Normandy Beach Steeped in Motoring History
Ouistreham, Riva-Bella, France. This place may still be unknown to you and yet, it has been an historical landmark in France for over seventy years. Ouistreham Riva-Bella is a part of the French shoreline where took place the Normandy landings, also known as "D-Day", during World War II.
Tens of thousands of soldiers and machines have marched on those beaches which are now being widely recognized as tourist hubs for all history lovers. That being said, a new sand racing event has made its mark in this town since 2019 : The Normandy Beach Race (which now, not only attracts history lovers, but mechanical history lovers as well !)
From a historical landmark to a vintage raceway overnight.
Sand Racing with Sounds and Smells of Pre-war Vehicles
September 10th - 12th of 2021 : here we finally are, ready for this third edition of the Normandy Beach Race!
Just incase anyone got stuck in the sand a proper tow truck was available.
The Normandy Beach Races are a pretty simple and yet truly remarkable vintage racing event : 1 on 1 runs over 1/8 miles, on the beach with pre-war vehicles. No standings, no fastest times, only the fun and pleasure of letting its engine roar like crazy on the sands of Sword Beach.
There is only one rule is required to compete, to have a motorbike or a car from before 1947.
Head to head!
The 80 participants, coming mainly from Western Europe, USA and Canada, did not hesitate one second to take the plunge and throw their old machines onto the sand.
A wide variety of American Harley-Davidson pre 47 motor power.
Night running as the sun sets, lights come on and things got very interesting.
Night runs have been amazing and were one of the strongest and most stunning time of the weekend. In an enchanting setting surrounded by a breathtaking sunset, and after the Flag Girls gave the starting signal, all pilots sprinted breathlessly on their machines till the night was full and dark.
A Spectacular Sight: Vintage Automotive & Antique Motorcycle Party
Even if most of the vehicles were of US origin including a '42 Harley WLA,'43 Harley UL, '41 Harley UL, Chevy Belly Tank, ’29 Ford A Roadster, and ’30 Ford model A. There were also some really brilliant European showpieces seen such as a terrific Bugatti along with some '45 Ariel, '46 BSA M21 and '35 Norton ES2.
2 days that went as fast and as intensely as the Knucklehead number 8.
Along side the vintage motorcycle drag racing, a huge car-show pre-1965 took place close to the beach throughout the whole weekend as well. Filled with classic cars, Hot-Rod, Leadsleds, Muscle Cars, and plenty of incredible bikes. It made for a perfect combination to the crowd in attendance.
Few Flatheads looking beautiful in town.
Sunday, 5pm : It’s the end of the line. Drivers are going home, beaches are clear and quite ... until next year! Even without a general standings, victory goes back to the organization which have managed to establish this major and top-notch event over the last three editions.
Words and photos by: Mike Maurice
Tired from some long days of racing, it's time to go home.
Check out some more photos from the racing events:
More from the pre-1967 car and bike show.
What an incredible display of an Indian.
You couldn't ask for a better place to have a vintage motorcycle and car show.
Some of the beautiful cars present.
Getting ready to race!
Race ready flathead waiting for its turn to rip down the beach.
Dig deep and let'r rip!
Sidecar wildness going on right here!
A few choppers getting ready to roll out.
What a beautiful Norton.
Some roadsters taking off.
Spinning them tires!
Check out that belly tanker!
Nothing but smiles for miles.
Number 8 kickstarting his incredibly fast Knucklhead.
What a site to see at night.
Sunsets are just unreal out on the beach.