Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Race Report: UCI World Cup 2017 Round 5: Lenzerheide.

Friday night in Lenzerheide saw some big thunderstorms which left the track pretty slippery for practice this morning, Kade had a small practice crash because of it, but it dried out pretty fast and all in all the riders welcomed the extra moisture which would help the track hold together (a little!) better as the day progressed – it still got pretty blown out and once again there were plenty of crashes as the added moisture made the track run “horribly fast!”
Kade was first up for the team. He’d been looking forward to racing and putting right his disappointing quals run but perhaps a little unnerved by his crash in the top section yesterday and this morning’s spill he didn’t quite hit the pace required. A crash in the bottom section just a few corners from the end of the course put paid to this weekend’s hopes – and knocked him back in the rankings from 3rd to 5th.
Kade said: “The run was chilled but the surface here is super slippery, especially in the last couple of turns – I didn’t quite go in to them right and it punished me and put me down! I wasn’t that keen on the track and was pretty frustrated all week. Onward and upwards to MSA”
Next up were the Women. Marine Cabirou was in the hotseat when the top 5 qualifiers came on track. Tahnee Seagrave went storming into hot seat in 3.32.62, bettering Cabirou by 1.5 secs but her stay in the top spot was fleeting as next rider Emilie Siegenthaler blazed ahead of her by a convincing 3.3 seconds with Tracy Hannah next on track.
Tracy slotted into 2nd, 2.15 back from Emilie, would Myriam have what it takes? She did! 2.38 seconds clear and into the hotseat. Only Rachel was left on track but despite her brave show in quals she was still suffering after that shoulder dislocation – a brave attempt just 0.5 seconds off the win and into second place!
Rachel said: “ Thanks so much to the whole crew for getting me here , that was a team effort for sure,  getting my bike dialed, my body patched and my mind in a good place! What a mental track, horrible, so fast, its all a blur!” 
By the time the Men came on track even the most manicured turns were full of holes.
Gee had promised the team he’d take it easy and concentrate on staying on his bike rather than risk further damage to his hip – even so he managed 3.06.25  - enough for a top 30 spot. Muddy bettered his quals run by over 4 seconds 3.07.61  - enough for 41st  but not at all where he wanted to be on this track.
Muddy said “ It’s a weird feeling to get my best finish of the season so far and be the most disappointed! I was confident today, I thought I’d be in for a good race but I bobbled a couple of turns in the first split and struggled to pull it back – goal was top 30, or 10 secs off the win  - 10.57 I got  - massive respect to Geeman – he got it!”
The Brits made a very strong showing with 15th qualifier Phil Atwill and 13th qualifier Laurie Greenland taking turns in the hot seat  until he was deposed by Danny Hart, so it was a Brit 1,2,3 until 3rd place qualifier Greg Minaar was on course. Ahead by 0.07 by split 1 he extended that lead to 0.7 at split 2 and 1.5 seconds at splits 3 and 4  - fastest by almost 2 seconds with just two riders left on course. Last week’s victor Troy Brosnan was in the red for the first 3 splits but not by much, by split 4 he was into the green by 0.09 and the crowd were wild but he couldn’t quite match Minaar’s sector 10 performance, crossing into second by 0.16. 
Only Aaron Gwin remained on course. He accelerated all the way down the track, in the green all the way leading by 1.5 seconds by split 4 when he had a flat and his race ended in disaster! 









Race Results
Junior Men
1 Finn Iles Specialized Gravity 3.09.743
2 Joe Breeden Intense Racing UK 3.10.87 +1.134
3 Sylvain Cougoureux 3.13.80 +4.06
4 Moritz Ribarich NS-Bikes Factory Racing 3.16.14 +6.39
5  Nicolas Nesteroff Intense Factory Racing 3.16.46 +6.72
15  Kade Edwards Trek Factory Racing DH 3.24.49 +14.75
  
Women’s  Elite 
1 Myriam Nicole Commencal/Vallnord 3.26.89
2 Rachel Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 3.27.40 + 0.51
3 Emilie Siegenthaler Pivot Factory Racing 3.29.27 +2.38
4 Tracey Hannah Polygon UR 3.31.42
5 Tahnee Seagrave Transition Bikes/FMD Factory Racing 3.32.62 +5.73

Men’s Elite
1 Greg Minaar Santa Cruz Syndicate 2.57.04
2 Troy Brosnan Canyon Factory Racing 2.57.20 +0.16
3 Danny Hart MS Mondraker Team 2.58.87 1.82
4 Laurie Greenland MS Mondraker Team 2.59.98 +2.9
5 Phil Atwill Propain Dirt Zelvy 3.00.83 + 3.7
30 Gee Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 3.06.25 +9.21
41 Graeme Mudd Trek Factory Racing DH 3.07.61 + 10.57 

