Todd Kellett wins inaugural FIM Sand Races World Cup!
Yentel Martens (Honda) completed his domination of the Moto class at the Monte Gordo Sand Experience, the third and final round of the first-ever FIM Sand Races World Cup, when he doubled up on Portugal’s Algarve today, but the history books will show Great Britain’s brave Todd Kellett (Yamaha) as this exciting new competition’s inaugural winner.
Words: FIM Press Release, Images: Frederik Herregods
Following on from his win yesterday, the Belgian picked up where he left off with a commanding victory ahead of Kellett whose pair of second-placed finishes this weekend – coupled with his wins at the opening two rounds at the Enduropale du Touquet Pas-de-Calais in France and the Enduro del Verano in Argentina – were easily enough to take the title.
Kellett’s performances were all the more remarkable considering he had been unable to ride leading into the event following a huge crash at the start of October and his courage in the face of adversity was fittingly rewarded.
“I’m really proud to have accomplished this and I’m also proud of the team for their support of the FIM Sand Races World Cup,” said Kellett. “This has been my dream from a very young age. I never managed it in Motocross so to finally have an FIM title means a lot to me. If you had asked me two weeks ago I would not have been sure I could win, but I think I have done a good job and my goal is now to go to work for next year’s competition.”
A comfortable victor yesterday, Yentel Martens once again recorded thirty-three laps across the ninety-minute race and he extended his winning margin to just over one-and-a-half minutes in the challenging Portuguese sand, but he could never truly shake off the determined Kellett.
It was France’s Romain Laurent – Husqvarna who led on the opening lap of the approximately three-and-a-half-kilometre course, but Yentel Martens hit the front on lap two and he then gradually cruised clear as home hero Paulo Alberto – Yamaha gave chase for the opening six laps.
With yesterday’s third-placed rider Daymond Martens – Honda on his tail, Kellett moved up to second on lap seven and knowing the position would earn him the FIM Sand Races World Cup the twenty-six-year-old did not need to push out of his comfort zone.
At the halfway mark Yentel Martens was already over thirty seconds clear and never looked likely to be caught as France’s Camille Chapeliere – KTM, who was a fighting fourth on Saturday, again settled into fourth ahead of his fellow countryman Maxime Sot – KTM.
In the closing thirty minutes Yentel Martens pushed hard to double his advantage at the front, but with no-one else able to challenge Kellett it was game over as the sand specialist ended the race more than thirty-five seconds ahead of Daymond Martens who was the final rider to finish on the same lap as the winner.
The fastest female yesterday, Belgium’s Amandine Verstappen – Yamaha was again the highest-placed woman in eighteenth on twenty-eight laps, eleven positions and two laps ahead of France’s Mathilde Denis – Honda.
Today’s racing concludes the 2023 FIM Sand Races World Cup, but fans can already look forward to bigger and better things next season for this gruelling, adrenalin-charged discipline.
By using the tag #FIMsandRaces, fans will also be able to interact on social media with riders and like-minded enthusiasts.
Final FIM Sand World Cup Championship Table