Monday, 7 November 2016

Greenpower largest ever International Final

GREENPOWER ROCKS ROCKINGHAM FOR THE SECOND TIME WITH LARGEST-EVER INTERNATIONAL FINAL

Working internationally to promote sustainable engineering among the next generation of engineers, the charity Greenpower Education Trust hosted its largest-ever International Final at Rockingham on 15-16 October.

Dylan, the car built by an all-girls team from Sandbach High School, won IET Formula F24 title despite a mechanical failure during the first race of the day. Meanwhile, Renishaw won the Silverline Corporate Challenge, whilst Cullimore Racing clinched the IET Formula F24+ championship, for the third time. 

The 2016 International Final was held at the Northamptonshire-based track; this is the second time the Final has been contested on the 1.48 mile American-style banked oval circuit.

125 school teams across Greenpower’s IET Formula 24 (11-16 year olds) and IET Formula 24+ (16-25 year olds) race categories competed at the International Final along with 40 Kit Car teams and a host of entrants in the Silverline Corporate Challenge. Participants came from all over the UK, as well as teams from Brazil, USA, Poland and Portugal.

The sustainably-powered F24 and F24+ single-seaters all feature the same electric motor and 12 Volt batteries supplied by Greenpower Education Trust. Students build the cars themselves as part of an enhanced STEM education programme, and design their own bodywork using Siemens Solid Edge software.

Greenpower Education Trust CEO, Jeremy Way, said after the last race of the weekend: “There is nothing more inspiring than seeing all our finalists proud to race their cars at the International Final, and witnessing the teams really working together in the true spirit of Greenpower.

“We hope many of the participants competing here today will go on to pursue a future career in engineering – that’s the result we are looking for, and already numerous graduates from the Greenpower programme are working full time in the industry.”

Charity patron David Richards CBE, Chairman of Aston Martin and Prodrive, was at Rockingham to support the young racers. YouTube star and inventor, Colin Furze, also attended the event.

The full 2016 International Final race results can be found here: http://www.bbk-online.net/gpt/.

For further information about Greenpower, please visit www.greenpower.co.uk


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Turkington does the double at season finale

We arrived at Brands Hatch for the finale of the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship   with everything to play for with us having two of our Silverline Subaru BMR Racing drivers in championship contention.  Colin was sitting 7th in the table just 37 points behind the championship leader Sam Tordoff and Jason in 8th a further 21 points adrift.

The first point of the weekend would be awarded to the pole sitter during the most important qualifying session of the year on Saturday afternoon, and as dark clouds loomed overhead it wasn’t going to be straight forward.  The track was initially dry as the cars left the pit lane for the 30 minute shoot out that lay ahead, with Jason instantly placing himself 2nd on the leader board.  There was a stoppage due to Aron Smith’s car rolling onto its roof at Hawthorns, which in turn allowed the wet weather to set in when the circuit went live for the second time. 

With Colin in 17th and Warren and James further down the order there was concern that the drivers wouldn’t be able to increase they current times with the track conditions.  The cars returned to the track and did all they could to get temperature in the tyres in a bid to try and increase their lap times.  The rain then halted and the track started to dry but with the clock ticking we were under pressure to get up the order and into a better grid position for the first race of the day.  Colin then put in a storming lap which was more than a second quicker than his competitors and lap after lap he increased his time to ensure that he held onto pole position.  Jason didn’t manage to get a clean lap but impressively still managed a time quick enough to put him in a great 4th position.  James set the 22nd quickest time with Warren just behind him in 23rd.   Post-qualifying Tom Ingram’s Toyota failed the ride height check and his times were disallowed forcing him to the back of the grid and moving our drivers up one place, with Jason now starting behind Colin on the grid for the first of Sunday’s three races.

As the lights went out for the first race of the day, the Subaru Levorgs made great starts, as did Rob Austin from 2nd in the front wheel drive Toyota which left Colin immediately fighting for the lead, which he remarkably held onto, as Jason went on the attack to find a way past, eventually safely slotting in behind in 3rd with both James and Warren also getting a good safe start on the opening lap. 

There was drama for Andrew Jordan and Hunter Abbott at Druids on lap two and the safety car was deployed which gave Colin the opportunity to control the pace.  An immense restart from

Colin created a gap to Austin as he fought off Jason who in turn was having to defend the MG of Josh Cook.  The gap increased even further for Colin as did his lap times with him setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 7 gaining one more valuable point. 


