In their first official involvement in the French Beach race Championship Kawasaki was rewarded with the title as Belgian Axel Van de Sande was the most consistent rider of the series. The 24-year-old came to the final round as series leader and he overcame adversity to clinch the title after a race which presented a tough challenge both for him and teammate Timothée Florin.
Even though it didn’t rain during the weekend the sand was wet and heavy for this final round of the series and the three hour race was tough on both the riders and the bikes due to the severity of the sand obstacles. Neither Axel nor Tim were at the front at the first corner after the long, fast six kilometre straight, but both regained positions consistently and after the first hour of racing Axel was tenth while Tim had entered the top fifteen.
With 1200 riders on the track it was not always easy to find clean lines and to maintain a good rhythm amongst the slower riders and during the second hour of racing Tim collided with a lapper and damaged the pipe; he tried to continue but after one more lap the damage was clearly too severe and he was forced to retire. A few laps later it was Axel's turn to be delayed by race incidents as he twice crashed with lappers who were in his path; despite losing time to restart he remained in the top ten but he received a post-race penalty as he pushed the bike across the finish line. Axel was thus classified twenty-third but it was good enough to retain the series lead and claim his first national title.
Axel Van de Sande: “It was not an easy race for me; after a bad start I was outside the top twenty at the first corner. After the first hour I found a good rhythm and came back to sixth, but after the second pit stop I crashed twice with lapped riders and lost a lot of time; I finished in the top ten but I had to push the bike for the last few hundred metres and the officials gave me a penalty so I was classified twenty-third. That’s not the result I was expecting but the most important thing was to clinch the title; that’s a great reward for both me and for Kawasaki.”
Livia Lancelot: “I’m very happy that we finished the beach race series with the title! We can proudly claim that we did a good job for the return of Kawasaki to one of the most demanding race series. Each of our two riders were in the top five at many rounds, and our bike was so reliable that Axel took the red plate at the first round in Berck and retained it until after the final round at le Touquet. I’m a little disappointed for Timothée who had some injuries and couldn’t really show his potential at some rounds including this weekend in le Touquet. Axel can be happy with his season as he got his first national title, and I would like to thank Kawasaki, our technical staff and the riders for the great job we all did together.”