Monday, 26 June 2017

NASS Festival Ticket Giveaway T's&C's

WIN tickets to NASS Festival 2017

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Monday, 12 June 2017

World Cup 2017 Round 3: Leogang, Junior Kade Edwards takes his first World Cup Podium

World Cup 2017 Round 3: Leogang, Junior Kade Edwards takes his first World Cup Podium 

Huge celebrations for our Junior rider Kade Edwards today who took his first ever World Cup podium but disappointment for Muddy who crashed out twice in his Finals run. And of course with Gee and Rachel both sidelined there was a noticeable gap in the team.

Leogang was hot and dusty, and after practice in the morning Kade said that the track was so blown out it was like a different track than the one he had ridden in yesterday’s qualifications. Kade said: “ the track was dusty and red hot, I was sweating in the start gate! Being Kade he cheerfully admitted that there were a few sketchy moments during his Finals run, “but that’s me! The run was amazing” he said. 

In the women’s race our North Wales neighbour Tahnee Seagrave took her first ever World Cup win. The team have known Tahnee since she was “about 9 years old and sending these massive jumps.” Congratulations!


Then the men were on track. Muddy had qualified 41st and was feeling confident as he headed into Sundays Finals but he made a mistake and then was pushing hard, eager to make up lost time when he clipped his pedal on a root in the second last turn and “hit the deck". He got sent off into the banners and lost a lot of time. Muddy said: “ I think I wanted it too much today, I really felt good, in my head anyway which blocked out all my banged up body parts from Fort William and practice here.”

The race got really exciting when Bernard Kerr took the hot-seat after a scorching top section – enough for 5th and his first ever World Cup podium. 6th qualifier Mick Hannah was making up a lot of time on the motorway but a puncture put paid to his thoughts of podium. Loris Vergier had a pretty sketchy run but still went 3 seconds faster than Kerr. With Loic Bruni out, injured Troy Brosnan was next on track, he crossed into second with only Minaar and Gwin left on track. Minaar crossed into second but it was Aaron Gwin’s race for the the third consecutive year!

Results
Junior Men
1 Finn Iles Specialized Gravity 3.15.47
2 Matt Walker Madison Saracen Factory Team 3.17.86 +2.39
3 Kade Edwards Trek Factory Racing DH 3.20.45 +4.98
4 Kaos Seagrave Transition Bikes/FMD Factory Racing 3.20.65 +5.17
5 Harry Parsons 3.22.81 +7.34

Women’s Elite
 1 Tahnee Seagrave Transition Bikes/FMD Factory Racing 3.36.08
2 Tracey Hannah Polygon UR 3.36.77 +0.69
3 Myriam Nicole Commencal/Vallnord 3.38.58 +2.5
4 Manon Carpenter Radon Factory Downhill team 3.39.02 +2.94
5 Emilie Siegenthaler Pivot Factory Racing 3.44.13 +8.05

Men’s Elite
1 Aaron Gwin The YT Mob 3.06.95
2 Loris Vergier Santa Cruz Syndicate 3.08.39 +1.43
3 Greg Minaar Santa Cruz Syndicate 3.09.64 +2.68
4 Troy Brosnan Canyon Factory Racing DH 3.10.24 +3.28
5 Bernard Kerr Pivot Factory Racing 3.11.47 +4.35
75 Graeme Mudd Trek Factory Racing DH 3.35.41 +28.45

Images: Sven Martin

Monday, 5 June 2017

UCI Downhill World Cup Round 2: Fort William, Race Report

World Cup Round 2: Fort William, Race Report: Rachel’s Amazing Run of World Cup Victories Ends in Injury, Kade Narrowly Misses Podium.

Fort William race day  - the big one! Of all the World Cup rounds it seems that here is where the heart is, the home crowds making every run a special occasion for the team!
Race day dawned sunny but lots of rain over night meant that the track was boggy with exposed roots waiting on every turn.

Rachel would be chasing her 15th consecutive World Cup win – 17th global victory if you include the World Champs but the atmosphere was relaxed with plenty of family and friends joining us in the pits.

It was a strange day for the Trek Factory Racing team with both Men’s Elite riders out of the running so all eyes were on Rachel and Kade.

But it was to get stranger still, Rachel crashed out in her practice run, she dropped off the end of the north-shore in the woods, hit a rut and slammed down on her left side dislocating her shoulder. She was taken off to the hospital for precautionary X-rays while the team waited anxiously.

But then the Men’s Juniors hit the track.

