Townsville's Damien Koppe has successfully defended his Mackay Beach Race crown at the weekend's 2018 running of the event.
Ninety-two years after its inaugural running, the adrenaline-pumping and utterly unique event is one of the oldest motorcycle events in Australia and is the country’s only legal motorcycle beach race.
Koppe is one of the nation’s most skilful dirt bike racers across dirt track, speedway and motocross disciplines, and he took the main event from Wade Moohin and Justin Muscat, aboard a 2005 model Husaberg 650 (out to 670) running on methanol and making roughly 80hp.
Still, he admits it wasn't easy.
"It was tough this year," said Koppe. "There was good competition. A lot of people came out of the woodwork with some awesome bits of machinery. Mick Kirkness led for two laps, but he and Ricky Barney were unlucky to have problems. Mick Hansen, the 16-time winner who won his first in 1983, also fell off on the first lap.
I battled for a couple of laps with Wade Moohin. He had a lot of straight line speed but I picked him up in the corners and eventually picked up enough to not see him."
Asked what it is about thet race that made it so attractive to him, Koppe pointed to its uniqueness and utter fun factor.
"It's unique - you can't do this anywhere else except New Zealand, and there were so many motocrossers, road racers, flat trackers and speedway riders who build bikes all year long, just to last the day. You can ride whatever you want and contest the title in front of 5000 spectators.
"It's one of my favourites. I look forward to it all year long. I'm already thinking about next year, because I know people are coming for me. I like finding the stuff that's different. That's what I'm about now."
Mackay Beach Races
1 Damien KOPPE 3:50.117 45.392
2 Wade MOOHIN 3:54.359 4.242
3 Justin MUSCAT 4:00.513 10.396
4 Mitchell WALKER 4:11.887 21.770
5 Jordan GILMORE 4:12.849 22.732
Pic thank yous: David Lovi (wheelie shot) and Katie Battle