Sea to Sky 2016: Manuel Lettenbichler wins the Beach Race
The 18 years old Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU, KTM) takes the win on race day #1 at Red Bull Sea2Sky 2016! Winning the Beach Race marks his first podium result at an Extreme Enduro race and with his father Andreas “Letti” Lettenbichler (DEU, KTM) coming in 2nd this is the first time ever that a father and a son finish on the podium. Wade Young (ZAF, Sherco) came in third
The Track and the Qualifying
The riders have to complete one lap that is 1.3km long and is fully of natural as well as manmade obstacles such as stone fields, tires and bridges. Andy Fazekas, who is responsible for the legendary Prologue at the Red Bull Romaniacs, spend 800 hours with his team to build it using among other things 250 tons of stones, more than 50 large tires and 30 cubic meters of wood.
The rain before the first qualification heat didn’t hurt the track, only the second stone section got a little more demanding since the stones were round and thus a bit slippery. Which however didn’t affect the top riders. Wade Young opened the battle and didn’t have problems completing the lap. Then it was Letti’s turn to go flat out in the sand and rocks. Despite having reached a certain age, Letti hasn’t lost any of his pace and his riding still looks very clean. Rider #3 was Letti’s son Manuel – one of the young guns to battle for victory at the 7th Edition of Red Bull Sea to Sky. Since the track did have quite a lot of SuperEnduro elements it certainly pleased „Mani“ who is the reigning SuperEnduro Junior World Champion.
Billy Bolt (UK, KTM) won the qualification heats with an impressive 7 seconds gap on Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU, KTM) followed by Andreas “Letti” Lettenbichler (DEU, KTM)!
After a midday break the fastest 150 riders were split up into three groups of 50 riders each for the three finals – primarily to avoid major traffic jams at the manmade obstacles: Final C with the slowest 50 riders ranked 101-150, final B with the medium paced 50 riders ranked 51-100 and the final A with the fastest 50 riders ranked 1-50.
The mode for the three finals in the afternoon is 15 minutes + 1 lap – which doesn’t sound that long but going flat out on a motocross track stuffed with SuperEnduro elements – such as rock sections, tree trunks and water – all over it puts the riders endurance to the test.
When the finals started the beach was packed with a huge crowd cheering the riders especially through the tough sections. And most certainly all eyes were on the last final with the top riders.
It was again Andreas „Letti“ Lettenbichler who took the holeshot – just like he did last year. But Billy Bolt (UK, KTM) was truly on fire and caught Letti just at the end of the first lap. From then on Billy pushed massively and had a solid lead when his chain broke – that was it for the 19-year-old super talent who – as almost all other top riders has a strong trials background. Letti took advantage of that and lead the race ahead of an ambitious Wade Young. Wade managed to pass Letti and the battle between the two was on.
But it was Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU, KTM), the 18 years old son of Andreas, who took a better line in the boulder section to pass Young and his father. Letti, who arrived at that section behind Wade, showed his „never give up“ mentality and passed the 20 year old South African.
The 2016 Red Bull Sea to Sky Beach Race result is a truly remarkable one: It is the first time ever that father and son both finish on the podium of an Extreme Enduro race of international format!
Quotes from the riders
Manuel Lettenbichler: “Honestly it’s an amazing feeling to be on the top of the podium. The race went right down to the wire and I managed to pass both my father and Wade on the final lap for the win – that’s crazy. Overall it was a hard race, very physical. The rocky sections were tough to make it safely through. When we got to them on the final lap I just found a different line than the guys went and sneaked through into the lead. It’s cool to be on the podium with my Dad too and to beat him is even better! The plan now is just to try and push hard for tomorrow’s Forest Race. I’ll be leading the field out so that’s something new for me but I’m excited for the challenge.”
Andreas Lettenbichler: “That was a great race and a great fight. I didn’t see Manuel sneak up on us at the end and snatch the win, so I’ll have words with him for that! I managed to get the holeshot and lead most of lap one. Then when Billy Bolt dropped out I got back in the lead but Wade was closing in fast. He took the lead on the final lap but I gave it everything I had to pass him back in the final rock garden. I did it but then Manuel got us both. Second is cool, but it’s more special to be on the podium with my son even if he beat me!”
Wade Young: “I got a decent start but rode a little tense on first rocky sections and lost time. I had to regroup and find my rhythm. Once I got going I managed to work my way forward and then got the lead on the final lap. The battle was hot with Andreas but unfortunately I just lost out at the end. It sucks a little to finish third having got into the lead but I’m hoping it will work in my favour when we start the Forest Race. I won it last year so hoping to repeat that tomorrow but the main goal is Saturday’s Mountain Race so the focus is getting there in one piece.”
Billy Bolt: „It was all going well until about 10 minutes into the race and my chain snapped, there’s no way back from that, I just had to suck it up! It was a shame because I think I had quite a good lead.
I seem to have quite a few Turkish fans out here and I was sorry I let them down. I’m going to go back to the hotel and play on the waterside, relax and try to focus on tomorrows race and not crash! I haven’t really done any specific training for this event as I didn’t know I was coming until the last minute. I have been working on a training program and training harder in general, a lot more gym time and tough, long hours off the bike, just grinding away! I have noticed a big difference, although Red Bull Romaniacs and Sea to Sky are very different races I felt one hundred times better in today’s beach race. I have ridden my trials bike at elevation but not raced from sea level to an elevation over 2000m before like Saturdays race. I feel like I’m making progress, I just need to start finishing!“
The results of the Beach Race determine the starting order of the Forest Race tomorrow, a time trial in the woods around Kemer. The track will be 42km long and all riders will push hard for the best possible time again because the results of the Forest Race determine in which starting row the riders will start in the main event – the Mountain Race on Saturday.
Top 10 Results – Beach Race – Red Bull Sea to Sky 2016
October 6, 2016 – Kemer (Turkey)
Manuel Lettenbichler, (GER, KTM), 7 laps, 17:39.656
Andreas Lettenbichler (GER, KTM) 7 laps, 17:43.144
Wade Young (ZAF, Sherco) 7 laps, 17:45.408
Blake Gutzeit (ZAF, Yamaha) 7 laps, 18:23.408
Pol Tarres Roca (ESP, Beta) 7 laps, 18:59.395
Kyle Redmont (USA, Beta) 7 laps, 19:01.904
Lars Enöckl, (AUT, KTM) 7 laps, 19:13.397
Scott Bouverie (ZAF, KTM) 7 laps, 19:16.908
David,Cyprian (CZE, KTM) 7 laps, 19:20.410
Mitch Carvolth (USA, KTM) 7 laps, 19:42.159