As the checkered flag fell it was Colin who crossed the line after a lights to flag victory tallying up a staggering 22 points in the process, the maximum achievable and now in 5th for the driver’s title and just 20 points off leader Tordoff.

Jason lost out to Cook on the final corner and brought the car home in an all-important 4th place gaining 13 valuable points in the process.  Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep Jason’s hopes of a third driver’s title alive.

James finished the race in 23rd place as Warren endured more bad luck from a puncture that dropped him down the order, followed by an off into the gravel trap which he didn’t recover from. 
For race two both Colin and Jason gained additional success weight due to their finishing positions and with both cars being on the soft tyre, there was a whole new set of challenges. 

As the lights went out both drivers up front made a great getaway with Jason immediately going on the attack of Austin, as James and Warren moved up the order to 20th and 22nd respectively.

By lap two Jason was right on the tail of Austin looking for a way past the Toyota which enabled Colin to run away with the race up front. 

The second safety car of the day was then deployed after a dramatic crash into the tyre wall on the run down to Graham Hill by title contender Matt Neal in the Honda which subsequently took him out of the competition after he suffered concussion and bringing an end to his day.  There was then a lengthy stoppage which allowed the drivers to take a breather.

When the race restarted Colin made a break again out in front.  Jason made the move on Austin at Surtees and into second and Gordon Shedden, who was also in contention for championship honours, followed him through in the Honda and was now behind in third.  Jason then closed the gap to his team mate Colin to just 0.8 seconds and was gaining on him with every lap when the team then asked Jason to hold station and act as rear gunner to Colin.  Jason rose to the challenge keeping Shedden at bay and in turn made Colin’s job easier to escape into the distance and enabling him to take race honours once more as they brought the Subaru Levorgs home with a 1-2 for the team with Jason in 2nd.  James brought his Levorg home in 20th with Warren in 23rd.

It was now a three way fight for the championship with just one race to go and Sam Tordoff in his BMW still in the lead, Gordon Shedden in the Honda in 2nd just two points behind and Colin in 3rd and 10 points adrift of the leader. 

The reverse grid draw was made for the final race of the 2016 season by Micky Butler from title sponsor Dunlop UK who he drew the number seven from the barrel which placed the final championship contender Mat Jackson on pole position, placing Jason in 6th and Colin in 7th.

For race three Colin had maximum weight on the car for the second time of the day it was going to be a big ask for him to get past his fellow contenders and into a position of being in the championship lead but he was up for the fight and was prepared to do all he could to finish his season in the best position possible. 

Jason got a great start and instantly tried to get past the Honda of Shedden but it just wasn’t possible whilst Colin was held back in traffic trying to get a clean start and dropped to 10th position.  Both James and Warren both got away without incidents and James was up to 17th with Warren running in 21st.  The safety car however was then deployed for Warren after contact from Dan Welch sent him into the gravel ending his race prematurely.

Racing resumed and Shedden took 3rd from Tordoff and into the lead in the championship standings.  With Jason now running in 8th and Colin in 12th, both struggled with the weight as James moved further up the order to 16thA further safety car was deployed for the stricken car of Dan Welch which left just a couple of laps left to decide who would reign supreme in 2016 and walk away with the title. 

Racing resumed once again and the three remaining Levorgs held their positions with Jason finishing in 10th, Colin 12th and James 16th.  Jackson in his Ford took the race win, with Aiden Moffatt in second and Gordon Shedden took third and the title of 2016 British Touring Car Champion for the third time in his BTCC career.  .  Ultimately it wasn’t enough to get us to the top and Colin finished fourth in the championship with Jason ending his 2016 campaign in 7th.

What a year!!!! All of us at Silverline Subaru BMR Racing would like to take this opportunity in thanking Subaru UK and all of our sponsors for their support over the course of the 2016 season and to also thank the team who have put in lengthy hours of hard work to ensure that we fought a great fight in the championship.  Thanks also to the army of loyal fans who have supported us through thick and thin this year, your support is second to none.  We mustn’t forget the TOCA officials, marshalls, grid girls, photographers and last but not least Fat Goose Catering who have looked after both us and our guests superbly once again this year, huge thanks to you all.

We now go into the winter break with an extensive winter testing programme planned as we set to embark on the 2017 season ahead, and I think it’s safe to say we are hungrier than ever for that title!

