Billy Bolt bosses the Beach Race
September 28, 2017 – Sibiu (Romania), Kemer and Istanbul (Turkey)
Husqvarna Factory rider Billy Bolt (UK) scores the first victory at Edition 8 of Red Bull Sea to Sky Edition 8 by winning the Beach Race at the “most enjoyable Extreme Enduro race”. Winning the Beach Race marks his first podium result at an international Extreme Enduro race. Jonny Walker (UK, KTM) comes in second and Alfredo Gomez (ESP, KTM) third.
Race day #1 at Red Bull Sea to Sky Edition 8 has been kicked off with the Beach Race. The track is situated right at the shore of Kemer at the Turkish Riviera and is easy to reach for the thousands of spectators who came to watch the riders tackle the natural as well as manmade obstacles. The team around XVENTURE’s Andy Fazekas – who is also responsible for the legendary Prologue at Red Bull Romaniacs – spent about a week to build an amazing track using big construction machines. The track length is about 1,8km and has 15 obstacles with names such as „Funny Wallride“, „Punk not dead“ and „Washing Machine“.
The Qualifying Heats in the Morning
The first qualification run was started at 09:40 and the top riders finished the lap just above 2 minutes. Having won Red Bull Sea to Sky 2016 Lars Enöckl (AUT, KTM) was the rider opening the race with the prestigious starting number 1. The Austrian rider rode a solid lap coming in 6th. Graham Jarvis (UK, Husqvarna) and Alfredo Gomez (ESP, KTM) made sure to stay out of troubles and scored a 6th and 7th place. Jonny Walker (UK, KTM) – whose favorite terrain is sand – scored the best time with 2 minutes and 2 seconds, followed by Billy Bolt (UK, Husqvarna) just 2 seconds behind and Paul Bolton (UK, KTM) less than a second behind Billy. Best Turkish Rider was Bayram Uysal (Husqvarna) with place 29.
The best time out of two qualification runs determined the starting order for the finals in the afternoon.
One of the reasons why Red Bull Sea to Sky is widely perceived as “the most enjoyable Extreme Enduro race” is the fact that the riders don’t need to rush between the races. At the Beach Race, you do the qualifying in the morning and you get a 3 hour break to restore the energy or work on the bike before the finals start in the afternoon. The fastest 150 riders are split up into three groups of 50 riders each for the three finals – primarily to avoid major traffic jams at the manmade obstacles: Final C with the slowest 50 riders ranked 101-150, Final B with the medium paced 50 riders ranked 51-100 and the Final A with the fastest 50 riders ranked 1-50.
The mode for the three finals in the afternoon is 15 minutes + 1 lap – which doesn’t sound that long but going flat out on a SuperEnduro track in the sand stuffed with manmade obstacles – such as rock sections, tires and water – all over it puts the riders endurance to the test.
Naturally it took the Final C a bit longer to finish since some of the amateur riders had to fight a big and merciless battle against the stones and the tires. But they did get a great support from the spectators along the track who motivated them to keep going by making big noise. The Final B was a bit quicker and all of the riders who are taking on this challenge to race a track like this at temperatures of about 30 degrees deserve respect! There is one rider who not only deserves respect but our admiration: Suff Sella from Israel scored an astonishing 3rd place in the Final B – at the age of 14 (!) on a KTM 85 SX! This young man has a very bright future ahead of him. Keep going flat out, Suff!
When the Final A started it was Jonny Walker who took the holeshot, followed by his teammate Alfredo Gomez and Billy Bolt. Billy pushed really hard and battled his way through the laps and the riders they lapped. He managed to pass Jonny in the 3rd lap when Jonny crashed in the tires. From then on he pushed hard until the last lap where he had a good lead on Jonny and tried to stay out of trouble – which paid off in the end.
The best Turkish riders were Fevzi Burak Akbulut with place 40, Emre Cosar 47 and Yunus Mor 48.
Quotes from the riders
Billy Bolt: “It was a great race. Especially after the 2nd in the Prologue at Red Bull Romaniacs it feels great to get the top spot on the podium. My start was awful, it was a carnage over there in the rocks. But I managed to catch up and caught Jonny in the third lap. After that I rode really well and focused on not making any mistakes – especially in the last lap. The race was really tough, the lines were hard to pick because there were so many bikes on the track. Winning the Beach Race means I will start first in the Forest race which is an advantage but also it means that all the others will chase me. I just take it as it comes, try to stay on the bike and not make any mistakes to end up in the 1st row of the Mountain Race on Saturday. This win means a lot to me, I’ve been working so hard for it and it really does feel great that the results are coming.”
Jonny Walker: “I had a really good start and I knew the race would be intense. So I tried to take it easy but made two stupid mistakes, especially in the tires and I got stuck in a hole and it took me ages to get out. So, I dropped back to third. Then I pushed hard and caught Alfredo but I couldn’t see Billy. He rode good so I can’t really complain. My last two laps were really good so I managed to catch Alfredo and come in second. Starting behind Billy tomorrow in the Forest Race is an advantage for me. There is a 1 minute gap between myself and Billy at the start but within that time his dust will settle and I’ll push hard to catch him.”
Alfredo Gomez: “The start went quite well, I was second in the first corner. On the rocks were able to pull a little gap on the rest. In one corner the soil changes from soft to hard, I forgot this and lost the front wheel. I damaged the bike quite a lot in that crash but were still able to keep the second position almost to the end. But Jonny passed me which was a bit disappointing. But anyway, I’m on the podium and the podium is a good result after a crash like this. Starting in third position tomorrow still is not a bad thing – you can follow the two guys in front of you and I just need to play it safe in the rocks that we expect. Sure enough my target is to win because I like winning races and I want to start in the first row on Saturday in the Mountain Race.”
The results of the Beach Race determine the starting order of the Forest Race tomorrow, a time trial in the woods around Kemer. The track will be 51km long and all riders will push hard for the best possible time again because the results of the Forest Race determine in which starting row the riders will start in the main event – the Mountain Race on Saturday.
Top 10 Results – Beach Race – Red Bull Sea to Sky 2017
September 28, 2017 – Kemer (Turkey)
1. Billy Bolt, (UK, Husqvarna), 8 laps, 18 minutes 22 seconds
2. Jonny Walker (UK, KTM) 8 laps, 18:34
3. Alfredo Gomez (ESP, KTM) 8 laps, 18:35
4. Pol Tarres Roca (ESP, Beta) 8 laps, 20:00
5. Graham Jarvis (UK, Husqvarna) 8 laps, 20:16
6. Mario Roman (ESP, Sherco) 8 laps, 20:19
7. Paul Bolton (UK, KTM) 8 laps, 20:45
8. David Cyprian (CZE, KTM) 7 laps, 19:19
9. Lars Enöckl (AUT, KTM) 7 laps, 20:23
10. Wade Young (RSA, Sherco) 6 laps, 18:26
Event Schedule (all times EEST – Eastern European Summer Time)
Friday 29th September 2017 – Start 9:00
Olympos Mountain Race
Saturday 30th September 2017 – Start 9:00