Todd Kellett wins 2023 Enduropale du Touquet
British rider Todd Kellett has etched his name on the infamous Enduropale du Touquet trophy with victory, claiming the 2023 French Beach Race Championship and round one pf the FIM Sand Races World Cup.
Considered one of the toughest beach races on the planet, the 2023 Enduropale du Touquet saw 1300 racers tackling a 13 kilometre course on the northern French coast in front of a crowd numbering an incredible 350,000 spectators.
Todd Kellett can rightly claim to be one the world’s leading sand specialist at the moment and after coming so close in recent years, took commanding victory for the Drag’on Yamaha team.
The 25-year-old British rider started the three-hour epic as one of the favourites and when his team-mate and reigning champion Milko Potisek went out with an over-heating YZ450 after just three laps. It left Kellett in complete control as he raced to victory and with it an early lead in the inaugural FIM Sand Races World Cup.
150kph on a YZ...
Kellett clocked 16 laps in total to come home just over two-and-a-half minutes in front of Belgium’s Cyril Genot on the SR Honda. The Le Touquet victory crowns Kellet ‘Champion de France des Sables’ after winning four of the five rounds this winter.
“I am absolutely over the moon to get this win and especially to be in the lead of the FIM Sand Races World Cup,” said Kellett. “I have worked so hard for the last five years for this and I can’t thank my team enough. This is the best race in the world.”
Kellett’s victory at the 47th edition of the Enduropale du Touquet represents only the second time a British rider has triumphed and he follows in the footsteps of former FIM Motocross and Enduro World Championship racer Nathan Watson who claimed an historic win in 2019.
With Potisek’s chances of a fourth Enduropale du Touquet win ending prematurely with bike problems, Kellett took control of the race and never let go.
By half-distance he was two minutes and sixteen seconds clear after eight laps and while the chasing pack battled for the podium positions for the final hour. Genot got ahead of his compatriot Yentel Martens and Dutchman Lars Van Berkel and the fight pushed the trio closer to the leader in the closing stages.
With two laps to go Genot had reduced the deficit to around a minute and Richard Fura passed Van Berkel for fourth. Kellett rode with his head though and managed the gap back to second by picking up the pace on the final lap to secure victory.
Belgium’s Amandine Verstappen came out on top in the Women’s class, finishing nearly seven minutes ahead of Marine Hughes from France with her compatriot Mathilde Denis claiming third.
2023 Enduropale Le Touquet results:
With six riders from the top 10 registered for the inaugural FIM Sand Races World Cup, the focus shifts to South America for the Enduro del Verano in Argentina – regarded as the premier event of its kind in Latin America – on February 24-26 before the series signs off in December on Monte Gordo Beach in Portugal’s Algarve.
Photo Credit: Enduropale du Touquet + Frederick Herregods