Sponsor and drivers quotations:

Paul Tunnicliffe, Managing Director, Subaru UK commentedWhen we started the season our expectations were low.  An all-new car, with very little preparation time, we planned on 2016 being a year of learning and experimentation.  In the event, these objectives were blown away.  Certainly, there were dark times, especially early in the season, but, thanks to the skills and dedication of the technical team at BMR and their drivers, these were overcome, and we enjoyed a second half to the season which we never could have anticipated.  By Brands Hatch we were transformed from the cinderellas of the championship, to being the team to beat.  With some justification, we expect to start 2017 as firm favourites.  

“We have attended every round, with dealers as our guests, the project having really captured the attention of those close to the brand.  Even our colleagues in Japan have been watching the races, often live in the middle of the night.  We cannot wait for Donington next March, when we can start all over again”.

Rob Henry, Global Brand Manager, Silverline commented – “What an action packed Championship!
“Congratulations to all the drivers, mechanics and support staff who worked so hard to overcome the challenges facing the team at the start of the season.  You all did a great job in getting the team and the drivers so close to the top of the standing table. Enjoy the off season!”

Warren Scott commented – “I am so immensely proud of what the team have achieved in our maiden year as a Manufacturer team with Subaru UK.  With a new car a lot of credit goes to the drivers who have managed results without any extensive testing and to finish on the points they did driving young cars is remarkable.
“Huge thanks to Subaru UK, all our sponsors and everyone in the team, the results speak for themselves and are proof of how hard everyone has worked to make it all possible.
“We will continue to develop the cars over the winter to ensure that we come out even stronger for the 2017 season”.

Colin Turkington commented – I don’t really know where to start in summing up our weekend, it has all happened so fast and I now find myself in China testing a Chinese Touring Car! I am beaming with satisfaction with a phone full of heart-warming messages and missed calls. So something pretty special must have went on!

“I knew I was a significant outsider coming into the season finale, but I still wanted to prepare and plan like it was my crown.

“That has been my approach all season, and I can honestly look back at every weekend and say I give everything I had. I never missed an hour’s preparation and I put 100% into every lap I had the Levorg on track.

“In the end it just wasn’t meant to be, but I am far from disappointed. Yes I was saddened to know that I couldn’t get any more out of race 3 and my chances were over, but overall it was a near perfect weekend.
“It’s been a season of up’s and downs with DNF’s, DNS’s, grid penalties and tough battles but we kept our focus and kept pushing onwards. You can’t start contemplating what if’s or what might have been, all you can do is look back and be proud of the success that we worked so hard for.
“I would like to thank every last member of Silverline Subaru BMR Racing and all my fantastic partners, supporters and fans. 2016 has been a roller-coaster and one that will stand out for me for the rest of my career”.

Jason Plato commented – "The finals meeting at Brands Hatch always produces fantastic drama and action and this year was right up with the very best.
“Our Silverline Subaru Levorg's were once again the class of the field on the demanding Grand Prix circuit and produced fantastic results for the team.
“This season has given us all lots to be excited about for the future and I can’t wait to begin testing for next season.
“I’m confident that with the winter test program we have planned we will arrive at the first race of 2017 fully prepared to win the championship.
“I would like to thank all our loyal partners and supporters and in particular, Subaru UK, Silverline Tools and Adrian Flux Insurance and last but not least I would like to thank each and every one of our amazing team”

James Cole commented I can’t believe how fast this season has flown. Seems like only yesterday we were back here at Brands Hatch with four brand new Subaru Levorg’s. What a roller coaster of a year. 
“I have so many positives to take out of this year and I really can’t wait to get back in the car ASAP and get lots of winter mileage under my belt. 
“I would like to thank the whole team on an amazing job. A special thank you to my three fantastic team mates for all their help and encouragement throughout the year. I’m so excited to see what 2017 brings!!!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Silverstone points confirm season finale duo

Silverstone played host to the penultimate rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship last weekend with both Colin Turkington and Jason Plato in contention for the 2016 championship title.  Between the pair they were looking for a good haul of points in order for them to be in a strong position for the final rounds some two weeks later.

Following Saturday’s qualifying session, Warren came out on top of the four Silverline Subaru BMR Racing drivers placing his Levorg 13th on the grid after jumping up the order on his final lap from 21st.  Jason would line up for race one right behind him with James 23rd so it was all to play for.  Unfortunately Colin was forced to start from the back of the grid following a penalty he picked up last time out at Rockingham, his third of the season.

