Nathan Watson continued his sand dominance by becoming the first British rider ever to win the Le Touquet Beach Race in France today.
With over 1400 riders lining up for the 3 hours, the race is a huge test of man and machine and can become a survival of the fittest, which for the front runners it literally did.
With the world-renowned Enduropale du Touquet playing host to the sixth and final round of the Championnat de France des Sables, Nathan Watson arrived at the legendary beach race third overall in the points standings. Knowing that a race win would offer him the greatest chance of championship success, the British rider set about doing exactly that.
An epic dual at the front saw French KTM racer Camille Chapeliere fall foul of the traffic, as did Jeremy Van Horebeek who at the time was holding a commanding lead. A slow start to the race saw Watson lose considerable time on the leaders during the opening hour. Taking things too cautiously on the fast and smooth course, he began to find his rhythm as the event moved past the halfway point. With the track deteriorating, the KTM 450 SX-F mounted rider rapidly cut his way through the field, jumping from sixth to second in just two laps.
Battling hard with race leader and championship rival Milko Potisek, the duo went head-to-head during the closing stages of the race. With the final pitstop complete, Watson attacked hard for the last two laps and managed to break clear. He eventually crossed the finish line as the 2019 French Beach Race champion with a comfortable five-minute margin of victory, whilst becoming the first ever British rider to win the ‘Le Touquet’ beach race from Daymond Martens in second and Richard Fura third.
While it was jubilation for Watson it was heartbreak for three times Weston Beach Race winner Todd Kellett who had worked his way up to the top 5, only for his machine to expire just 15 minutes from the end. The results show Todd finishing in 32nd.
Four other Brits made the top 100, with Scot Stefan Simpson a superb 13th, Rob Holyoake riding an excellent race to pull in 10’s of places to finish 34th. John Robson came home in 48th while Ben Hunt was 61st. Well done to all the Brit’s competing.
In the Saturday Quad race Sheldon Seal recorded one of the best ever finishes by a British competitor in the 22-year history of the quad race by taking second place. Seal’s second place, 1m 49s behind the winner Matthieu Ternynck, which was Seal embroiled in a massive three-way battle with French stars, Ternynck and Romain Couprie, with each rider leading multiple times.
The result was only settled on the 12th and final lap when first Couprie’s hybrid Yamaha blew up on the straight and then Seal had to do a drive-through pitstop, allowing Ternynck to make a small break for the victory
Only three other Brits made the top 50 in the 355 strong field at Le Touquet. Carl Bunce was 13th, Harry Miller 25th and young Scot, Lorne Sinclair, 48th.
Victory in the two-rider team category went to Brits James Bevan and Tom Roch who finished in 52nd, just four seconds ahead of the team of Tom Chell and Dafydd Davies in second.