Two-time winner, Todd Kellett heads to the Weston Beach Race on October 19-21 with a crown to defend but, he says, nothing to prove this year.
Somerset rider Todd Kellett lines up for the 2018 Hydrogarden Weston Beach Race powered by KTM, looking for his third victory but will arrive in different place mentally than in previous years.
As one of the largest annual motorcycling events in the UK, Weston Beach Race holds special place in British off road scene. Kellett’s emotional victory at his local event after the full three-hours battle in 2016 came when he was aged just 19 years old.
2017 however was a different race for Kellett. The young rider had enjoyed a strong season in the British Motocross Championship, finishing fifth overall in the series and enjoying his first race win at that level. He came into Weston last year fit and confident, and though David Knight pushed him, Kellett took the chequered flag to clinch the victory for a second consecutive time.
Only twice in the event’s history has a solo rider achieved three consecutive wins – the last was Rob Meek in 1997. However, Kellett will be back this year in attempt to do just that, although he says it will be incredibly tough, especially as he’s had a difficult season following injury.
“It’s been a tough season, and I’m getting there slowly but surely.” Says Todd. “I broke six vertebrae in December 2017, and I didn’t really get on a bike until two weeks before the first European Motocross championship round in Spain. I didn’t qualify there, which was sort of to be expected. It’s been a struggle from there onwards really,” adds Kellett.
“I qualified for every European I did after that, and I had a few steady results in the British Championship. I had some top 10s in the British, but I had some crashes here and there, plus some bike issues. It’s just been hard graft really. I had sixth overall at Assen (sand) in the EMX250 class just a few weeks ago and that’s actually my best result ever in the European championship, so I was really pleased with that.”
Kellett’s injury has healed and training specifically for the Weston is in the bag, but the Somerset-star says this year will be different for him: “It’s certainly the goal (to win), but I’m not going to get above my station. It’s a gruelling event, and anything can happen so I’m not going to worry too much about that (winning three in a row).
“I don’t think there are many people to have won five Westons in total, so that would be something I’d much rather look towards in the long-term. You can’t predict how the race will be, I’ll just see how it goes, I’ll do my best. I feel I’ve got the speed, the talent and the experience, so we’ll just go from there.”
Many riders have said they’ve learnt from Todd and the way he attacks the race, especially in the beginning, but he believes that a strategy can’t be predicted. Talking about the competition and he’s aware the battle will be on, whatever the pace of the race.
“There are a lot of things people could say they’ve learned from me like he does this, he does that, or he did that and had that bike and everything like that, but at the same time from 2016 to 2017 it was a very different race. I bided my time a lot in 2016, waited, waited, waited and then just went for it towards the end, whereas last year I had a totally different feeling that I could go from the get-go. I don’t think you can predict how it will be, you just have to wait until you’re in that situation and see how you feel.”
“I had planned not to go too hard last year. In the end it was full gas from the start. It was just the feeling of how it would be. I don’t think you can read too much into other riders, it’s all down to experience and what happens on the day. I’m one of the youngest riders, but I’ve got quite a lot of experience at Weston – you just don’t know who will be up there. There’s a lot of great riders this year. It’s not a motocross race and we’ll see on the day.”
Kellett is renowned for racing both the quad class on Saturday and the solos on Sunday, a daunting idea for most with two gruelling three-hour events in a weekend. He hopes to be lining up for both again this year…
“I’d like to race the quads if I can. It relaxes me a bit and I quite like loosening myself up, finding my way around the track. I’d like to do the two-man with my brother (Ty) and try to win it. I know David (Knight) has done the actual overall quad main event, but I don’t think that’s possible for me, so it would be good to try the two-man quad for a giggle with me brother.”
It’s a real family affair for the Kellets, they have a history at the race that stretches back for many years with both parents having raced the event and brother Ty finishing in the top 10 for the last three years.
“Ty is also racing in the solos, he hasn’t done much racing this year, but it’s cool and special for us both to be racing; it’s local for us and there’s a lot of home support for us too. It’s a good crack.”
“My mum and dad raced Weston, it’s also not so far from home. I cycle down here quite a lot, it’s a fun route that’s around 30 miles. It’s a special place, a great atmosphere and an end of year show. A lot of people come here just to have a go.
“My mum and dad are always supporting us – I think a lot of people could take pointers from them, my dad pit crewing is quite special (laughs), but I wouldn’t want anyone else doing it. They are keen for us to do well, it’s a family thing, my girlfriend is helping too, with lots of friends and family. It’s a fun weekend – the results are nice, but sometimes you have so much stress throughout the season racing it’s good to ride something different and have fun,” concludes Kellett.
More information and tickets: rhlactivities.com
Photo Credit: Future7Media/Andrea Belluschi/Jonty Edmunds