All four made great getaways, but a tap from behind for the team boss Warren sent him into a spin that caused Jason to take evasive action leaving the boss stranded sideways on track allowing all of the chasing pack to pass.  He did however manage to get the car started again albeit down in last position but clawed his way back up to 21st place before a puncture on the final lap forced him to retire from the race with great disappointment.

It wasn’t going to be an easy task for Colin following the grid penalty, but despite starting from the back of the grid he carved his way through the field, passing no less than 19 cars in the process, to finish in an outstanding 10th place.

Jason dropped back down the order at the start but impressively fought a good fight and gained a number of positions back to finish in a comfortable point scoring position of 12th.

James had a great start to his first race of the day and by the end of the first lap was up to an astonishing 17th from 23rd on the grid.  Unfortunately he too was forced to retire on the final lap with a front left puncture.

MG were initially awarded first and second positions although the final race result was amended due to the MG’s being excluded from the race and both Colin and Jason were promoted two places and up to 8th and 10th respectively.

Colin had a great start in the second encounter as did Jason, with both Subaru Levorgs running side by side into Beckets and then again into Luffield where Colin eventually stayed ahead in 8th with Jason tucking up behind him in 9th by the time the opening lap was complete.  Warren and James also made up places on the first lap into 23rd and 24th respectively. 

Colin and Jason then worked in formation picking off their targets one by one as they fought their way through the field into 4th and 5th places.  Warren made it up to 17th before succumbing to his second puncture of the day finishing all the way down in 29th with James securing 23rd.  James also scored a point for setting the fastest lap of the race.  Andrew Jordan was victorious as he took the win in the Ford Focus.

For the final showdown of the day, Warren suffered more misery as he was unable to make it to the grid for the third due to an engine issue.

Colin doubled up with a second 4th place finish after passing Jason on the final lap after the latter brought more misery to the team after he too suffered a puncture.  He managed to finish the race by limping across the line in 12th place and still in a point scoring position after running fourth throughout the 22 lap encounter.  James brought the third and final Subaru Levorg home in 21st.  Honda’s Gordon Shedden took the win.

There is just one event remaining this season with rounds 28, 29 and 30 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship being held at Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on the 1st and 2nd of October. 

Sam Tordoff currently leads the standings from the Honda duo of Shedden and Matt Neal.  With a maximum of 67 points up for grabs, there are a further 5 drivers who can mathematically still walk away with the 2016 championship title that includes Rob Collard, Mat Jackson, Andrew Jordan and our very own Silverline Subaru BMR Racing drivers Colin and Jason with just 58 points separating the top eight.

Warren commented “The number 39 crew experienced another tough weekend at Silverstone, the circuit really suits me as the racing lines are pretty much the same as when riding a superbike here unlike the other circuits where the car racing lines are so different.
“We managed a great qualifying result where we were the quickest rear wheel drive car which gave me a confidence boost for the race day on Sunday.  Starting from P13 in race 1 was an achievement for me, I was really looking forward to race with the front runners only to be knocked off the circuit on turn one. 
“Race 2 I had a puncture and then we didn’t manage to get the car out for race 3 due to a mechanical issue so all in all quite a rough day!
“As usual I am immensely proud of the team who work tirelessly and put every bit of effort in, also to James, Colin and Jason who work so incredibly hard to achieve the results that they have done this year so far, especially at Silverstone which was always going to be a very hard track for the Subaru’s to compete.
“We now look forward to the season Finale at Brands Hatch to mark the end of our development season with the Subaru Levorg before a very comprehensive winter testing programme begins.”

James commentedSilverstone sadly was always going to be a circuit we would struggle at more than most. Considering our lack of horse power the team did a fantastic job all weekend. Yes a fastest lap in Race 2 was a very high positive from the weekend, but being able to use it to fight through the field is a different story. To get anywhere close in the races every lap has to be a qualifying lap, we are not able to manage our tyres over a race run, which lead to our two punctures in the first two races. We have such a good car through the corners, which is so important. The straight bits, maybe I’ll try pushing my foot down harder on the throttle next time, see if that help.”

Colin commented “I left Silverstone hugely satisfied after three strong finishes despite having to start the first race from the back of the grid.  An unexpected good haul of points at one of our toughest circuits means I go to the final meeting 37 points from the top of the table and still a contender for the championship.

