After an intense fight for three-hours around the grueling dune course, three time World Champion David Knight (MBE) took an emphatic win today at the Monster Energy fuelled RHL Beach Race at Weston-Super-Mare, after a battle which saw a number of riders take the lead throughout the super-tough race.
It was Honda rider Jamie Lewis who took the holeshot down the 1.5-mile straight with Knighter second, Tom Church third and 2011 triple British Champion Brad Anderson in fourth.
Anderson took the lead 20-minutes in, although having to stop for a brake pad change and with having some issues on his bike during the race meant he would falter later in the race to finish in an eventual third position. Church took up the reins and lead to the first hour mark, when Knighter took to the front, although he also struggled in the early stages with his bike visibly in trouble.
Thankfully for Knighter, who has recently recovered from hip surgery, the bike cleared after his first pit stop and he was able to get into a good rhythm. Church re-took the lead and was out in front until the final 30-minutes when 33-year-old Knighter really put the hammer down and got back to the front of the pack. While local-man Church tried to respond aboard his HM Plant Red Bull KTM and both of the leading riders lapped up-to second place, the experienced Manxman Knighter pulled a safe lead in style to bring his machine home for his sixth Weston win, which includes five solo wins and one quad win.
“I got a good start and as stupid as it sounds it’s better to follow someone for the first few laps through all of the dunes. I got a bit of arm pump early on, and I thought I was leading with Brad but actually Tom was ahead. For the first hour I was struggling and the bike was messing around a bit, so I had to stop in the pits early. The bike was still misfiring a little so I pulled the kill-switch leads out while going up the straight and it cleared. After that I got my head down and I saw Tom was half a minute ahead. As I came in the pits for my second stop I was in the lead and I caught back up to Tom after a good stop. He seemed tired, and while I thought my fitness would be bad because of my hips, I pushed in the last hour and got away a little. I knew I had done enough and needed to back off in the last few laps, but I nearly had a couple of big crashes. But yes, the smaller mounds made the track much harder to get away this year, and although I got some cramp, I felt good in the end. It was good to be pushed to the last few laps with Tom, as we lapped up to second. It’s been a good day and I’m pleased to have another win, so hopefully I can be there at Swansea,” said David Knight.
In the 85cc big wheel class Honda rider Robert Davidson took an early lead with Ben Watson in second. Watson soon took to the front and had a healthy gap when disaster struck and he was forced to retire with three laps to go. Davidson was able to take the lead, but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the 15-year-old, as he kept having to dismount to re-align his chain. Despite having to stop just a few turns from the end, the one-time Weston podium finisher Davidson, who had to retire from last years race was pleased to finally take the top spot today. In the small wheel class Mitchell Warhurst took the win, while Ben Howell won the rookie 125cc/250F class, which was held this morning.
“I got a good start and led for a little while. I only had to pit once, as I had a big tank, but towards the end it was hard, as my chain kept falling off. I didn’t know Ben was in front, but I just kept my head down and kept pushing. My chain roller wore down quite a lot from the drag of the chain and a few corners from the end it jumped off, but I managed to get it back on in time to take the win. I’ve been on the podium once before and my bike broke last year, but it’s a really good feeling to have the top spot. It’s my final ride on the CRF150R today then I’m getting a 250 next week to start preparation for next year. I’d like to thank Craigs motorcycles, M-Tech Race tuning, Mugshots designs and my mum and dad,” said 85cc big wheel winner, Robert Davidson.
“It’s been a very positive weekend for RHL Activities. Everything has worked well and after a difficult 12 months, we’ve stood up to prove who we are and what we can do; now we can move on from this to Swansea in March and next year’s Weston. We thought entries would be down, but we received a lot of late entries, which surprised us and we were actually up on last year. It’s very positive for us considering the situation with the World economy and it’s certainly been a good weekend. Also, while today’s weather wasn’t the kindest, we also had a great turnout for the race. We held the start until 1pm, as we still had people coming in, and I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from everyone, spectators, traders and so on. I’d like to thank all of our sponsors Monster Energy, Doodson Motorsport, Molson, Hyundai, Rhino Goo, Ice Valley Water along with all of our supporters, contractors, staff and event team for all of their help in doing a good job this weekend,” said Director of RHL Activities, Gareth Hockey.
The Swansea event is being held on the 2nd to 4th March 2012 and more information will soon be available by logging on to: www.rhlactivities.com. A full list of today’s results will be available on the event website tomorrow: www.wbruk.com