So, how does 4 days of exciting entertainment, in 3 different settings, sound as a proposal then? Add to this, the opportunity to meet friends that you haven’t seen since last years’ event (if you attended) and crucially, new friends that you’ll make throughout the course of the four days. What’s not to like? Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll be looking forward to the 2025 event. I am! The event I’m talking about is set in the UK, and in the East Yorkshire coastal town of Bridlington, and famously known as ‘Race the Waves’ (RTW from here on).

Essentially, the town of Bridlington permits the making of an 1/8th Mile drag strip on the beach (at low tide obviously) for a large group of Hot Rod cars/trucks and motorcyclists to race up. There aren’t any prizes and it isn’t a competition as such, although it is run under official motorsport rules and governance, and everyone really does want to put on a fast show. As there are no prizes, there is just the satisfaction that you were there and had a go, and didn’t need a cuddle from the professional medical services on hand. Just Google RTW and you’ll be able to find enough images and information to help you ‘get it’. By the way, 2024 was the 5th year that RTW has run, and you can tell how many events people have attended by the number of technical inspection stickers on the their car/bike.

This year, instead of taking my trusty ’78 Bultaco, I would be taking a ’61 Greeves Scottish and a ’22 Electric Motion, and I think this latter bike would be the first ever electric bike at the event. Anyway, that’s the scene setter over and done with. What’s below is a summary of what went on, from my view obviously, on each of the four days, and all of the summaries will have the same 6 sections to give the whole thing some structure (and to keep my story telling on track).

Looking full of excited anticipation with my two beach racers

Day 1

Weather scene setter: A level of sunshine that may require some people to use sun screen lotion. Yes, really!

Location: A very small East Yorkshire village called Burton Fleming.

What was going on: A (amazingly dry) grassy field that had pre-event stalls, displays of cars, tractor and bikes, some of which would be used on the beach and some that were just there for the day. Refreshements were being served in the village hall over the road from the field, and it was well attended.

What I did: I arrived with two bikes to display, the Electric Motion that I will ride on the beach and an ‘84 Czech’ Jawa Long track bike, just because it might be interesting. I met up with another event friend, John, who I hadn’t seen since the last RTW 12 months ago, so we had some catching up to do. As it turned out, of my two bikes, the Jawa won a lot of hearts, and one in particular. A man came over to look at it, very, very carefully, like he knew his stuff about these bikes. It turned out that he does know his stuff as he’s raced them internationally. He introduced himself. Bryan Pillow is his name and he’s an active 80 year old. So active in fact, that he suggested that we (read as: he) ride it around the field, so he sat on the Jawa and I started it up. Bryan proceeded to stop everyone in their conversations as he did a practice start in the field. He seemed quite happy to be using a 500cc race bike that doesn’t have any brakes in a confined space. It also turns out that Bryan’s wife lived in the same village before their marriage as I do now, and they also live in a village not far away as well. Needless to say, I now have a new friend who gave me some great advice about looking after and running my Jawa.

What was great: The weather, the cakes being served in the village hall, the people I met that I knew, and that I didn’t know.

What could’ve been better: I should’ve had another piece of that really good carrot cake. I regretted that.

Day 2

Weather scene setter: Just like the day before, hot and sunny with summer fashion being worn by everyone.

Location: Bridlington old town.

What was going on: Set in the tree lined park area outside the very large church, this was the location of Technical Inspection. All drivers and passengers had to sign on, pick up their wrist bands, t-shirts and other stuff, and then get their vehicle inspected to ensure safety compliance. Music was being thumped out by the local radio station, ice creams were being consumed and there were some other food’n’stuff stalls as well.

What I did: I met up with John again, had my two bikes inspected and they both got their ‘pass’ sticker. I met up with some more people that I hadn’t seen for 12 months, but had been in contact with on social media, like Sam and his wife Michelle. Whilst I had a great catch up with Michelle, I couldn’t battle through the fan wall to get to Sam, who was telling people about his bike, Triple 6. He had built a triple engined beach racer in 5 months, which was the centre of attraction, and especially when he started it up to head back to the van. Nothing else of note to declare here other than it was a a great, sunny socialising time, and I got the compliance stuff done.

What was great: The weather (again), and seeing and hearing the hot rods and bikes in the flesh for the first time.

