Weston Beach Race preview: Ken de Dycker targets podium finish in debut
Grand Prix motocross star Ken de Dycker will compete in this weekend's Weston Beach Race.
The MX1 factory KTM rider is the latest big-name addition to the entry list for Sunday's gruelling three-hour race over Weston-super-Mare's infamous dunes.
Belgian de Dycker is known as a sand expert and will be among the favourites to claim the win, although he will face stiff opposition from KTM's MX2 rider Jeffrey Herlings, as well as top Brits Shaun Simpson and Brad Anderson.
More than 50,000 bike fans will be at Weston to watch Sunday's race, and the 28-year-old can't wait to test himself against the seafront circuit.
"It is quite late for my entry so we've not got the best set-up possible and I'll be running a fairly standard bike, but I have seen some videos from before and there are a lot of spectators, so I'm really looking forward to doing the race for the first time," said de Dycker.
"I have done one long race in the past, but I just hope we don't have any problems, so I'll be trying to keep enough fuel on-board, stay relaxed and not push too hard because it's a long race.
"I've heard the start straight is long, so I hope my bike will be fast down there, as it's a bit of a disadvantage for me with my size, but we'll be modifying the bike and changing the gearing to compensate.
"From a results point of view I'll definitely be racing for the podium, as it's in every racer's mind to do his best, but I think it's possible and I can ride sand pretty well.
"I do know it's different though on the seafront, and the closest I've got to racing on the beach is riding in the winter at Dunkirk.
"There's some good competition; Herlings is fast but it's all about riding my own race and you never know, as anything can happen.
"I know you have to be careful with the other riders and it can be a bit crazy, but I'm really looking forward to it."
This year's event marks the 30th anniversary of the Weston Beach Race, and a full weekend programme of events is scheduled.
Action gets under way on Saturday morning with races for 125/250F (9am to 10.30am), youth 65cc (11am to 12.30pm) and adult quads/sidecars (1pm to 4pm).
Sunday's action begins at 9am with a 90-minute youth quad race, to be followed by an 85cc small/large wheel race between 11am and 12.30pm.
The main event - a gruelling three-hour race down Weston's mile-long seafront start and back through the challenging dunes - gets under way at 1pm.
Click here for more 2012 Weston-super-Mare Beach Race information.