Friday, 12 January 2018

Trek Factory Racing signs Charlie Hatton and announces three new partnerships for 2018

The Trek Factory Racing team are pleased to welcome an Elite rider with enormous potential – 19 year old Brit Charlie Hatton. 

Charlie’s 2017 was packed with great performances; two National wins, the overall British Downhill Series title and three World Cup top 20 results, the highlight 11th place at the World Cup Finals where he was just tenths of seconds off the top ten. 

Team Director Dan Brown said “ We’ve been keeping a close eye on Charlie since he was a Youth rider and his performance last year was one of the breakthroughs of the 2017 season. It’s exciting to be heading into the season with such a strong roster”.

Charlie Hatton “I’m stoked to be joining one of the very best teams out there. Growing up I used to always see the team on films and now it’s crazy to think I’ll be riding with them, I can’t wait for the season to kick off.” 

Charlie will join Gee, Rachel and Junior Kade Edwards on board the Trek Sessions as the team sets its sights on regaining the title of “World’s Fastest Downhill team” which they held for both 2012 and 2013. 

Kade said “I can’t wait to go racing.  Last year’s podiums were Ok, a start, but I want to win… it’s gunna be a hell of a year with some good people.”

Gee Atherton said “Having Charlie on board with us is going to be awesome, we’ve already got to know him pretty well and I think he’ll be a massive asset to the team. Personally I’m coming in the strongest I have for some years, not having to rehab this past off season has allowed me much more bike time which means I’m feeling super comfortable on the Session”

Eldest sibling Dan Atherton will continue to hold a pivotal role guiding the team.  Dan will concentrate on progressing mountain-biking in the UK through his work on Dyfi Bike Park, designing the fifth Red Bull Hardline and mentoring the Atherton Academy which continues to support young riders including Mille Johnset and Luke Williamson. 

 There are some significant changes to the team’s equipment line up for 2018 with Endura supplying apparel, Hope Technology moving up to be the key component supplier and Renthal supplying bars, grips and stems. 

Dan Atherton said “My life is all about pushing boundaries, whether it's a day on the mountain digging or a day on the bikes. With Endura on board it's good to know I have a company behind me that is willing to push as hard as I am. We are all stoked to be working with a company whose products can stand up to our lifestyle! “

Pamela Barclay, Endura’s Brand Director said “Dan, Gee and Rachel offer something more and embody the Endura mantra of Renegade Progress. Sometimes, you have a hunch that a group of people share your outlook on life, and we’ve always liked the way that they go racing: with commitment and dedication, but an unmistakable sense of fun. It already feels like a good fit.”

On the bike, Barnoldswick based Hope Technologies become lead component partner, they will supply everything from headsets to hubs and brakes to seatposts. 

Rachel Atherton “First day on my new bike and it feels amazing, I’m not renowned for liking change but when I jumped on the bike yesterday for the first time since breaking my collarbone I felt totally at home, the set up feels really square, and attacking which I love, I cant wait to take it to the races.”

Head Technician Joe Krejbich said “We’ve run Hope for many seasons but for 2018 that relationship has deepened so that we are finally representing them in true fashion! It goes without saying that they have a fantastic reputation of making great bombproof products.”

Rachael Walker of Hope Technologies said “Hope have worked with the Athertons for a long time, since 2012, with the supply of seat clamps and headsets. Now that partnership will expand to brakes, drivetrain components, carbon seat posts and hubs. The Athertons have been at the peak of our sport for so long, achieving what many other teams and riders can only aspire to. To build on our relationship with Atherton Racing seems like a natural step. Having some of the best riders in the world using what we feel are some of the best components produced can only mean there are some exciting times ahead.”

Renthal will provide bars, grips and stems, while chain devices will come from MRP and seats from Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB). 

Ian Collins, Renthal’s Cycle Product Manager said “We’re super excited to collaborate with Trek Factory Racing DH and the Athertons. Renthal chooses to work with the very best riders in the World and Trek Factory Racing DH has two distinct facets which we can draw from. Gee, Rach and Dan are legends of the sport, all still at the top of their game. Their depth of knowledge and racing experience is vital. Added to this, Kade Edwards and Charlie Hatton are young, exciting, up and coming riders, who are the next talent to push the sport forwards. This is a great combination for Renthal to continue to develop cutting edge product with ultimate reliability.”

In other partnership news, long term supporters Silverline Tools, Red Bull, Oakley. Fox, Muc-Off and Bell also remain in the mix. 
Look out for further news very shortly.

