The 32nd edition of the RHL Weston Beach Race drew to a conclusion the season of Downham brothers Scott and Elliot Ryan who have been competing this season in the Maxxis British Sidecarcross Championship.
They had failed to finish last year’s prestigious event in North Somerset due to mechanical issues on the very first lap. The event draws competitors from the UK and France, beach racing being very popular in France.
They arrived a day early in order to sign on and run the Honda 680 outfit through the event scrutineering process. The sidecars are raced alongside the quad bikes. Giant mountains of sand are formed into a track of unbelievable difficulty for the 200 or so competitors.
Race day on Saturday saw good weather despite the overnight rainfall. After the usual Le Mans style dash to machines the brothers passed the start gates inside the top four positions.
The first lap took some 17 minutes to complete due to many riders being “stuck” in the various dunes, but after that the times fall to 11-12 minutes per lap.
With a strategy of a fuel stop every three laps, the Ryans held position for much of the earlier part of the race against their fellow sidecar competitors. The duo twice lost valuable time, as they were “beached” on the dunes.
Time always seemed to be made on the long three mile straight with speeds being estimated at 70-80 mph, quicker then many of the other sidecar units, as well as some of the smaller quad bikes.
With a “splash and dash” strategy for the final fuel stop the brothers finished eighth in class. They had completed 13 laps in 3hrs 06 minutes 51 seconds. their fastest lap (two) having been recorded as 11 mins 22.68 seconds.
Picture: Richard S. Brown.