Beach race boost for visitor season

Sean Bond in last year's AMCA Skegness Beach Race
Sean Bond in last year's AMCA Skegness Beach Race

The Skegness Annual Beach Race, which takes place this weekend, is helping to extend the tourist season, according to a report by East Lindsey District Council.

Last year’s race attracted a record 313 entrants and more than 20,000 spectators – the largest number to date. The event is popular with both out of town visitors and residents, injecting nearly three quarters of a million pounds into the local economy.

The race is organised by the Amateur Motorcycle Association (AMCA), a not for profit membership organisation which exists to promote grass roots participation in off-road motorcycle sport, particularly motocross.

The report includes testimonials from the town manager, Chamber of Commerce, retailers and hoteliers, who all support the race.

Portfolio Holder for market town’s and rural economy Coun Adam Grist said: “The event is a very important one in East Lindsey’s sporting and cultural calendar and helps to extend the visitor season beyond the summer months. Since the race first came to Skegness in 2010, AMCA has helped to provide a huge boost to the town at a traditionally quieter time of year – last year with upwards of 20,000 people attending the two day event.

He added: “This provides an increased footfall in the town which supports local businesses, amenities and attractions with people staying, eating and shopping locally.

“We look forward to working with AMCA in the future to ensure this popular event continues to take place in Skegness.”

Town manager Lisa Collins explained the race weekend was particularly helpful to seaside traders by extending the visitor season.

She said: “It allows traders to remain open for an extra weekend, in particular the traditional seaside traders on the seafront.

“Not only is this a popular and important event for visitors to Skegness, but it is well supported by local families, who enjoy seeing the beach used for events such as this.

“It is key to the town’s future that we retain such events to actively promote Skegness as an all year round visitor destination.”

Visitors to the race also increased footfall in Hildreds Shopping Centre, according to centre manager Steve Andrews:

He added: “The event definitely brought people into the town, not just the seafront. Indications from my tenants are that we were around six per cent up on sales over the weekend across the centre.”

This is the sixth year the race has been staged and the event is now making a small profit for the AMCA.

“To begin with it was a loss making event” explained AMCA General Manager Suzanne Potts. “We can’t generally afford to operate at a loss over the long term and we could have pulled the plug on the event, but we had such a great working relationship with the local council and events team that we really wanted to make it work.

“We knew it would take a few years to establish the event properly and thanks to the ‘can do’ attitude of staff at East Lindsey District Council, we persevered and shaped the event to maximise its impact.”

In 2013 £5k worth of funding was secured from the council to help the AMCA continue to stage the event. 2014 saw a small profit being generated, which is hoped will be sustained for 2015.

The free to watch event will include youth, veteran and adult classes between 10-11.30am on Saturday, followed by quads and side cars between noon and 2pm. Then on Sunday the adult solo races will take place between 11.30am and 2.30pm.