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Weston Beach Race - 20 December 2018
Luke Owen talks winning the Young Gun Award this year
The Young Gun Award is a very special trophy for the highest placed 19-year-old in the Adult Solo class at the Weston Beach Race. The award has been created in memory of Dan Horton-Tilley, who sadly died in his sleep in 2015 aged 19.
Dan was an avid fan of the beach race in Weston-Super-Mare, and from a young age he followed his uncle Brad who competed at the event annually, while eventually being his mechanic for the race. Dan was passionate about the beach race, and had started riding not long before he passed away, perhaps with the intention of racing at Weston himself one day. In memory of her son, Dan’s mother Jeanette Aldridge came up with the idea for the award as a fitting tribute to someone who was so enthusiastic about the Weston Beach Race, while also recognising the efforts of a young rider. Dan spent many hours telling stories about the magic and chaos that a race with 1,000 riders brings; Weston was truly his holy grail.
This year the award was won by Luke Owen from Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Luke is a huge fan of enduro riding and has competed at Weston on numerous occasions, although 2018 marked the second year running that he beat his dad – much to his father’s bemusement. Luke finished 73rd this year, three places higher than his father, Alex.
“I started riding when I was around two, and I began competing at enduro races on an 85cc when I was around 11. I’ve done Weston twice on a quad when I was nine and 10, three times on an 85 and then I went straight into the adults when I was 16. My best result was 49th, which I got last year. I try to do the race every year, as does my dad. He rides a lot with me and he does enduros as well. I beat him at Weston for the first time last year - he wasn’t too happy about it!” said Luke.
“I like the challenge of Weston. I like the sand; I’m good in the sand, and it’s one of the biggest sand races in the world. I enjoy it for the full three hours, and I always want to do more,” continued the 19-year-old.
Luke competes in other beach races, but also enjoys taking on some of the notoriously difficult hard enduro events. The youngster has raced events in countries such as Poland and Austria, mixing up foreign competitions with the 11 races a season he competes in with his local enduro club.
However, this year was a special one for Luke, as winning the Young Gun Award was a real target and a highlight for the 19-year-old. The award, which is ultra-special, especially as a rider only ever gets one opportunity to try and win it, was previously presented to Todd Kellett and Ross Parkinson.
“I raced an enduro bike at Weston this year – a Husqvarna FE 250, which does the job nicely. My mum told me about the award a few weeks before the race, and I knew I might be fast enough to be within a chance of winning it. Then it was announced Conrad Mewse was racing, so obviously as he’s the MX2 British Motocross Champion, I knew he would be up for the challenge. He dropped down in the last 20 minutes of the race so I knew I had a good chance of winning it,” said Luke.
“I was pretty happy to win it, that’s kind of what I put all that effort in for – to win that award. I’ve finished racing now for the season and I’m looking forward to it starting again in the new year. It’s going to be great to have my name on the award and for it to stay on there for years to come. It’s great to have won it.”
For more information about the Weston Beach Race please visit www.rhlactivities.com
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