Adrien Van Beveren had little downtime in the aftermath of his run to fourth place in the 2017 Dakar rally in South America with the daunting Enduropale Beach Race firmly part of his agenda for the season. The Frenchman throttled his Yamaha to second place last Sunday in what was a close bid to win the race for the fourth year in a row.
The immensely popular annual beach ‘spree’ at Le Touquet/Calais sees hundreds of thousands of curious public defy winter temperatures and gather at the northern coast line in France to watch multitudes of riders battle the deep sand, incoming sea and crowded layout.
‘AVB’ was in his element as a three-time victor of the Enduropale and a fixture that began in 1975 and has now reached a 42nd incarnation. The course sees up to 1700 motorcycles in action at any one time with an organisational force of almost 2000 people ensuring the event runs smoothly. Adrien chased brandmate Daymond Martens after three hours of muscle-wringing laps (12.5km in length) and negotiation of the French sandy ruts and dunes, and was less than four minutes away from the Belgian when the chequered flag fell.
It should have been a fourth victory…but Van Beveren cooked his clutch on the charge to catch Martens and was close to seizing the lead when the Yamaha protested.
“The beginning of the race was difficult because of the rhythm; it was completely different to something like the Dakar and I knew it would be tricky to make time when it was so flat,” he explained. “After a while on the whoops and the bumps I had made a lot of ground and was right behind the leader on the last lap but fried my clutch because I had to fight back from twenty-two seconds away, had a small crash and needed a member of the public to help me cut the cable! I lost maybe three minutes at that point.”
“It was difficult for me finish second, especially here at my home race and after three wins but it’s OK because I gave everything and pushed as much as possible,” he added. “Daymond Martens was really smooth and did a good job. Without the clutch problem it was possible to win but this is racing! It can be difficult to accept but I have no regrets. I pushed as hard as my body and head would let me.”
“The Dakar is my main focus and I want to win that in the future but I will also be back here and maybe in 2018 with a different training and better recuperation post-Dakar,” AVB offered. “Next Friday I fly to Buenos Aires for a big enduro race for Yamaha and I hope to be in good shape for that one.”