“Making good progress early in the day and passing 19 other cars to finish 10th in race one was the perfect start and the key to my weekend. The grip on the circuit was unusually low, so we had to work hard to find a good setup, but thanks to my engineering team we did and I was able to keep progressing and take home another two fourth place finishes.

I now go into the finale still fighting for honours, albeit an outside bet. This is an incredible achievement for the whole team considering the tough start to the year and this being our first season with the Levorg.  My focus is already on Brands and I will keep the pressure on to see how far up the championship leader board I can get.”

Jason commentedSilverstone was always going to be a tough one for everyone at Silverline Subaru BMR Racing as it is a circuit which the lap time is heavily dependent on engine power and therefore straight line speed. To be so far off in qualifying taking into account the skill of the engineers, drivers and equipment at our disposal is beyond disappointing.
“Whilst we made progress in the races, this was mostly due to us overtaking cars that were experiencing tyre degradation issues. We are just so slow in a straight line it is almost impossible to mount an attack.
“My frustration hit a new high with a puncture on the last corner of the last lap in race three whilst in 4th position.

“We have a car which is without doubt the class of the field in the corners. We need more power from the engine to be able to compete in the races.”

Red Bull Hardline 2016

8.30am, Sunday 18th September. As the riders and teams walked onto the Red Bull Hardline site for the race day showdown cloud was hanging low over the valley, it made for some amazing pictures but the riders welcomed it more as an alternative to wind!

Tim Warwood and Adam Gendle were on the mikes welcoming the first fans but there was a palpable sense of expectation and a few tired faces  - none of the riders had slept much last night.

Course creator Dan Atherton said “ I’m nervous,  I think all the riders are nervous, last year we seemed to have more practice crashes , this year there were fewer crashes, but bigger crashes, it’s a shame that we have to go through that process, I didn’t sleep much last night – not sure anyone did. “

Gee had a crash in practice, he came off over a rocky outcrop, landing on his injured shoulder and had to stay down for treatment, Mark Wallace was waiting for a new bike so Qualifications saw just 12 riders take to the hill. 


The riders were clearly enjoying themselves with Sik Mik Hannah pulling three suicide no handers on the way down. Al Bond had a small crash near the end of the course but everyone made it down in one piece and the excitement began to ramp up off the scale.

Qualification results

Bernard Kerr 3.36.51
Adam Brayton 3.39.39
Ruaridh Cunningham 3.41.97
Taylor Vernon 3.43.69
George Brannigan 3.45.00

So to finals..

First up was Gee , the crowd weren’t expecting too much after this morning’s re-injury but Gee flew down in 3.35.97, a time that was faster than the winning qualification time and enough to keep him in the hotseat through the next 10 out of a total 14 riders.

Mark Wallace and Al Bond put in clean runs but came in after Gee, Graeme Mudd knocked his leg on his gear shifter and was scared coming into the Jeep Renegade jump that he wouldn’t have the speed, he cleared the jump and put in a clean run but wasn’t in contention, and then Dan Atherton was on course.

Dan had been so nervous all week, not only for his race run but for all of the other riders. Once he was on course he looked totally relaxed and super-stylish, it wasn’t the fastest run, enough for 13th on the day but Dan was very happy.

He said  “ All these guys have come off a World Cup season so for my run I knew I couldn’t compete for speed but I just wanted to have fun, to find my flow and I did that so I really enjoyed it. “

Mik Hannah was still having fun too, he was unable to resist another no-hander to finish, crossing into second , enough for an eventual 6th.

Eddie Masters had a good run – crossing into third, then it was into the top 5 with George Brannigan crossing into 2nd in 3.39.14 enough for eventual 5th

Our Trek Factory Racing team-mate 19 year old Taylor Vernon  finished his run with a cheeky whip enough for 9th today Taylor said “ I was so scared, I did enjoy it , through being scared but it was a bit of a leary ride! I rode like a squid in the middle – just happy to be down!”

Last year’s winner Ruaridh Cunningham was 1.21 from Gee at split 1, 2.03 back at split 2  but he flew through the bottom section and the crowd went crazy as he crossed into the hotseat in 3.34.86  - over a second up on Gee.