All Images credit: Moonhead Media 
and Endura


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Euro NASCAR Takes The Next Step

NASCAR Presents New Logo Aligned With NASCAR’s New Brand Identity And Exciting 2018 Season

Already one of the best touring car series in Europe, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is taking the next step by introducing new evolutions for 2018 to come even closer to its American model, beginning with the launch of a new logo and the official 2018 season trailer. 

Fresh off a partnership extension between Team FJ, NASCAR and Whelen Engineering that confirmed the official European NASCAR championship through 2014 and in perfect continuity with the new NASCAR brand identity unveiled in 2017, NWES presented today a logo that features distinctive traits inspired by the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

“We are incredibly proud to represent NASCAR and to carry with us 70 years of legendary racing history, as well as to promote the Whelen brand across Europe,” said NASCAR Whelen Euro Series President / CEO, Jerome Galpin. “The NASCAR’s authentic, innovative and very unique racing style attracts more and more people every day from all over the world. NWES is just at the beginning of its history but we can easily attest its great appeal on European fans. NASCAR is a dominant sport in North America and has everything to follow the same path in Europe. This new brand identity is just the beginning! We can’t wait for the new season to start!”

With its action-packed imagery, the new teaser is the perfect introduction to a season that promises to be more exciting than ever. The 2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season will begin in Valencia, Spain on April 13-14 and will visit five more countries – Italy, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Belgium  – bringing spectacular NASCAR door-to-door racing and American-themed family entertainment across the continent.


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Calendar

The 2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series calendar was unveiled on 10/11 and features 12 rounds in six American-themed NASCAR GP on the best European tracks cementing Euro NASCAR’s position among the best touring car series outside North America.

Built in continuity with a very successful 2017 season, which saw more than 60 top level drivers representing 21 countries on the grid to battle door to door for the NWES crown and delight hundreds of thousands of fans with the best racing in Europe, the 2018 Euro NASCAR schedule will include 6 different countries: Spain, Italy, Great Britain, France, Germany and Benelux.

A key change is the creation of a new international event that will take place in Tours, France where drivers from all over the world will compete to measure their skills against American guest-stars in the Oval World Challenge. The second major evolution is a new venue for the Semi Finals that will be hosted by the legendary Hockenheimring in Germany, building on the success of the first American Fan Fest.

“We are really proud to offer European fans, teams, drivers and partners this very well-balanced calendar, a great mix between some of the most iconic names in Motorsports – Hockenheim, Brands Hatch, Valencia and Zolder – and emerging high-action short tracks such as Tours and Franciacorta. We all share a common vision to make every NASCAR GP a unique fan experience and provide great family fun on and around the track. In just a few years, the NWES events have emerged as some of the best and most attractive in Europe. Pure racing and great fun are in our DNA and we will keep pushing this way!” said NWES President / CEO Jerome Galpin.

Spain and the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo will once again open the season on April 14-15 with the fourth edition of the Valencia NASCAR Fest, an event that has quickly become a classic in the NWES calendar.

On May 19-20 the Euro NASCAR will head to Brescia for the second event of the season at the Autodromo di Franciacorta. The Italian track’s compact layout provides the fans with a spectacular view and action-packed races.

A new King Of Brands Hatch will be crowned at the historic Indy Circuit in the context of the hugely popular American SpeedFest on June 9-10. One of the most coveted events in the calendar, the British festival is the longest running NWES event and will reach the sixth edition in 2018.

On June 30 and July 1 the city of Tours in France will host the new Oval World Challenge. The sole NASCAR oval race outside of North America will bring tons of excitement to the European fans. A unique prize and a special format for the event will be presented in the upcoming weeks.

For the first time in the Series history, Germany will host the Semi Finals on September 15-16 at Hockenheimring and represent a turning point in the season for the drivers chasing the European NASCAR title by awarding double points.

On October 20-21 the NWES season will once again reach its culmination in Belgium at Circuit Zolder, with the challenging 4 Km track hosting the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals for the fourth consecutive year in front a huge crowd.

Well spread on the map, the 2018 NWES calendar will offer every race fan an opportunity to enjoy the unrivalled atmosphere of a NASCAR GP and grant drivers a variety of racing experiences: from the high speeds of Hockenheim or Zolder to the bumper-to-bumper action of Brands Hatch and  Oval Tours. Only the best of the best will be the 2018 Euro NASCAR champion. Save the dates race fans!

Click here for more info! 

Red Bull Hardline

Red Bull Hardline 


Sunday dawned bright – to the massive relief of course creator Dan and all of the riders!

