Beach racing is one of the oldest disciplines in all of motorsports. The United States is often cited as one of the early locales where cars and motorcycles took to the sand, with the Daytona Beach and Road Course opening for speed trials all the way back in 1902.
However, beaches all over the world became famous for hosting various kinds of racing…and the practice is one the rise once again.
“Events took place in France at La Baule in 1919, in Denmark on the island of Romo. For more than a century it has existed all over the world. In Pendine, England, it is part of the local culture. With The Race of Gentlemen (TROG), vintage enthusiasts have revived this practice, on the east coast, in Wildwood, or in California, in Pismo in 2016.” -Normandy Beach Race
Several years ago, three friends from the Paris suburbs — Thomas Hervé, Jean-Marc Lazzari, and Marc Félix — traveled to the States to participate in The Race of Gentlemen (TROG), and returned home with a dream.
“They soon imagined themselves having the same experience on a French beach… and moreover in Normandy, on beaches that have marked history.”
The result of their passion, tenacity, and hard work is the annual Normandy Reach Race, which takes place on none other than Sword Beach, one of the five main landing beaches of Operation Overlord — the Allied invasion of German-occupied France on June 6, 1944.
Stretching five miles from Ouistreham to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, Sword ended up being the easternmost landing zone of the invasion. British forces from the 3rd Infantry, as well as attached Royal Marine and Free French Commando elements, were tasked with assaulting the beach and proceeding inland toward the city of Caen.
Today, Normandy Beach Race is open only to pre-1947 cars and motorcycles, with 1/8-mile (200m) drag races on the beach. The 2023 NBR took place from September 22-24, 2023, and we sent our friend and photographer Roberto Garagarza (@roga______) to cover the event.
Roberto’s captures are simply incredible. We hope you enjoy them!
Normandy Beach Race: Gallery
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