The 34th running of the Weston Beach Race was certainly one to remember, as local man Todd Kellett was embroiled in a race-long battle with Grand Prix motocross racer Tanel Leok before taking an emotional victory in front of a bumper crowd in the Adult Solo race.
With the likes of Red Bull KTM Factory racer Jonny Walker, world famous stunt rider Robbie Maddison and MotoGP star Scott Redding lining up for this year’s event with over 800 entries in the solo race alone, it was always going to be an incredible spectacle. Crescent KTM’s Kellett, who finished fifth last year, got the holeshot after the first straight, with Walker and Leok close behind into the first turn. However, Walker crashed on the second lap over one of the enormous dunes that the race is famous for, while a determined Leok took to the front.
Kellett and Leok, who finished fifth in the British MX1 championship this year, fought it out just seconds apart to the final lap of the ultra-grueling three-hour race in front of a 70,000-strong crowd. Kellett took an emphatic win, with Leok close behind in second, while Irish racer Martin Barr held onto third in his HydroGarden Weston Beach Race debut.
Kellett’s brother Ty – the duo are pictured above – also enjoyed a memorable race by finishing in the top 10, and it’s worth nothing that both brothers competed in yesterday’s three-hour Quad and Sidecar race, making today’s success even more admirable.
Todd Kellett was also awarded the HydroGarden Weston Beach Race Young Gun Award in memory of Dan Horton-Tilley for being the highest placed 19-year-old competitor.
Hard-enduro expert Walker had to get his head down after his lap two incident, and as it’s his first time at this specialist event, he aimed to keep out of trouble with some strong lap times throughout the three hours. With five pit stops it was never going to be easy, but the Red Bull KTM Factory racer finished in an eventual sixth place.
Robbie Maddison, who hasn’t raced for nearly 20 years and had just planned to try and finish the event, enjoyed the experience, while being incredibly satisfied to finish within the top 50 in 46th position. The Australian-ace, who said it was the most fun he’s had in a long time, has vowed to come back and prepare properly for next year’s event.
Also new to the HydroGarden Weston Beach Race was Scott Redding, who switched from his usual 270bhp MotoGP machine to a motocross bike, and despite having had very little preparation prior to the event, he was pleased to achieve his goal of finishing within the top 100. The Gloucester-based racer finished 93rd at the line in an impressive, gritty performance.
Todd Kellett said: “It’s a really emotional win. I think everyone knows what happened to my brother, so this has turned out to be the best weekend of my life. I think eight years ago I won in the 65cc class, four years ago I won in the 85cc class, but to win the adult class, well I can’t put it into words, I’m over the moon. I got the holeshot, and the battle was so intense it was like a motocross race. Every time I tried to get close to Tanel or pass him, it took a lot of energy. In the first hour I let him go, as I didn’t think he could go that fast for that long, but I eventually caught him. I did over two hours on a quad yesterday and I woke up this morning wondering if it was a good idea, but it’s been great fun. We were sixth in the 2-man quad, so for the results this weekend I couldn’t have asked for any more. To repeat last year’s result in the solos of Ty and I both being in the top 10 I didn’t think would be possible; Ty has been so busy with work but he pulled it out of the bag, it’s been incredible. Of course I really want to thank Crescent KTM, mum, dad, my girlfriend and everyone helping out, as they all put a lot into this.”
Jonny Walker, who finished in 6th place, said: “I super-enjoyed it, and I’m definitely going to be back next year. I got a really good start, around the top three, but when I came round for the second lap I came over a dune a little bit into the race and smashed right into a pile-up. I was in the air by the time I saw it, so it was a bit of a mistake, and I hurt my leg. It took a while to get going, then I had to pit, so we refueled and tried to get the bike sorted. I then had to play catch-up from around 20th place. That one mistake cost me a lot; I’m not saying I could have won it, but I definitely could have been closer to the front. I really enjoyed it; I just think I need to be not so rushed in the first laps and ride a bit safer. It’s been a great experience.”
Robbie Maddison was 46th place and said: “Man this has been one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in a long time. I haven’t raced motocross for over 18 years, and I’ve not been on a start line in that intense situation for a very long time. I didn’t know what to expect, and you can’t knock something until you’ve tried it. It seems brutal, but it was also a lot of fun, and it’s a different technique to normal riding with the sand like it is. It was cool to be racing and it brought back memories of the past; I could hear my dad’s voice in the back of my head telling me to look forwards and get on my footpegs. It was so cool to brush off my roots of racing as a young kid and it’s definitely inspired me to get on the tracks to ride more and maybe prepare to come back next year to do better. I’m so stoked to finish in the top 50, I wasn’t even sure I’d finish the race. I 100% want to come back and bring some friends, I just had such a great time over here and the fans were great. It was an awesome weekend, an awesome event and I’d like to support it.”
Scott Redding was 93rd. He said: “I was really looking forward to racing here at Weston for the first time, until I actually arrived and saw the track! It looked a lot more challenging in real life than it did on the videos I’d been watching! I was happy to finish inside the top 100 at my first attempt. If I’m honest, I was pretty happy just to finish! It was tough out there today but at the same time it was great fun. The atmosphere here at Weston is incredible and there were some great characters out there racing today. Congratulations to Todd on the win; he really earned that champagne today!”
Full results are HERE!