December 4th, 2018.

Sheldon Seal heads into the second half of the French Sand Championship at Hossegor this weekend in an excellent fourth place overall following strong showings in the opening rounds.

Last Saturday Seal finished fifth in a field of 116 in the two-hour race around the forest track of St Leger de Balson, to back up his seventh at the opening round and fifth at the second round.

Now Seal, the sole Brit registered to score championship points, sits 115 points behind series leader, Romain Couprie. However, with 150 points available for a race win in the series he’s still right in the mix.

As a seeded rider Seal was able to get away with the leaders at St Leger, but a stop-go penalty for allegedly using a tear-off on his goggles left him down the field and having to battle back into contention. He eventually finished sixth, but with the third-placed French rider Benoit Beroudiaux, being docked a lap for being 0.6db over the noise limit he was promoted to fifth.

“Not a bad weekend at a track I’ve always struggled on for one reason or another,” said Seal. “ I had a reasonable start but after the second lap I was given a stop-go penalty board, which I missed, so when I came in they held me for around 1m 30s. It’s annoying as I didn’t have any tear offs!

“I can’t wait for Hossegor this weekend, which is my favourite circuit on the French Sand Championship calendar, especially now the bike is going well.”

Halfway through last year Seal switched from Yamaha to Husky power in his YFZ450 chassis, to match the performance of the top European riders, but suffered a series of mechanical problems in the second half of the year while getting the new hybrid set up properly.

Two other Brits made the long trip to St Leger de Balson in the south-west of France; Harry Miller finished 51st, dropping from 25th after also being docked a lap for failing the noise test, and his sister Ameelie was 60th.

After Hossegor the series takes a break to the New Year when it returns at Grayan-et-l’Hopital for round five on the 21st of January, before the season finale at Le Touquet on the 2nd of February.

Results - St Leger de Balson:

1 Antoine Cheurlin, France (Yamaha) 13 laps, 2 Romain Couprie, France (Yamaha) 13, 3 Jeremy Forestier, France (Yamaha) 13, 4 Oliver Vandendijck, Holland (Honda) 13, 5 Sheldon Seal, GB (Husky/Yamaha) 13, 6 Pierre Adrian Collet, France (Yamaha) 13.

Championship points:
Couprie 435, Cheurlin 400, Forestier 343, Seal 320, Vandendijck 315, Rochereau 308

Pictured: Seal in action at St Leger de Balson last Saturday