What could’ve been better: If I had known about the fabulous looking fish and chip shop just over the road from Technical Inspection, I would have skipped lunch and bought something to eat from there instead.

Day 3

Weather scene setter: Very unlike the day before, there was a grey sea mist that just enveloped Bridlington and its beach. A few miles around it was again, lovely and sunny. This meant that visibility was low and the dress code required something warm, which I hadn’t brought. Anyway, the show went on!

Location: Bridlington South Beach.

What was going on: Day 1 of racing, which wasn’t as it turned out. Everyone parks up in designated spaces, gets their car/truck/bike out and lines up ready to be escorted through the crowds onto the beach. Saturday always seems to draw the bigger crowds for some reason and they had turned out in force, regardless of the visibility.

What I did: I was riding the ’61 Greeves on day 1, so headed down onto the beach with the procession of vehicles and bikes. On reaching the pits area, the start or finish lines weren’t even visible. The weather didn’t change all day and only allowed a few demonstration (slow) runs and just to keep the crowd, drivers and riders happy although there wasn’t much that was visible from the promenade where all of the spectators were. Every now and again, there was a glimmer of light and a break in the gloom, only to be swallowed up in sea mist again. Bridlington does lay on a good food festival atmosphere for RTW and fortunately, the food stall vendors were doing a great trade in hot drinks and food. The ice cream stall less so. Running simultaneously with RTW, was a Steam Punk extravaganza, so there was lots of interest for visitors even though they couldn’t see the drag strip on the beach, which we couldn’t see either! One of the benefits of the (crap) weather was the chance to look at other vehicles and bikes and talk to other owners, but even that isn’t an alternative for the need for speed.

What was great: I spoke to one of the many photographers, and who specialised in taking black and white photographs. He was very pleased with the grey mist as it made the light for his photographs much more atmospheric. Every sea mist has a silvery-grey lining AND the forecast for day 2 was great.

What could’ve been better: The weather, and I should’ve eaten more hot food.

Day 4

Weather scene setter: The weather forecast was correct, the sun came out to play and the race was on!

Location: Bridlington South Beach again.

What was going on: Day 2 of racing. Everyone parks up in designated spaces again, gets their car/truck/bike out again, and lines up ready to be escorted through the crowds onto the beach, again. There was a feeling of great optimism, excitement and ‘sunshine joy’ amongst the drivers and riders.

What I did: I was riding the Electric Motion, which was getting some quizzical stares from people, as well as a few of the usual ‘hair dryer’ jokes. Anyway, what a day we had! In all, I think I got 15 runs in during the day.

What was great: The weather, the riding, the conversation, the crowds and crucially, I got the electric bike back to the van after 15 full power runs and several parade laps, with just 5% battery power left. How’s that for energy management! Also, the electric bike doesn’t ever smell of petrol when it’s in the van, but it does sound very crap in comparison to the other engined bikes. One spectator told me that he thought he had been struck with momentary deafness when I rode by as he couldn’t hear any engine noise. Ice creams were selling better than hot drinks.

What could’ve been better: Nothing really. It was a really great day. If I had to pick one thing, it was that I could’ve probably eaten another piece of that yummy Tiffin cake (notice the food theme to all of these last categories).

Back at the van with a massive 5% battery range left! Phew!

Day 5

I know that the event only had 4 days, but my 5th day was getting all of my post-event activities completed, like getting rid of the sand and salt from everywhere on both me and the bikes. Fortunately my pre-event bike preparation worked and looking at the clean and oiled bikes in their shed, you’d never know that they been thrashed up and down a beach.

And finally………I want to sign off with a BIG & VERY SPECIAL thanks to the RTW team, a lot of whom are volunteers and who made sure that the event went really well for everyone. Also, there’s a group of really great photographers that have become a special part of the event and are well known by many of us. Whilst we’re driving and riding, we can’t photograph ourselves and the magic of the event is always captured brilliantly by the photographers who are happy to share their images with us for free or for a contribution to their chosen charity. These images keep the memories and the energy of the event alive forever, so big respect to the ‘action-on-the-spot-photographers!’

And finally, finally, again………you can read the posts from the previous two RTW events that I’ve done through the links below.

2022 RTW post

2023 RTW post

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