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Red Bull Sea to Sky 2016 Race Report: ANDY NOAKLEY

Credit: http://actiongraphers.com
Credit: http://actiongraphers.com

[title maintitle=”BEACH RACE” subtitle=”Red Bull Sea to Sky 2016″]

Red Bull Sea to Sky Beach race day! Waking up in the morning to full torrential rain was definitely not something I’d ever experienced at Sea to Sky before. The first challenge of the day was riding down the road to the start! Riders crashing left and right spinning down the super slick street. Arriving safely at the start I found everyone taking cover from the heavy rain where ever they could. The organizers Held off the first run waiting until the rain eased a little.

Finally we were warming the bikes up ready to go and then the nerves started to kick in! Like always my aim for the two qualification runs is; get one in the bank then go flat out in the Second run.. that plan didn’t happen when I found my self going over the bars right before the finish line! No problem.. still have one more run! This time I hit the gas hard and was having a near perfect run when I made one stupid mistake on the first rock section and again went over the handle bars! (Watch Andy’s Qualify Run Here) Luckily I’d recovered fast enough to make the all important front row for the afternoon main race. A little food and I changed to a softer enduro tyre knowing the race will be won and lost in the tricky sections not the fast parts of the track.

The flag drops and I had a fairly good run to the bike being one of the first guys moving but I missed a gear change and a few guys got ahead of me and closed the door right before the very first sand dune! I didn’t panic and quickly turned round to rejoin the pack of riders. The next obstacle was a deep water pit filled with slippy logs, in the heats before everyone had been using the right line but one of the team informed me to go left this time. Because of all the guys that got past me from the first dune the left line was fully blocked so I decided to risk taking the right line after seeing a few guys make it over.. here’s where I made my grave. Fully stuck in the water I was dead last. Being careful not to fill the engine with water I dragged it out and luckily it fired up! I reached the carnage in the first rocks and the front guys had already made a lap so I was a lap down before I’d made even my first lap! I literally just rode around picking off guys where I could trying to not make any mistakes and to my surprise I finished 16th! Not bad seeing as I was a lap down!

[title maintitle=”FOREST RACE” subtitle=”Red Bull Sea to Sky 2016″]

I was really looking forward to the Forest Race, last year I pushed hard and made 6th position.. My best result! Starting 16th I knew I had some time to make up if I was to make the front row for the main race. The track was a little more difficult than previous years and very easy to lose time by making a small mistake! I pushed hard from the start quickly catching 3 guys and I continued at this pace hoping to catch another but I started to get tired a little and started making stupid mistakes everywhere so I decided to hold back to make it to the end. Fortunately I’d done just enough to make the 1st row and finished tenth! Mountain race 1st or 10th it didn’t matter because we was all on the same row together down at the beach..

[title maintitle=”MOUNTAIN RACE” subtitle=”Red Bull Sea to Sky 2016″]

Everybody was tense waiting for the flag to drop. Away we went and although I wasn’t fastest to start I kicked my bike up through the gears and started to pull away on the right hand side with only Letti (Andreas Lettenbichler) in front to my left. Around the first corner and after having so much bad luck breaking my ankle one year and breaking my boots last year in the first river bed I rolled off the throttle with my aim to survive the 10km of rough riding. A few of the guys started making their way past me so I was riding in the dust and having the knowledge of this wide river it’s possible to make it up either side so I made the decision to ride the far left away from everyone else. I glanced over my shoulder a few times and saw I was passing back the guys one by one and reaching the end of the long river I was back into 2nd place! Riding at my own pace up the river the top guys were really gunning for it so I let them past. For most of the race up until silver finish I was lying in 6-7th position and felt good not too tired!

But after silver is where it got really tricky.. Energy sapping mountains up and down no place for rest whilst riding so I stopped for some water and a few Red Bulls and some of the guys behind had caught up. We all rode together for the next sections including Dark Canyon and I could feel my energy fading fast. Stopping often for water on me and my bike! Throwing my bike up Alcatraz section I thought just a nice ride to the finish home! Just when you turn one of the last corners and you can see the final Red Bull arch.. They turned the track up a new section.. Unridden before so no lines in, I was exhausted and just paddled my way up to the people surrounding the finish.

It’s still an awesome feeling completing these Hard Enduro events. Many people ask why we do it and I can’t explain! Other than to say try it for yourself, push your limits then you will understand why we do it! I’d like to thank all the guys at Kemer Enduro Club for their hospitality. Including the top mechanic Giovanni! No job too big or small for this guy!

ANDY NOAKLEY

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andynoakley

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