By Dick Law. Milko Potisek crossed the channel from France to snatch Sunday’s £1000 big bucks beach race at Skegness, leaving the rest of the riders to eat sand as he finished the three-hour event a whole lap in fount of the young and talented Jake Edey in second and the UK’s sand man Richard McKeown third.
Under bright blue clear skies over 140 riders set off at a civilised 11.30am for the race with a large crowed lining the sea wall and the pier up to four deep at the free to spectate event.
Saturday’s clubman winner James Wainwright led the pack in to the first turn from Gavin Stevenson, Edey and Matt Burrows with McKeown in sixth and Potisek seventh after getting held up at the first dune.
But Potisek, winner five years ago, was taking no prisoners and by lap two he was in the lead and had Wainwright hanging onto his heels.
By the time the race was and hour old, the lead had switched a couple of times but Potisek was not to be denied and was back in the lead and skipping over the top of the whoops in a fast, controlled sand racing style that made it look easy, which we all know it’s not.
Edey was now in second but handed that place back to Stevenson for four laps while he had a pit stop.
McKeown was up to fourth with Burrows and Josh Bentley in his wheel tacks as lots of other riders were dropping by the wayside with the strain of the event on their body and their machines.
With an hour to go the race was set as Potisek had a lead of a lap with Edey second and McKeown third but try as he could, he couldn’t close the gap to second after a crash opened up a big gap.
As the race clock counted down and only a number of seconds showed, Potisek’s mechanic waved his arms from the signalling area to get his rider to slow a bit to avoid another lap and the dangers that would bring.
Potisek had slid into the winner’s enclosure, taken off his helmet and was eating a bar of chocolate before Edey joined him while McKeown finished off the top three, moments later.
Wainwright was fourth, two laps down with the rest of the pack headed up by Ryan Crowder, John Robson and Josh Bentley five laps off the lead.
John Littier was the first of the vets over 40s in 24th from Alex Cristopher and Martin Allen.
“This is one of the hardest sand races of the year,” said Frenchman Potisek, “At La Touquet you have time every lap going down the beach straight for a little rest and although they have bigger jumps, most are in a straight line. Here there is turn, short straight and turn again so there is no time to rest. I won the event five years ago and I will be back next year if I can.”
Second overall, teenager Edey had already finished second in the two-hour clubman race on Saturday so had spent five hours racing on the beach over the weekend and said: “I am really happy and think I have redeemed myself after little mishap halfway through the year so it’s really nice to get back on the bike and show everyone what I can do racing in the sand. I have only been back riding for five weeks so I have been struggling with my fitness but I am mentally strong and managed to posh through the race, but don’t get me wrong I am absolutely hanging!”
McKeown thought he could have done better then third and said: “I went down twice on the first lap. There was a big hole in the track that I hadn’t seen and I went straight in it on full gas and went over the bars. I had to turn the bike round and go back up the track to get over it. That meant I lost ten to 15 positions on the first lap and then it was just too much hard work to catch up again. I caught up with Jake (Edey) and managed to get past him but then I went down again with a back marker and it took us some time to separate our machines. It was just too tough from then on making up the lost time.”