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Interview: Todd Kellett Wins CFS Title but looks to Le Touquet

Somerset-born sand rider extraordinaire Todd Kellett has had an incredible few years since a desperate, injury-riddled 2018 left him almost turning his back on the sport. Having now won the 2022-23 CFS (Championnat de France des Sables – literally French Sand Championship!) title with a round to go, it is that final round on which he now has full focus – the big one, the Enduropale: Le Touquet.

Words: Ben Rumbold | Images: ConwayMX

In an interview with MX Vice, Todd reveals what brought him to the sand racing world, his thoughts on the Weston Beach Race and what might lie ahead for him in the future.

Ben Rumbold:  Gotta say first, congratulations on winning the CFS Championship. You’ve won four out of the five rounds to clinch it a race early! How many years have you been going for this championship now? What attracted you to it in the first place?

Todd Kellett: Thank you very much. Yeah I’ve had a strong season. I actually led the first round from the start until the last half a lap when a crash cost me the win so that’s a bit of a sore subject, but otherwise it’s been a mega year. My first full championship was 2019-20, I did a few rounds the year before but this is only my third full season as one season got cancelled due to COVID-19. And if I’m honest, it’s been a tough championship to get under my belt, I’ve finished in 2nd both years leading up to this one so it’s been a mental challenge that’s for sure.

Going back to 2018, I had no idea about the championship. I knew about the Le Touquet Enduropale race and had always dreamed of racing it but didn’t know there was a full beach race championship. During the 2018 season, I had been fighting all year to come back from 8 broken vertebrae, it had been one of the most mentally draining seasons that I’ve ever had. I came back from injury too early, I chased my tail all year trying to do something that wasn’t possible. I wasn’t ready to be back on a bike and just wasn’t fit enough but I won’t go into detail on that.

At the end of the season, I was done. I lost the love for Motocross, I didn’t enjoy racing anymore and quite obviously I wasn’t going to get a ride for the following year.  So my then-girlfriend, now wife, Lucy, had made the decision she was going to quit her full-time job.  We set off in our Sprinter motorhome and lived in The Netherlands for two months. I was desperate to finish the year on a positive and win Weston again, it was my last chance of doing something that year. It worked and I did just that, won Weston for the third straight year and although I had no opportunities for the next year, I proved to myself that I could still ride a bike.

Long-term sponsor St. Blazey MX then worked their magic once again and supplied me with a 350cc Husqvarna and I went over to The Netherlands and did the Red Bull Knockout.  We had no idea what we were doing but gave it a go and to be honest, that was the turning point for me. I got chatting with Guillame, the Drag’on Tek team manager because I thought they had a bike problem in between races.  They stripped the bike, checked the clutch and oil etc, whilst I just kicked my tyres and put gas in!  Turns out they didn’t have a problem, that’s just what they normally do! We got chatting and he offered me a go on a Yamaha. I jumped at the opportunity, rang St. Blazey MX again and said I’m going back to the UK overnight for the Skegness Beach Race the next day. I told them “I’m going to race that, and then test a Yamaha”. They backed me 100% and I never looked back.

Todd, Lucy, and the Drag’on Tek Yamaha team have had a successful year so far. (Image: Todd Kellett Facebook)

BR: So you first won at Weston back in 2016, had a three-year winning run, and you’ve won the last two as well so you’re actually tied for the record number of solo wins there. Did it come pretty naturally to you straight away, and why do you think you’re so good there?

TK: Yeah I’ve had 5 wins now and I think it’s clear that I enjoy the event and it’s a strong point of mine. I wouldn’t say it has come easy, but I’ve raced it from a young age and I guess I’ve found what I specialise in now. I always focused on Motocross and then Weston was a fun race at the end of the season. That’s not the case now and beach races are my main priority.

Kellett pulls a double in the middle of the 2022 Weston Beach Race – no-one else was attempting this, whilst Todd cleared it right to the end of the race when traffic allowed. Sadly, the French are not fans of the event.

BR: I personally saw you double-jumping some sections at Weston that no-one else was doing. You had a big lead but kept doing them right to the end. Is that something you do to help your concentration, is it just for fun or genuinely to just pull away further from the opposition?

