Battle on the Beach was fantastic & why you should be going next year.
The Battle on the Beach in Pembrey is something very different from your typical MTB race.
I wasn't sure quite what to expect turning up late on friday night, I certainly was a little unsure where I was supposed to park and pitch up the tent, but after finding the other traders stands I pulled the pop-up tent out and pitched up for the night.
Saturday, I was greeted by Matt the organiser of the event and was told where I should put up my tent and park the Landy, by the time I finished manhandling the tent into some shape and pegging it down the kids races were into full swing.
There was several races going from just old enough to stand up to teens, the kids all had a whale of a time and they all got a medal for their efforts.
Seeing so many kids riding bikes of all shapes and sizes it became very apparent that they take a much bigger interest in cycling in Wales, loads of the children had cycle club jerseys on and that's something I don't see much of down in Dorset where I live, the kids all looked to having a great time and the number of girls was I would say looked as high if not higher than the boys, again something that was welcome to see.
After the kids races attention turned to the food traders with proper stone baked Pizzas and handmade burger stands keeping everyone well fed, and with the coffee and beer stalls everything was set for a nice evening as the next lot of action was just about to start. Yep that's right, more racing, anyone booked to race in the main event on Sunday got a free entry into the 'Rotor Battle in the Dark', the start had to be delayed a little from the 8.30pm start time as it was still light, this was important as the race was a timed event with riders going off in 5 second intervals, everyone entered into the main event had a timing chip so they were called into action for this balls out, flat chat, on the rivet single shortened lap of the course, fastest time was just over 13 mins and riders were still going off well after many had returned from a full out effort. What made the race even more special was the live band playing some great rock music in the main tent, and to add to that the racers rode through the tent right in front of the band playing away with people dancing and enjoying the entertainment, I think the racers got a massive buzz from that. After all that effort it was a case of punching your number into a computer and out spat your time for you to compare with your mates. Prizes were given out for the top 3 which is somewhat standard, what wasn't though was they also gave out prizes for every 10th rider, so 10th 20th 30th and so on all the way through the results, that was a great way of making sure everyone felt they were in with a shout of a prize and their name being called out.
Sunday, after oversleeping I had to rush to get setup for the big day, sales were good on the stand and I got lots of positive comments about my bike and the pedal covers that were on display.
I closed the tent so I could go and walk over to the beach that was nearby where the start would happen. Battle on the Beach is the largest mass start event in the country with around 1000 riders all setting off at the same time, it is quite a sight and with the drum band playing, I'm going to say a South African or New Zealand feel, it was rather epic. So with the countdown done off they go on mass, no split into categories, everyone, male, female, old and young set off running through the soft sand and headed towards the water were the sand was firm, like very firm, Bournemouth beach this is not, front runners were apparently close to 50 mph, Stuart Bowers and his wife were clocked doing 56 kph😳on their tandem, I think it's about 6 km on the sand before turning off and into the woods before doing it 2 more times. In the end the race was won by Bram Imming from the Netherlands, Bram won the event last year as well, in fact the BOTB hasn't been won by a british rider yet, next year we will beat them on the beaches😂.
So why do I think you should be going to BOTB next year? Well, if you like to do something a bit different then this is right up your street, the racers are very much split down the middle in terms of what they want to get out of the race, some are very much out to win but being honest, unless you are a world class racer it's very unlikely you are going to take the win on your first attempt, this race is a bit like the Dakar, you need a few years to suss out how to be at your fastest for the race, that and you need to be bloody quick, I mean world class quick because that's who's pushing the front of the race, but there is the other side of the competitors, those out to have fun and soak up being involved in such an amazing race, many riders told me they were out to beat their result from last year and not come last or ride into that bush again.
And lastly I will leave you with this image to hopefully sway you to join us next year.
For more information about Battle on the Beach click here to go to the website where you can find all the information you want plus book your place for next year. https://www.battleonthebeach.co.uk/