Ruaridh said “ That was a wild run, I lost quite a bit of speed out of the woods and it made me angry – I had to talk to myself and say that’s not how you ride this! It’s been a blast”

Adam Brayton was fast, but not quite as fast as Ruaridh,   into 2nd. Then fastest qualifier Bernard Kerr was on course, Bernard had said that he was here to win and he made good on his promise, a second down on Gee’s first split time but ahead of Ruaridh he stayed in the green at split 2 and crossed in 3.32.46 – Winner of the third Red Bull Hardline. By 2.4 seconds.

Finals Results

I Bernard Kerr 3.32.46
2 Ruaridh Cunningham 3.34.86 +2.4
3 Adam Brayton 3.35.50 +3.04
4 Gee Atherton 3.35.97 +3.51
5 George Brannigan 3.39.14  +6.68

So the final word of the day has to go Dan who said “ It was an honour to have these riders come from all over the world to ride this event and to be able to ride with them, it’s so good to see these guys I’ve raced with my whole career on our local turf, it inspires me to keep progressing the event. “

Red Bull Hardline Final Rider List

1 Ruaridh Cunningham
2 Joe Smith
3 Bernard Kerr
4 Adam Brayton
5 Al Bond
6 Gee Atherton
7 Graeme Mudd
8 Mick Hannah
9 Dan Atherton
10 George Brannigan
11 Brook Macdonald
12 Eddie Masters
13 Mark Wallace
14 Taylor Vernon

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Dan, Gee & Rachel Atherton to join Silverline at the Cycle Show

Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton of the Trek Factory Racing Downhill Team to visit The Cycle Show.

Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton in association with Silverline Tools will be at Birmingham’s NEC arena on Saturday 24th September for a Q&A on the main stage followed by autograph signings at the Silverline Tools stand F50.

The Atherton siblings are the fastest family on two wheels and the most awarded in the history of the sport. Rachel’s perfect 2016 season with a clean sweep of the World Cup Series topped by a World Champs win cements her and the team’s place in the history books.

Atherton, 28, is on an unprecedented winning streak, with 13 consecutive World Cup wins, including the unbeaten 2016 Series, and now her second consecutive world title, the fifth of her career. The World Champion had already sealed the 2016 World Cup crown in Canada last month but won in Andorra on Saturday to end the World Cup season unbeaten.

Also at the show will be six times British and double World Champion Gee Atherton and big brother Dan Atherton, himself a World Cup winner “one of the world’s greatest bike handlers”, Enduro World Series rider and renowned Red Bull Hardline track builder.
    
Long term sponsors and official tool supplier to the team, Silverline Tools will host an autograph signing session on their stand following the Q&A which is set to start at 12:30

For more info contact marketing@silverlinetools.com



Monday, 12 September 2016

Rachel wraps up a perfect season at World Champs in Val di Sole

Rachel takes the World Championships 2016, Val di Sole, and it’s a great showing for the Brits with 1, 2 in the Mens.

It’s the perfect end to the perfect season and her fifth World Championship (4th as an Elite)! In the Men’s Elite our “adopted” rider Trek’s Charlie Harrison put in a great run for 14th!!

In a break from World Cup traditions World Champs doesn’t feature a qualifying round so riders take to the hill in reverse order of their UCI Ranking. 

In timed training Rach scored first place in 4.20. 191 despite a mistake in the top section but Tracey Hannah  (2nd in the rankings) was just 0.59 seconds behind , French rider Myriam Nicole was in 3rd (9.7 seconds back with Brits Manon Carpenter and Tahnee Seagrave 4th and 5th respectively, 10 and 12 seconds back. 

The weather has been dry in the run up to todays Finals and  the track was rougher and more blown out than the riders had ever seen it before. The track is ridiculous steep, technical and even though there’s barely any pedaling it’s a massive test of fitness. 

First up of the top 5 was Pompon, starting uncharacteristically early after a broken collar bone this season depressed her expected place in the World Cup rankings, she was up 12.6 seconds at the first split, which increased to 23 seconds up by split 2 , she crossed in 4.23.301 ( 3 seconds outside Rach’s time yesterday and 25.7 seconds clear of the field.) 

With 4 riders left on track Tahnee Seagrave was straight on the gas, she made it through the first turns with a lot of speed but she was 13.16 back by split 1, 20 secs down by split 2,  back 22 seconds 4.45
Then Tracey Hannah was on course, she in touch 4.11 back at split 1 that had stretched to 7 by split 2, crossing into 2nd . 