8th place qualifier Joe Breeden was in the hot seat with a time of 5.02.85 when Kade came on track.

Kade was up a massive 2.6 seconds by split 1 but a big OTB in the woods meant that he lost the advantage – down 1.9 by split 2, still second quickest by 2.5 at split 3, he was closing the gap with a mature and composed remainder of his run, just 1.1 second down by split 4 he powered to the finish to take the hot seat just 0.1 second ahead of Joe Breeden.

Kade knew that it wouldn’t be enough, Finn Iles was next on course, 6.5 up by split 2,  7.5 by split 4, he crossed 7 seconds up on Kade to take the hot seat.  But on the very next run Matt Walker smashed his time by another 5 seconds. All eyes were on Sylvain Cougoureux. The French rider was 2 seconds down at split 1, then 8 seconds down at split 2, the Trek Factory Racing team held their breath – would he deprive Kade of his first ever World Cup podium? He did, making up some time to cross in 4.59 for third.

Kade said “I’ve been riding here for 5 years and today I rode the top section better than I’ve ever ridden it  (he was up 2.6 seconds) but then came the woods, I nailed the first section but there were massive holes everywhere, I knew that I’d have to dab so I safety unclipped then sure enough got stuck in a hole! My right shoulder struck a tree, the bike flipped and I got all tangled up in it. I reckon I lost 10 seconds easy, then I pushed on down the bottom, it was a good run after that but I’m pretty fed up to miss the podium.

Team Director Dan Brown said: “We’re pleased with the boy, it showed real character to get composure back after that off, its only a matter of time before the results come.”

The women’s race was looming and still no news from the hospital. Riders were already on track when Rachel appeared with her arm in a sling – she’ll have further tests tomorrow to confirm the dislocation and treatment plan.

So Rach watched the top women with her teammates and family from the roof of the GoPro truck. It was a grueling race with crash after crash, fellow Brits Tahne Seagrave and Manon Carpenter both fell foul of the boggy woods, Tahnee came off her bike 3 times, rag dolling through the mud and Manon ran with her bike through a huge stretch of the wooded section – still enough for 4th on the day.

Polygon UR’s Tracey Hannah took the win in 5.39.298  hugely helped by staying on her bike all the way through the woods!  She scooted through, dabbing all the way to maintain enough speed for the win!

Rachel said: “ Obviously I’m gutted not to ride for the Fort William fans and to have picked up an injury this early in the season but its been a great winning streak and it had to end at some point, this is where it began and two years later this is where it ended. Huge congratulations to Tracy for a great ride – I’m glad I didn’t have to do it!”

The Men’s race was no less dramatic! 8th qualifier Remi Thirion was in the hot seat when Danny Hart crashed out in the woods, even Aaron Gwin was dabbing all the way through the wood section – it didn’t stop him taking the hot seat but he was soon deposed by Australian Jack Moir. Rain that had threatened the last half dozen riders was pretty hard by now, only Loris Vergier and Greg Minaar were left on track. Loris came off in the woods and suddenly it was all down to Greg Minaar, could he win at Fort William yet again and make this 20 World Cup wins? He was 0.3 up by split 1, 2.99 by split 2 and the crowd were going totally crazy. Up 3.38 by split 3, 2.8 by split 4, Greg absolutely smashed it, crossing the line in 4.40.344 to be buried in a huge pile of his team-mates rushing to congratulate him.

Results

Junior Men

1 Matt Walker  Madison Saracen Factory Team 4.50.155
2. Finn Iles Specialized Gravity 4.55.162 +5.007
3 Sylvain Cougoureux Les Gets Intense Team 4.59.007 +8.85
4 Kade Edwards Trek Factory Racing DH 5.02.757 +12.602
5 Joe Breeden Intense Racing  UK 5.02.855 +12.700

Women’s  Elite  

1 Tracy Hannah Polygon UR 5.39.298
2 Myriam Nicole Commencal/Vallnord 5.49.543 +10.245
3 Emilie Siegenthaler Pivot Factory Racing 5.53.108 +13.810
4 Manon Carpenter Radon Factory Downhill team 5.55.299 +16.001
5 Morgane Charre Bergamont Factory Team 6.05.146 +25.848


Men’s Elite

1 Greg Minaar Santa Cruz Syndicate 4.40.344
2 Jack Moir Intense Factory Racing 4.43.323 +2.979
3 Aaron Gwin The YT Mob 4.44.143 +3.799
4 Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas  Giant Factory Off Road team 4.44.834 +4.490
5 Remi Thirion Commencal/Vallnord 4.45.020 +4.676


Monday, 15 May 2017

Race Report: British Downhill Series Round 2: Fort William – Mille 1st, Luke 3rd and Muddy 6th but Gee crashes out badly

This weekend at Fort William proved a real mixed bag for the team with big crashes for Gee, Kade and Luke but also some strong results – a win for Mille, a 3rd place for Luke and a 6th for Graeme Mudd.