The initial field was slightly reduced by injuries, illness and riders making the call not to ride so Darren Berrecloth, Bruce Klein, Charlie Hatton, Gareth Brewin, Yoann Barelli, Sam Reynolds and Gee were all watching from the comfort of the Red Bull teepee.

Gee said:“ I’m so gutted not to be able to race, if there was anyway that I could ride I’d do it – but I came down hard on my shoulder during practice yesterday and its going to need some time off the bike.”

So 13 riders lined up for the qualifying run, a bigger Finals field than ever before. Because the course is mega open at the top and the winds were increasingly strong the decision was taken  to start just before the cannon. This cuts out a very wet technical section and gives a long straight run to the cannon with a flag to help the riders judge the wind. –but it does mean that the riders are straight into one of the gnarliest jumps on the course.  

Graeme Mudd was the first to go up for his qualifying run, he said: “That was pretty chilled, I just tried to be consistent, didn’t push too hard and did the jumps as fast as I could. “

2nd rider Oscar Harnstrom went over the bars when he landed on a root just after the step up but 3rd rider Bernard Kerr went into the hotseat in 2.29.66. Craig Evans put in a stylish ride to go into 2nd 2.33 – enough for an eventual 4th.

Then Dan was on course, Dan’s riding is always super smooth but even he was forced to dab a foot and pick his way through several sections crossing into 3rd.

Dan said “ I was scared at the top ,  everyone is scared. This is definitely the hardest year – the fact that we had to move the start proves that.

This year there would just be 10 qualifiers out of 13 riders so tension mounted as the last 4 riders came on track.

Al Bond crossed into 8th place, would it be enough? Brage Vestavik stalled on the rocks losing valuable time and crossed into 10th, but Kaos Seagrave bettered him by 9 seconds, Dave McMillan couldn’t do enough finishing a heartbreaking 11th and then final rider Alexander Fayolle roared into 3rd

Finals

First off was Kaos Seagrave – he looked very comfortable and stylish all the way down to the road gap, the course had clearly dried out since the morning’s qualifications. The bottom section saw him make a few minor mistakes, he landed nose heavy over the Final jump but stayed on board for 2.45.40. 

Al Bond was next, he rode smoothly until he made a big mistake just before the road gap. Unsettled, he pulled up in the next rocks to regain his composure before the road gap  - nevertheless he was less than 5 seconds back – 2.49.99 – enough for 9th today.

Laurie Greenland had the start of light rain on his run, he had a big stall but recovered well 2.36.26.
Then came the first of our Trek Factory Racing riders, Muddy started fast, 1.55 at the split, he looked relative smooth all the way – 2.36.73  and crossed into 2nd!

Our former team mate Taylor Vernon was next, he was caught out a little bit on the slippery ricks but still pushed on looking super quick and active on the bike, he went down in the technical section crossing the line 10 seconds back 2.45.96. 

And then the creator of Hardline was on course. Dan was super smooth all the way, he was up at the split, flowing down the mountain to take the hotseat by 2 seconds, but he said himself as he crossed the line that in this fast company it wouldn’t be enough.

Alexandre Fayolle crashed out here in practice last year – he has been fearless this year but he lost the front on a slippery root and went down, his concentration broken he went down again, finishing the race just for the enjoyment of the crowd.

Then there were two – 2016 Hardline winner Bernard Kerr started big but soon got into trouble in the technical section, he became unseated and had to run after his bike.  He regained his composure, and  started to make amends, looking fast, but another mistake a couple of feet down before the road gap cost him some time eventually crossing into 2nd place.

After his run Bernard said: “ It was like ice up there, the difference from even half an hour ago was ridiculous.”

Would Dan be able to hold onto 3rd place for the second time in the history of the race? Adam Brayton lost a foot through the first  technical section, the crowd gasped as he made another mistake before the split but he was still 0.6 up at the split  - he went down just before the road gap. Craig Evans took the win.

Results

1 Craig Evans 2.31.29
2 Bernard Kerr 2.33.30
3 Dan Atherton 2.33.73
6 Graeme Mudd 2.36.73

Monday, 6 November 2017

Jerry De Weerdt To Make American NASCAR Debut

Fresh off his second Legend Trophy title in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Jerry De Weerdt will become the 16th NWES driver to compete in NASCAR in the US today by making his debut in the final race of the K&N Pro Series West at Kern County Raceway Park, California. 

Success in the European NASCAR series translates into the best opportunities to race in the United States and racing on Bakerfield's half-mile oval will represent De Weerdt another step towards fulfilling his dream of competing at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. 