Manon Carpenter went down hard in the first turn when her front wheel was grabbed by the dust. 

Rachel must have seen her GB team-mate go down but she didn’t look like she was taking it any steadier just 0.637 ahead at the first split 3.154 at the second, there was a heart stopping moment as she almost stalled in the dust but she held it and crossed the line 3 seconds clear of the field. 

Rach said “I cant believe it, I felt sure that Tracey would go faster she’s been riding so well in the dust, I’m still nervous talking to Peaty and he’s up at the top ready and waiting to sweep, and I was thinking oh no – he’ll be sweeping me!!  The track was so mad, like a controlled fall all the way. But this feeling now it’s the greatest, I want everyone to experience it. Thanks to everybody who’d helped me and supported me – I couldn’t have done  it without you all."


In the Men’s race  the team and fans were gutted that Gee’s injured shoulder prevented him from racing but there was plenty to get excited about as our former team-mate and Atherton Academy graduate Belgian’s Martin Maes took early lead, and later our adopted shredder Trek’ s Charlie Harrison also went into the hotseat, he had a great result – 14th place overall and 3rd fastest through the speed trap.

GB’s Laurie Greenland smashed into the lead by a massive 8.5 seconds from Jack Moir, then his team –mate Bernard Kerr (Gee’s last minute replacement) put in a great run to slot into 2nd, Greg Williamson crossed into 3rd so with 12 riders left on track it was an all GB podium – until Frances’ Florent Payet crossed into 2nd!

Into the top 10 and JGB’s Josh Bryceland, Marcelo Villegas Guttierez, Connor Fearon and Remy Thirion couldn’t get into contention, then Defending Champion Loic Bruni had a rear flat, it didn’t stop him tearing down the track but he couldn’t challenge the top boys. .
Even Greg Minnaar looked to be experiencing difficulties, he pulled back some time on the lower section, enough for an eventual 7th.

Danny Hart was on full gas straight out of the start-gate. He was up at the first split, and stretched this to around 2.5 seconds, crossing into first by 2.927.

Only Troy Brosnan and Aaron Gwin were left on course. Troy was back at the first split and continued to lose pace, enough for 4th today

Then Gwin was  in the start-gate and the crowd held their breath for the man who has won more on this course than any other. But a slight mistake resulted in his rear wheel exploding, he came off his bike and DNF. So it was more celebrations in the British camp with a 1, 2 for Hart and Greenland with Florent Payet taking the bronze.

Finn Iles took the Junior Men’s win for Canada and Alessia Missiaggia the Junior Women’s for Italy.

Results
Men’s Elite

1 Danny Hart GB 3.32.484
2 Laurie Greenland GB 3.35.411 +2.927
3 Florent Payet FR 3.37.531 +5.047
4 Troy Brosnan AUS 3.38.573 +5.877
5 Bernard Kerr GB 3.39.123 +6.089
14 Charlie Harrison USA 3.47.636 =15.152

Women’s Elite

1 Rachel Atherton  GBR 4.20.187
2 Myriam Nicole  FR +3.114
3 Tracey Hannah  AUS +
4 Marine Cabirou FR +24.507
5 Tahnee Seagrave + 25.299

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Rachel Atherton Wins Every Round of the UCI MTB Downhill Series!

Rachel Atherton has won the 7th round in the UCI MTB World Cup Round 7 in Andorra, simultaneously securing her 13th consecutive World Cup victory, the Series Overall title and a clean sweep of 2016 World Cup victories – a feat never before achieved in the sport!

Youngest rider Taylor Vernon showed true grit when he took the early lead, despite riding with a broken nose and a LOT of bruising after a horrific looking practice crash and Gee only decided to race at last minute after re-injuring the shoulder that he’d struggled with since Fort William. He cruised down the hill for a few final points in the Series but he was never going to be in serious contention today.

The women were up first. As Rachel took to the track she had already been confirmed winner of the 2016 World Cup Series with 12 consecutive World Cup wins under her belt – 6 out of 6 rounds so far in the 2016 Series.

In the run up to the race Rachel had been suffering from a bad back and had qualified in 3rd place. The champion rider had talked about perhaps easing up a little to preserve her back for next week’s World Champs but there were no signs of her doing anything of the sort as she tore out of the start gate. Could she make it lucky 13 wins in a row and a clean sweep of World Cup wins? 