The weekend’s course is 90% identical to the World Cup track but there are some changes in the woods section, and the big road gap is kept exclusively for the World Cup. Dry weather leading up to practice left the track extremely loose so the riders welcomed the overnight rain to help the track settle.

Gee seeded first in the Men’s Elite proving that he is firmly back on the pace this season but tragedy swiftly followed as he crashed out in his Finals run with a massive OTB at the top of the course. As we write this report Gee is in the hospital awaiting X-ray results.

Kade also seeded strongly, in second place for the Junior Men but went down hard in his Finals run when he clipped a pedal and went over the bars. He’s “a bit concussed” but he’s going to be fine.

Rachel didn’t race, satisfied with four days of smashing out runs but her Atherton Academy protégée Mille Johnset did us all proud with wins in both seeding (5.35) and Finals (5.50) She was 3.94 seconds clear of Valentina Holl. Mille said “ My race run felt so good, I felt in total control and really confident, 15 seconds faster than my qualifying time. The whole weekend has been so much fun.”

And in the end it was a good weekend for our youngest Atherton Academy rider Luke Williamson who also crashed hard in practice. He grazed his side and hurt his wrist but he showed the kind of guts that make him a great fit for the team, strapping his wrist and seeding 3rd on Sunday morning. A good race run saw him 3rd in Finals for Youth at his first Fort William race.

Muddy’s previous best result here was in 2016 as a privateer when he finished 24th in the BDS so he was pleased to seed 4th in 4.43. He said “ It has been mega dry and slippery for practise, it always catches you out when you come to Fort William, you never remember how fast and rough it is! I’m glad it rained, it’s good to experience both wet and dry before the World Cup! Come Finals he went a full five seconds faster (4.38) enough for 6th place and to feel stoked with the progress that he and mechanic Sam had made between them.
Results

Youth Men 

1. Thibaut Daprela LaPierre / Gravity Racing / 4.52.744
2. Jamie Edmondson / FMD Racing/Transition Factory Racing / 5.03.432 + 0.10.68
3. Luke Williamson / Atherton Academy / 5.06.284 + 0.13.54

Youth Women

1. Mille Johnset / Atherton Academy / 5.35.253
2. Valentina Holl / SRAM Racing / 5.39.202 + 0.03.94
3. Maya Atkinson / Rose Biks Facotry Racing / 6.36.331 + 1.01.07

Junior Men 

1. Finn Iles / Specialized Gravity Racing / 4.40.401
2. Joe Breeden / Intense Racing UK / 4.47.553 + 0.07.15
3. Kaos Seagrave / FMD Factory Racing / Transition Bikes / 4.48.84 + 0.08.44

Elite Women 

1. Manon Carpenter / Radon / 5.07.514
2. Tahnee Seagrave / FMD Racing / Transition Factory Racing / 5.08.565 + 0.01.05
3. Lucy Drees / RAD Orange Factory Racing / 6.09.370 + 1.01.85

Elite Men 

1. Danny Hart / MS Mondraker / 4.31.807
2. Loic Bruni / Specialized Gravity Racing / 4.33.487 + 0.01.68
3. Greg Williamson / Cube Global Squad / 4.36.092 + 0.04.28
4. Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas / Giant Factory Off Road Team / 4.36.510 + 0.04.70
5. Adam Brayton / Hope Technology / 4.37.495 + 0.05.68
6. Graeme Mudd / Trek Factory Racing / 4.38.292 + 0.06.48

Pictures: Dan Hearn 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Race Report: 2017 World Cup Round 1, Lourdes: FINALS

Race Report: 2017 World Cup Round 1, Lourdes: FINALS 

Rachel takes her 14th consecutive World Cup win, Gee grabs 10th despite a storm and Kade is 5th in his first ever World Cup!

For the third time in three years Lourdes hosted the World Cup Finals on Sunday. The weather was sunny for Juniors and Women but the wind got pretty rowdy during the Women's Finals - by the time the men came on the track rain was looking very likely so most riders were heading up the hill with two sets of wheels, and the levels of uncertainty that's abound when practice has been in the dry and then the storm comes!

Young Kade Edwards was first up in his first ever World Cup Final. His run was nerve-wracking but he stayed on board slotting into 3rd place with just 3 riders left on track. The team were biting their nails as Finn Iles and Kaos Seagrave both went faster. Would faster qualifier Matt Walker deprive our boy of his top 5? Matt punctured, and the race was done. 