The Belgian will count on the experience he gained in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series to quickly adapt to the #14 Braxx Motors Ford Fusion fielded by Patriot Motorsports and owned by Jesse Iwuji. The goal for the weekend is to log miles and learn as much as possible in the highly competitive K&N Pro Series West. 

"I've been thinking about racing in the US for a while and finally here we are thanks to NASCAR, NWES and Joe Balash (NASCAR International Liaison)," said De Weerdt, who earned 3 top-10 finishes in four races this year in the Euro NASCAR oval racing weekend at Raceway Venray. 

"The track looks a little bit like Venray but has less banking and is wider so I think I can find a good feeling. The race also fits well with our schedule because we closed the European season last month. It will take some time to adjust to a new car, but it's great to be able to enter such a competitive race already knowing what to expect thanks to our experience in NWES and I would be happy to stay out of trouble, finish the race and try to move forward."


De Weerdt's 2017 season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series has been extremely positive. Braxx Racing's team owner won his second consecutive Legend Trophy title in the Elite 2 Division with the 10th place in the final points standings and finished 14th in points in Elite 1. His Braxx Racing team also grabbed its first NASCAR win in the Elite 1 Division with Marc Goossens and the #90 Ford Mustang in the Circuit Zolder Finals, testifying the team's continuous progress.

"It's been such a great year and with a fantastic Finals weekend we proved we're a winning team, so this race in the US is the perfect ending for our season," concluded De Weerdt. "We are building our new headquarters in Belgium and we'll also put together a new car for Marc so we'll have a lot of work ahead of us in the offseason but we can't wait to be back on track. I hope Marc can be with us for the full season in 2018 and battle for the NWES title and we are also looking for an ELITE 2 driver to race alongside him."

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Red Bull Foxhunt

Gee smashes through the ranks into 9th place at Red Bull Foxhunt, Rostrevor Ireland

450 riders descended on Rostrevor in the Mourne Mountains over the weekend for one of the craziest mass start races ever seen – this year riders had to avoid not one Fox but three Foxes! Fast ones at that with double World Champion Gee leading out the fox-pack joined by current World Champ Loic Bruni and last year’s winner Colin Ross!

At 3.5 miles long it was also plenty physical! Gee said: "The level of testosterone at the top of that hill was immense, everyone was roaring! We even had the Dire Wolves from Game of Thrones up there!"

Gee placed 9th, ahead of 395 other riders. Colin Ross placed 17th and Loic Bruni, the third Fox, was 18th. Kelan Grant the 24 year old Irish Enduro champion from Omagh clinched the win after opening up a gap in the top climb.

Results

I Kelan Grant 6.47.57

2 James McFerron 7.10.76 +23.19

3 Conor Bate 7.20.75 +33.18

9 Gee Atherton 7.44.81 +57.245

17 Colin Ross 8.31.247 1.43.67

18 Loic Bruni      8.31.247 + 1.44.00

The Fourth Female Red Bull Foxhunt

The 2017 Red Bull Foxhunt was seriously muddy!  250 women flocked to Machynlleth in Wales for an awesome weekend that felt more like a festival than a race. The atmosphere at Foxhunt is famously supportive, never more needed than at this year’s event where conditions made the riding difficult.

Katy Winton did an absolutely top job as the fox while Rachel was on hand with loads of tips and encouragement and Trek Factory Racing mechanics Sam and Joe fixed, tweaked and advised for hundreds of riders who dropped by for a chat and a helping hand.  

Practice was hilarious, queues for the B lines erupting into laughter and qualifying was tough with some riders choosing not to ride again after the arduous morning, about 170 riders took the uplift to the top. 

Rachel said: “ Everybody here can do this, even in the mud, its just having the confidence to have a go.”  

So in the final reckoning 190 women took to the mass start grid, Fox Katy was wild, overtaking all but 20 of the riders in some impossible situations, Atherton Academy’s Mille smashed it into 1st and Atherton Racing’s Gill was happy to survive in 163rd – despite some serious heckling and several crashes!

Mille said: “Woohoo that was super mega fun! So stoked to take the win at the Red Bull Foxhunt and to hang out with all these awesome women!” 


Results

1 Mille Johnset Atherton Academy 3.50
2 Rosy Monagahan  4.23 +33s
3 Claire Bennett 4.25 +35s
21 Katy Winton 5.41 + 1.51 

Photo credits: Red Bull Content Pool / Olaf Pignataro / Romina Amato 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

British Sailing Team News: Saxton and Dabson win first foiling Nacra 17 world title

Saxton and Dabson win first foiling Nacra 17 world title

Ben Saxton and Katie Dabson have claimed gold at the first ever foiling Nacra 17 World Championship which grew to a close in dramatic fashion at La Grande Mote, France on Sunday (10th September). 

