Graeme Irwin and extreme enduro specialists Jonny Walker and Paul Bolton.
Despite the unique nature of the three-hour main race making picking an overall winner notoriously difficult, Hockey’s not afraid to make a prediction.
“I think I’d put my money on David Knight. He’s a bit older and a bit more experienced. Jonny [Walker] I don’t know – I’d love to see him win it but I think David could sneak it. We’ve got Todd Kellett, Paul Bolton, Graeme Irwin and a few other great riders so it’s possibly one of the most open ones we’ve had for a long time.”
Walker, winner of the recent Red Bull 111 Megawatt event in Poland, is determined to improve on his sixth-placed finish last year.
“I’m really looking forward to it – it was my favourite race last year,” said the 26-year-old Red Bull KTM rider. “I didn’t do as well as I wanted to but we learned a lot as a team and what we need to do for this year to be able to fight for the podium.
“Last year I didn’t really know what to expect. I was up there on the first lap but went into the second lap too fast. Instead of learning the track I just went in all-out and ended up crashing, lost loads of time and we ended up having six pit stops.
“I like racing Knighter, he’s a legend. I know he’s fast in the sand and he’s really experienced but he’s getting on a bit now so hopefully I can beat him! But I’m not just going there to beat him, I’m going there to try and win. I’d love to say I’ve won the HydroGarden Weston Beach Race.”