The ultra-exciting race action kicked off at the 34th HydroGarden Weston Beach Race in front of a huge crowd, where Howard Wainwright, Bailey Johnston, Stefan Murphy, Alun Davis and James Ferguson took victory across the Youth, Quad and Sidecar classes.
It was a day of thrills and spills that began with the 125/250f Youth class, where the stars of tomorrow fought it out in the notorious the dunes for the win. A fierce battle ensued between Jed Etchells, Howard Wainwright and Josh Greedy in the early stages of the 1hour 30 minute race, with Etchells taking the lead on lap four. However, it wasn’t to be for the Kawasaki rider, as despite stretching a substantial lead, he had an issue at the 50-minute mark, which saw him drop to an eventual seventh position. Wainwright, who finished sixth in this year’s British Youth Nationals, took to the front and dominated the remainder of the race to take his first HydroGarden Weston Beach Race win. Josh Greedy rode a strong race throughout to finish in second position, while Mitchell Warhurst rounded out the podium in third.
Next on track was the 65cc Youth class, which was dominated from start to finish in spectacular fashion by Bailey Johnston. The young KTM-racer from Pontefract, who was 12th last year at his first Weston-Super-Mare race, was nearly a minute in front by the chequered flag. In second place was Henry Life who battled hard throughout, while Ben Mustoe finished an impressive third on his HydroGarden Weston Beach Race debut.
In the ultra-grueling three-hour Adult Quad and Sidecar Race it was 26-year-old Stefan Murphy that took his first HydroGarden Weston Beach Race win in the solo quad class, despite having retired from racing just over a year ago. The RPG Yamaha racer rode tactically to take the lead on his fifth lap, and although he rode with a bent bike in the closing stages of the race, Murphy was pleased to finally take the victory honours after numerous attempts. Last year’s winner Sheldon Seal was second, while Jason Macbeth finished third.
In the Sidecar class Alun Davies and James Ferguson, who were runners-up in the British Sidecar championship this year, were pleased to take their debut win, despite some issues in the first lap of the race, while Steve Atkins, who finished fourth in the overall standings, took the 4×4 Quad class victory. To round out the celebrations the Two-Man quad team of friends Marco Zaffino and Ameelie Miller also took their first beach race wins with a strong shared performance.
Sunday’s racing kicks off at 09.30 with the Youth Quad Race, followed by the 85cc Youth race at 11.15 and the highlight event, the HydroGarden Weston Beach Race Adult Solo race at 13.30, where a bumper entry is expected to provide some great racing action. Tickets are available on the gate and more information can be found at www.westonbeachrace.com
Howard Wainwright – HydroGarden Weston Beach125/250f Youth class winner
“It’s been a good day, and I am very happy to take my best ever result at Weston. After racing it twice before on the smaller bikes, it was great to win it in my first year on a big bike. It wasn’t easy, as after I ran to the bike I couldn’t get it going, but when we got onto the beach I got to the front after a few battles with Josh Greedy and Jed Etchells, then I just tried to stay on to the end. It’s been a good season and today was a great way to finish off my first year on the big bike.”
Bailey Johnston – HydroGarden Weston Beach Race 65cc Youth class winner
“I finished 12th last year and this was my second time racing at Weston. I fell off quite a few times, but I managed to keep going until the end. In the first couple of laps I had to be careful with the bike, as it’s just had an engine re-build. I kept it steady, but once we got into it I found my momentum and was able to pull away. I’ve had a good year as I won the Judd racing premier cup and I finished fifth in the British Youth Nationals, so to win here was special. Next year I’ll move up to the 85cc class and I hope to race the British Youth Nationals, but I’m not sure about Weston yet as I’m still quite small, although I love it here, and the straight is a lot of fun.”
Stefan Murphy – HydroGarden Weston Beach Race Solo Quad race winner
“I’m really surprised and I don’t know what to say. I retired from racing about a year and a half ago, and in the past I’ve come so close to taking the win – I’ve had seconds and thirds, so to take a win now is really special. Today was all about having some fun; I came out behind around 30 bikes, I took it easy and I was enjoying it out there. I know the race well, but we got into the lead and it just went from there. I’ve done this race nine out of the last 10 years, and I really enjoy it. I came here with no expectation, or pressure like in the past, but the guys from RPG supplied me with a great bike, and I had a faultless race apart from the last three laps, where I had bent the steering after crashing into a 4×4 quad. I struggled after that to keeping going, and I fell off a few times, but knowing it was to play for I rode safely to the end, and tried to keep out of trouble.”
Ameelie Miller – HydroGarden Weston Beach Race Two-man quad winners
“I’ve done Weston about five or six times in the adult class, both in the team and solos. Last year I was in a team and we broke down with a few laps to go, so it was good to finish this year and we were 14th overall, which we’re really happy with. Marco started off the race, he got a really good start, and when I took over we hoped we’d only need one pit stop, but the fuel light came on in the penultimate lap, so I had to rush in to refuel, get straight back out and we managed to hold the position to take the win. The track was the best it’s been in a long time, and I have really enjoyed it.”
“I was more nervous on the last few laps watching than sat on the bike at the start. After five attempts this is the first time I’ve finished without a problem, and this was certainly a great way to finish.”
Steve Atkins – HydroGarden Weston Beach Race 4×4 Quad race winner
“I got the holeshot, then led most of the first lap until I rolled it close to the line. In the past I’ve always ridden on a racebike, but in the last few years I’ve raced the 4×4. I feel like the track wasn’t as tough as last year, but I really enjoyed it all the way through, and it was a great way to finish the season off.”
Alun Davies – (Driver) – HydroGarden Weston Beach Race Sidecar race winner
“We’ve done Weston a few times and finished second twice. Last year we were leading for the first hour, but we had an issue and that was it. We had better luck this year. We had a good start, but the bike stalled after half a lap and we struggled to get her going again, so we lost around six minutes. We thought that was the end of a chance for a result, but we got it going again; it was quite tough, but we’re used to that. We’ve tried and tried and tried, so it means a lot to take this win.”