By Red Bull. The 2016 Red Bull Sea to Sky opened for business with Manuel Lettenbichlertaking the Beach Race win. It was a Lettenbichler 1-2 with his father Andreasfinishing second, while Wade Young completed the top three.
A favourite among Hard Enduro fans, the penultimate stop on the Red Bull tour officially got underway on the Turkish shoreline in Kemer with the now iconic Beach Race battle. Kicking things off with morning qualifiers, the early start brought with it the unusual sight of rain.
In what’s his debut ride at Sea to Sky, Billy Bolt didn’t waste any time settling in and topped the time sheets. Placing seven seconds behind, Manuel Lettenbichler edged out his father Andreas for the runner-up spot setting stage for an explosive Beach Race final. And it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Fastest on his feet in the Le Mans style start, Andreas Lettenbichler claimed the holeshot, with Bolt close behind. At the end of lap one, Bolt took control and began to build a comfortable gap until a broken chain at the halfway marker knocked him out of the running and turned the race on it’s head.
Andreas gladly picked up the pieces and held onto the race lead until the final lap. After a sluggish start, Young came on song and closed up onto the wheel tracks of Lettenbichler with just one lap to run. Lurking in the shadows, Manuel Lettenbichler also had both riders in his sights ensuring it was all to play for on the final lap.
First Young struck and took up the lead. Andreas Lettenbichler gave chase and as the duo entered the final boulder garden, Young got hung up in the rocks as Lettenbichler dived passed for the lead. But the win was far from his. With his son Manuel gambling on a completely different and longer line, he sneaked through to snatch victory in the dying moments of the battle.
“I can’t believe I just won that,” told Manuel. “The race went right down to the wire and I managed to pass both my father and Wade on the final lap for the win – that’s crazy. “When we got to the boulder garden on the final lap I just found a different line than the guys and sneaked into the lead. It’s cool to be on the podium with my Dad and to beat him is even better!”
Despite getting beaten to the top step of the podium by his own son, Andreas was more than happy with how his race went… “Wade took the lead on the final lap but I gave it everything I had to pass him back in the final rock garden. But then Manuel got us both. It’s special to be on the podium with my son even if he beat me!”
Looking good for victory within sight of the chequered flag, Young faired worst of the trio during the final boulder battle and had to settle for third, but it’s a position he’s hoping will work to his advantage in the Forest Race – a race he won in 2015.
“It sucks a little to finish third having got into the lead but I’m hoping it will work in my favour when we start the Forest Race,” commented Young. “I won it last year so I’m hoping to repeat that tomorrow. The main goal is Saturday’s Mountain Race so the focus is getting there in one piece.”
The Red Bull Sea to Sky battle resumes again for tomorrow’s Forest Race where a top ten result will prove crucial in claiming a front row start for Saturday’s all-important Mountain Race. Photo by Lukasz Nazdraczew/Red Bull Content Pool
Check out the action here, and Billy Bolt’s on-board cam too!