There were some cool videos this year from Weston. When you’re in the moment you don’t really think about anyone else. I wasn’t going round thinking “Is anyone else doing this?” or “I wonder if I’m faster here than the others?” Weston is a warm up race for me now, the French sand championship normally starts around the same time so it’s good for me to go to Weston and get three hours done. I enjoy the race and obviously my goal is to win but I actually use it to check my fitness, check my race strategy, practice pit stops etc. So yeah, really I just stay fully focused for the three hours and use my pit board to know what my speed’s like, what the gap is, and go from there.

BR: Obviously the big one to come (on the 4th of February) is Le Touquet. You had an enthralling scrap with Milko Potisek last year which I managed to catch on Eurosport. He is still your teammate, is that right? How do you normally prepare for this race, and are you making any changes to your prep for this year?

TK: Yeah, so the main one of the year is just over a week away now. Yes, Milko is still my team mate and has been since I started this journey. In regards to preparation, my whole year is focused on Le Touquet. The other races and the championship are good and it’s always nice to get some wins but the main focus and the reason I get out of bed in the morning is Le Touquet. Every race we do is to learn, try things, and be stronger for that race. This year I have made a few small changes: I have a new physical trainer, I’ve tested a few new bits on the bike and I’ve changed my diet. Whether it’s a combination of all of that or one thing, I’m not sure but I’m fitter than I’ve ever been and we’re feeling good. I’m in my last week of a big and hard training schedule this week, and then next week we will calm it down and recover ready for the race.

BR: I noticed that Adrien van Beveren rode Le Touquet last year. Do you have eyes on maybe joining him in taking on the Dakar Rally in the future? Your sand abilities would certainly come in handy?

TK: I’m really good friends with Adrien and he’s such a cool guy. I’ve spent a lot of time with him and we go riding together, etc. Dakar has been a dream of mine, I’ve spoken about it in the past and I’ve thought about doing some testing on a rally bike, but at the moment I’m solely focused on Le Touquet. Until I win that one, nothing changes for me.

Kellett dances his two-stroke Yamaha through the relatively easy sand of FatCat, July 2022.

BR: You had what looked like a fun wild card day in the British Championship at FatCat last year. Any more planned appearances in any British races this season?

TK: Yeah, I raced it on my two-stroke. It was a fun day but I had too many crashes! I don’t really have any plans as of yet for the summer, I’m not under contract to race anything in particular so I just do what I want really. I’ve got a lot of testing to do on the new Yamaha 450 ready for the next beach race season so that will be my main focus but you never know, I might get the two-stroke out for a bit of fun again.

BR: Just something I thought of as you were clearing off at Weston – Conrad Mewse asking you “Where the f*** did you go?” at the finish line last year was hilarious, by the way – do you think that Weston might be a good fit to bring into the CFS series? Maybe give you more competition and raise the standard of Weston?

TK: Ha ha yeah he was a bit tired I think! To see Weston on the CFS calendar would be cool for me but the French aren’t big fans of the event. They hate how wet and boggy it is, the team dread it when I say I’m racing there. A lot of people assume the French beach races are similar to Weston, but other than being on a beach they’re nothing alike. The French races have much softer sand, big rough bumps and no dunes. Weston is very, very slow compared to the other races and it actually gets faster as the dunes compact and you start jumping them etc. The French races get slower as you go on and super-gnarly very quickly!

BR: Finally, how do you see the next few years of your career going? Continuing with the CFS series? Enduro? Rally Raids? What are your main goals from here?

TK: I’m contracted for the French CFS championship with Yamaha for another season, so I’ll definitely be staying where I am until 2024 and don’t have any major plans on changing even then to be honest. I guess if I had two successful Le Touquet races I would possibly look at other options I might have but for now I’m happy, I’m confident where I am and I’m enjoying life.

So for anybody who wants to see the epic Le Touquet race, and if you’re British it would be a very good year to go and cheer Todd on his quest for victory, follow the link below for information on getting there and joining 250,000 other fans.  Failing that, Eurosport did cover the event last year but you’ll have to keep checking your TV listings. 2022’s footage was excellent and it will be well worth a watch.

Enduropale du Touquet 2023: Practical information about enduro (

Many thanks to Todd for speaking to us and everyone at MX Vice is rooting for you at Le Touquet.  Kick arse chap!