Hard and Fast!

Beach Breaker Bike Race 2016 in association with Southfork proved tougher than ever. The third round of the SWXC Series and the Regional Championships, it took place in the stunning area of the sand dunes and on Potters Hill,  behind Woolacombe beach.  The location could not be matched -  if only the weather had been playing ball! Not only was there the grueling climb of  ‘the Southfork Green Mile’ but the constant rain made a tough course seriously difficult. 123 competitors took part, including 25 kids on their own course. The main race started with a sprint at the end of Marine Drive, with David Creber taking an early lead. The fast descent off Potters Hill was fantastic to watch from the Finish area and after the first lap there was only 1 second between Creber from Malvern and Harry Snow from Tiverton, a member of Southfork’s Racing Team. The single track through the dunes was fast but had a couple of twists and turns and a few small drops and jumps. Technically the course was quite straight forward, but it needed control and the rain made the climb up Potter’s Hill and the steep descent seriously treacherous. Creber finished in first place, becoming regional champion of the South West Series and has set a fantastic time of 1 hour 7 minutes and 35 seconds to beat next year, with Snow coming in 2 minutes later and William Evans of Taunton a minute behind.

[caption id="attachment_14985" align="aligncenter" width="2000"]Photo: Andy Goodson Photo: Andy Goodson[/caption]

The Women battled it out with Iwona Szmyd from Gloucester taking the Regional Championship title in 1 hour 23 minutes and 25 seconds, narrowly beating  Sophie Hemming by 18 seconds.  Hemming from Bristol is new to the sport having recently retired from Rugby, where she played prop for the winning England team in the 2014 World Cup.

It was a superb show from the fatbikes, pumping through the hardpacked sand, and finishing way up the pack, with Andy Deacon from Gloucestershire finishing in second place, being narrowingly beaten by Stephen Roundhill from Barnstaple in a time of 1 hour 6 minutes and 30 seconds (4 laps)

Jacob Payne won the Junior category and Freddie Birchill from Newton Abbot beat Oli Allen from Totnes by 12 seconds in the Juvenile category.

img_2223-3Beach Breaker organizers were able to host a separate kids course thanks to their sponsors: Fullabrook CIC: The Under 8s was fantastic to watch. The most exciting part of the course was just by the spectators with kids skidding round the corner and missing wall a of bracken and nettles  (mostly!) Toby Murphy took first place, Joey Williams in 2nd place. Kodie Harmer was the only girl in the race, and finished a proud 3rd overall. U10 fought it out with a more demanding course, which took in some quite steep drops and was won deservedly by Oliver Murphy from Plymouth, with local boy Max Stanten from Barnstaple coming 2nd. The U12 title was won by Leon Dawes for the boys and another local from Barnstaple, Amy Pullen for the girls.

Beach Breaker wishes to thank their Sponsors Southfork, Fullabrook CIC, Alpine Elements and of course a massive thank you to Red Barn who not only sponsored the event, but supplied some much needed beer post race!

The Volunteers were fantastic, with great support from Seamoor Chemotherapy Unit, who is one of Beach Breaker’s chosen charities.

Finally the event would not have been possible without the help and permission of the National Trust, and the organisers look forward to next year, where hopefully the weather may be more forgiving!

Words: Michael Morris