Junior Men Final Results 
1. Finn Iles / Specialized Gravity / 2.56.93
2. Kaos Seagrave / Tranition bikes/FMD Factory Racing / 3.00.44+3.5
3. Sylvian Cougoureux Les Gets / Intense Team / 3.04.18+7.24
4. Moritz Ribarich / NS-Bike Factory Racing / 3.04.89+7.96
5. Kade Edwards / Trek Factory Racing / 3.05.44+8.5

Rachel loves the steep and brutal course at Lourdes but she came into the women's race extremely nervous. The track was pretty blown out but it had been drying out for the three days so times started to run faster. Fifth place qualifier Myriam Nicole was the first to go faster than Tahnee's fastest qualifying time of 3.28.98, crossing into the hotseat in 3.27.

4th qualifier Tracy Hannah was very fast on the top jumps, she lost a little time on the technical sections but it was a strong run, 2.5 seconds up by split four, crossing 3.7 seconds up!

Brit Manon Carpenter couldn’t get into contention, she didn’t seem to make any mistakes but was a little more on the brakes crossing into 3rd place.

Then Rachel was on course. Could she do it?

Rach was clearly 110 % committed from the minute she left the start gate, carrying tremendous pace over the wall  to go 2.9 seconds  up by split 1. She had extended her lead to 3.5 seconds by split 2, and 3.8 by split 3. She lost a bit of time by split 4  (about 100th of a second) but she was starting to fade. With super-human effort she came into the finish with a time of 3.21.4 a whole 2.5 seconds clear of Tracy Hannah.

Only Tahnee Seagrave was left on course. Tahnee looked focused as she tackled the difficult top section, she lost a bit of speed in a corner to show 2.6 seconds back on Rachel by split 2 but there was still opportunity on the bottom section where she had been super-fast in qualifying. She pulled back to 1.94 seconds off the pace by split 3 but took a safer line than Rachel between split 3 and 4 losing more time. She was 3.07 back by split 4 and crossed into 3rd place. 2.7 back from Rachel and 0.15 back from Tracy.

Immediately after the race Rachel said: “I can’t believe it, the track is so rough and I’ve been watching Tahnee training so hard all winter, I’ve been literally sick with nerves, throwing up all morning, then smashing the Revels and the Haribos for some energy! I don’t know how much longer I can do this, the pressure is just mounting and mounting but at the end of the day I love racing!"

Women’s  Elite  Finals Results 
1 Rachel Atherton / Trek Factory Racing DH / 3.21.43
2 Tracy Hannah / Polygon UR / 3.24.00 +2.58
3 Tahnee Seagrave / Transition bikes/FMD Factory Racing / 3. 24.16 +2.73
4 Myriam Nicole / Commencal/Vallnord / 3.27.78 +6.35
5 Manon Carpenter / Radon Factory Downhill / 3.30.02 + 8.59

In the Men’s race 52nd qualifier Alexander Fayolle took an early lead. By the time 15th qualifier Brendan Fairclough came on track there was a weather warning in place with high winds and lashing rain ready to completely change the nature of the track. 

Gee had qualified 12th and when he came on track the storm was in full swing and the start hut was barely visible through the rain. Despite being buffeted by the wind he was fully committed but nature was stronger. Gee was fourth fastest through split 2 but he was already 1.5 seconds back showing how tough conditions had got, and just how fast Fayolle must have been. By Split 3 he was 2.9 back, crossing into 8th.

Gee said: “That was as awful as it looked up there in the top section. We weren’t ready for it, I set off strong but all the way down the wind was stopping me, pushing me back.” 

The final 15 riders rode an entirely different race. None of them could get close to contention with the previous riders, many of the top 10 were 30 seconds off the pace and Aaron Gwin and Danny Hart both went down hard as the track became impossible to ride. So the lower qualifiers took the glory today and Fayolle his first ever World Cup win.

Our Muddy didn’t have the greatest run, enough for and eventual 56th place.

Men’s Elite Finals Results 
1 Alexander Fayolle / Polygon UR / 2.52.75
2 Mark Wallace / 2.56.08 +3.32
3 Marcelo Villegas Gutierrez / 2.56.19 +3.44
4 Florent Payet / 2.56. 55 +3.79
5 Connor Fearon / 2.56.96 +4.20
10 Gee Atherton / Trek Factory Racing DH / 2.57.48 +4.27
56 Graeme Mudd / Trek Factory Racing DH / 3.07.73  + 14.97
Images: Sven Martin