When Rachel came on track Manon Carpenter was in the lead with Tahnee Seagrave sitting in 2nd, a brave run despite a punishing fall in yesterday’s qualis. From the first split it was clear that Rachel just couldn’t hold back, whatever her stated intention! She was almost 4 seconds up on Carpenter by split 1 and continued to pull away, tearing into the hot-seat a staggering 8.8 seconds ahead , her time 4:52.783

Only Tracey Hannah and local star Myriam Nicole were left on the hill. Tracey rode a good race to cross into 2nd in  4:59.351. Then all eyes were on Pompon, she was 2nd by 3 seconds at the first split but had dropped back to 4 seconds gap at the second and  the gap had widened to almost 7 seconds by the final check. It was clear that she wasn’t going to match Rachel, she crossed into 3rd, about 1.5 seconds behind Tracey.

Rachel had won the day, taken a clean sweep of the Series and yet another record!

After she’d recovered a little bit Rachel said: "I cannot believe it! I totally thought it would never happen, I thought for sure Tracey or Pompon would beat me after qualis was so close” I just made some massive changes to my suspension, the opposite of what I had been doing all week, and I tried really hard making my bike stick to the ground and really using the steepness of the track to help me instead of being scared of it!! I am beyond over the moon and to have the perfect season is a testament to the hard work that goes in from the whole team and of how the team have kept my head together when I've been too nervous!"

In the Men’s race Taylor had qualified 73rd, he put in a storming run of 4.26.025 to take the hotseat and stayed there for a significant time! Enough for an eventual 26th, his Best World Cup place ever, and 50th in the overall rankings.

From the start it was clear that Gee wasn’t going to be in the race, his careful run ended with a puncture in the lower section, enough for 60th but crushingly it left him just 3 points short of a top ten ranking in the overall standings for the first time since 2005 when he was just 20 years old.

Just before 32nd place qualifier Adam Brayton came on track the long expected storms broke over Vallnord, conditions up top soon got super wet and slippery but the woods stayed dry, complicating tyre choice. Carnage ensued! Josh Bryceland had a big off in the woods, Brook Macdonald flatted, Mick Hannah made a mistake up top and Bernard  Kerr stalled in the bottom sector. Into the top ten and Minnaar made experience count to go into the hot seat in 4:16.409. He didn’t stay there long as seventh place qualifier, Redcar’s own Danny Hart blasted through in 4:13.611. 

Luca Shaw and Ferran Jorba Prats  crashed out, Pierron couldn't get into contention  and then there were only three left on the hill.  Local rider Remi Thirion was disappointed to be twelve seconds off the pace, Aaron Gwin only had to score a top 80 to take the overall today, he took it easy to post 55th and clinch the series title, Troy Brosnan had a spill but recovered to cross into 20th leaving Danny Hart the winner of his third consecutive World Cup by a convincing 2.7 seconds.

Results

Women’s Elite 
1 Rachel Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 4:52.783
2 Tracey Hannah Polygon UR 4:59.351 + 6.568
3 Myriam Nicole Commencal/Vallnord 5,00.757 +7.974
4 Manon Carpenter Madison Saracen Factory Team 5:01.594 +8.811
5 Tahnee Seagrave Transition Factory Racing/FMD 5.04.876 +12.093

Men’s Elite 
1 Danny Hart Ms Mondraker team 4:13.611
2 Greg Minnaar Santa Cruz Syndicate 4:16.409 +2.798
3 Loic Bruni Specialized gravity powered by SRAM 4:16.995 +3.384
4 Alexandre Fayolle Polygon UR 4:18.933 +5.322
5 Connor Fearon Kona factory team DH 4:19.176 +5.565
26 Taylor Vernon Trek Factory Racing DH 4.26.025 +12.414
60 Gee Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 4. 37.164 + 23.905

Overall World Cup Standings Men
1 Aaron Gwin 1252
2 Danny Hart 1226
3 Troy Brosnan 1031
11 Gee Atherton 528
50 Taylor Vernon 199

Overall World Cup Standings Women
1 Rachel Atherton Trek Factory Racing 1700
2 Manon Carpenter Madison Saracen Factory Team 1140
3 Tracey Hannah Polygon UR 1130
4 Tahnee Seagrave Transition Factory Racing/FMD 1015
5 Emilie Siegenthaler 630

In the Overall Team Standings Trek Factory Racing DH missed out to MS Mondraker by one point.

Pics Sven Martin