The mixed multihull duo are the second British Sailing Team crew to be crowned World Champions in the space of a week, with Dylan Fletcher-Stuart Bithell winning the 49er world title in Portugal last weekend. 

And Saxton and Dabson are the only second set of names ever to grace the Nacra 17 World Champions roll of honour, with France's Billy Besson - Marie Riou the only previous titleholders in four previous editions since the class's introduction in 2013 in its pre-foiling era.

"It's unbelievable. It;s every dream come true!" said Rio Olympian Saxton after the medal race.

"I've never been an Olympic classes World Champion before. Well done to Katie, and thanks to our coaches Hugh and Derek and to National Lottery funding from back at home. It's awesome!"

Saxton and Dabson went in to the final day of competition wearing the yellow leaders' jerseys, but with two fleet races still to go to determine qualifiers for the top ten medal race positions, there could be no let up, with Saxton admitting that successes of his British 49er colleagues last week spurring him on. 

He laughed: "I thought if Dylan and Stu can do it and James and Fynn got a medal as well then I thought I'd better buck my ideas up!" 

Saxton and Dabson picked up 10,11 from their two final fleet races to book their place in the medal showdown in second place, but with the top three crews from Italy, Britain and Spain effectively all level-pegging in the chase for gold.

After a short delay, the medal race got underway in gusty and shifty 20 knot conditions, with drama unfolding as early as the first mark with a collision between the series-leading Italian crew of Ruggero Tita-Caterina Banti and the second Spanish boat of Iker Martinez-Olga Maslivets resulting in the Spaniard’s rig collapsing and neither boat able to finish the race.

The Italian crew were out of contention for gold, but it was far from over for Saxton and Dabson, who had Spain’s Fernando Echavarri-Tara Pacheco breathing down their necks in the Championship chase.

Saxton and Dabson crossed the finish line in second place behind Germany’s Paul Kohlhoff-Alica Stuhlemmer but narrowly ahead of the Spanish team, and it was enough to hand them the victory in what was only their third regatta together.

“We had two races this morning and they didn’t go completely as we’d have liked them,” Dabson explained.

“We’d have quite liked to have a bit more of a gap but we went into the medal race pretty much with whoever won the medal race out of the top three would have won, so we had a little bit on, but we kept our cool and raced our boat. We knew what we had to do and we went out and did it.”

“We had about every emotion going,” Saxton added. “We didn’t have a great start so we were playing catch up and got back in to it down the first run. Fernando and Tara then overtook us going up the second beat and we went for it down the last run and we got them."

John Gimson and Anna Burnet also made the cut for the final medal race, finishing sixth overall, with Tom Phipps-Nikki Boniface finishing 16th, Chris Rashley-Laura Marimon 18th and Rupert White-Kirstie Urwin 25th.


At Hungary's Lake Balaton earlier on Sunday, however, there was disappointment for Ed Wright in his quest for a second World Championship title at the Finn Gold Cup.

Bournemouth's Wright sailed a solid week amid testing conditions and two days lost to lack of wind, to qualify for the medal race in the silver medal position.


But a sixth place in the ten-boat medal final race meant Wright narrowly missed out on the podium spots, finishing on equal points with the Netherlands’ Nick Heiner but missing out on the bronze on count back.


Sweden’s Max Salminen took gold, with silver going to France’s Jonathan Lobert.

“It’s been a very eventful regatta,” Wright surmised. “I started off very well but then managed to get myself a bad result in the second race which was kind of a noose around my neck the whole week.  


“It was very difficult to try and be extreme at all, and here it definitely pays to be extreme because sides of the course come in and if you’re not there then you kind of get left behind.”


He continued: “I think I managed pretty well to go into the medal race in silver medal position and actually I thought it might be time for another Gold Cup win.  I felt good and my speed was good as well.  I just got a bit unlucky on the start. I wasn’t really that punchy.” 

“Heiner got away and if he won the race I needed to be pretty high up – fifth and I was sixth so it was pretty close.  It’s impressive that the whole top four finished within three points of each other. It was very good, close racing and it’s just a shame that I was the unlucky one.”

The British Sailing Team’s Henry Wetherell concluded the event in 12th, Ben Cornish was 21st, Pete McCoy 41st and Hector Simpson 46th.


Image: Ben Saxton and Katie Dabson  Credit: Didier Hillaire