With perhaps the craziest race start in British cycle racing, ASSOS Battle on the Beach once again proved to be a big hit with the riders taking part. The weekend of racing got underway on Saturday, with kids racing followed by the inaugural Lezyne Battle in the Dark, a one lap time-trial along the beach as darkness fell. European team Team KMC got things off to a great start with Belgian rider Robby de Bock winning the Mens race and Karen Brouwer from The Netherlands taking the win in the women’s race.
Sunday’s event kicked off with the Little Bikers Challenge which was open to anyone on a balance bike, the youngest participant being just 12 months old.
At midday sharp the main event kicked off, with over seven hundred riders crammed onto the entrance of Cefn Sidan beach and lined up with a huge variety of bikes before tearing up the hard sandy beach and the flowing singletrack behind the dunes.
The Dutch riders of Team Imming, Richard Jansen and Bram Imming dominated a competitive field in the Open Mens race, pulling away half way through lap 1, with Jansen taking the win ahead of his team mate. The win means that the Open Mens race has been won by three different riders, but all being Dutch beach race specialists. Ben Wadey put in an impressive final lap to claw back time on the lead pair and finished third, 1 minute 20 seconds behind. Robby de Bock, winner of the previous night time-trial finished 4th with David Creber rounding off the podium.
Karen Brouwer, winner in 2014 continued her winning ways at this year’s event, with a strong performance to take the win with a number of riders battling behind for the other podium places. The winning margin was 3 minutes 36 seconds, with Ffion James finishing strongly, just a few seconds ahead of Emily Benham in 3rd. 2015 winner Melanie Alexander was 4th with Iwona Szmyd rounding off the podium.
The event also saw the incorporation of the Halo Fat Bike UK Championship, an event open to bikes with tyres larger than 3.5 inches. After an eventful race for 2015 winner Roki Read had to settle for 2nd place with Aled Jones crowned Male winner and Lee Cragie winning the Female event.
The weekend was attended by around thousands visitors who all flocked to the grounds of Pembrey Country Park to either take part in the races, cheer on family and friends or simply to enjoy the atmosphere and browse the stalls of each of the sponsors including ASSOS, Kinesis UK, Lezyne, Schwale, Surly Bikes, Halo, SIDI, Burns Pet food and Squirt.