TRACK BUILD WELL UNDERWAY AT HYDROGARDEN WESTON BEACH RACE
It’s the final build-up to the 35th running of the HydroGarden Weston Beach Race, and the mammoth dunes are being prepared for the maddest, baddest and most bonkers off-road event in Britain, which takes place this weekend on October 13-15 in Weston-Super-Mare.
We caught up with Gareth Hockey, who is the Director of the event organiser, RHL Activities, to see what his track plans are for the giant course in 2017. Thousands of racers are preparing to line-up against the pros in a battle of man and machine across numerous classes during the weekend, in what will be a spectacular finale for most to the dirtbike racing season.
“The track will be sandy (laughs). We’re going to try and break it into three sections, as we do with our sectors and our marshals,” said Hockey.
“Section one, which is the far end off the start, will be reasonably sensible, with quite large yet doable obstacles. Section two, which is known as the golf course up to the big tunnels, is going to be a bit more extreme enduro. It will be extremely hard, extremely difficult, with some big obstacles in the way. For the last section we are building a more motocross style area around the finish.”
“One of the biggest things this year is that we’ve brought in people who have experience for the last 30 years in building motorcycle tracks. They are professionals and our own hand-picked RHL team, so the issues from last two years should be gone,” explained Hockey.
The build of the course takes six days ready for the health and safety inspection, which includes miles of course building, fencing, access points, and putting in place the special tunnels into the centre of the course.
“KJ Services is a Welsh company that has really helped us out this year and are supplying all the kit. We have two CAT D6N bulldozers, three loading shovels and one excavator. The job this week is to turn my vision into reality on the beach and create something challenging, rideable, tough yet enjoyable all in one. Of course the start is always spectacular and we’re looking forward to that for each race too,” continued Hockey.
Pushed for an answer on who he thinks will win the solo event; “I think I’d put my money on David Knight. He’s a bit older and a bit more experienced. Jonny (Walker) I don’t know, I’d love to see him win it, but I think David could sneak it. We’ve got Todd Kellett, Paul Bolton, Graeme Irwin and a few other great riders so it’s possibly one of the most open ones we’ve had for a long time.”
With the biggest entry in recent years in the main solo race, lots to do on and off the track as well as some fantastic star names, this year’s event is really exciting for Hockey, who has remained passionate about the HydroGarden Weston Beach Race since its inception 35 years ago.
“What’s really special is we’ve got people in the industry really supporting the race – people from Honda, people from KTM, Husqvarna, Dunlop, Apico and WD40 are back again and many of them with their staff racing. That’s what the event is about, having a fun weekend with the mates. If we’ve got the industry bringing their staff then that’s great within the spirit of the event,” concluded Hockey.