HERLINGS WINS WESTON BEACH AT FIRST OUTING!
Red Bull KTM factory rider and MX2 World Champion Jeffrey Herlings on Sunday took victory in the notoriously difficult Weston Beach Race at Weston-super-Mare in the west of England.
It was the first time that the Dutch teenager had competed in the race where literally hundreds of riders compete right next to the ocean in the spectacular, once a year event.
Jeffrey Herlings won the grueling three-hour race by a margin of three minutes after making just two refueling stops. UK rider Shaun Simpson was second and third was Herlings’ KTM factory teammate Ken de Dycker of Belgium, who was a late entry to the race.
De Dycker took an early lead on his KTM 450 SX-F and was strong over the sand hills but he hit a boggy patch and went over the handlebars. An eventual four pit stops also put him back at third when the checkered flag dropped. Simpson went into the lead after de Dycker’s crash but in the melee of hundreds of riders he too crashed and was forced to stop to check that all was well with his machine. Herlings then moved up to the front and with his hallmark skill on the sand and some clever tactics, was able to make it stick.
Herlings said he had not really known what to expect at this first outing at Weston Beach. “I took it slowly at the beginning so I could find some good lines,” he said. “There was a lot of water on the track at the beginning but it dried out as the race went on.” He confirmed that the first hour of constantly tackling the sand hill jumps was tough going but said he felt more comfortable on his favorite surface as the race progressed. “I was able to make just two pit stops but many of the other riders had to make three.”
The Dutch teenager, who won the MX2 World championship on the light and nimble KTM 250 SX-F opted for the bigger KTM 450 SX-F for Weston Beach. “It was fun to ride and it was great to have a bit more power on the long straight along next to the sea.”
De Dycker said later that his race had been okay. “But on the first lap I was a bit crazy and tried to jump things that just weren’t possible. I crashed a few times and my bike got stuck but it was a really fun race and I’ve never done anything like that before.”
Organizers estimated the crowd attending the 30th anniversary of the beach race at 65,000 and some 500 were on the starting line for the race that is not only a test of skill but also of endurance.
Results 30th Edition Weston Beach Race
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NL), KTM
2. Shaun Simpson (UK)
3. Ken de Dycker (B), KTM