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  


Monday, 11 September 2017

Race Report – World Champs 2017: Top 20 for Gee

World Champs 2017: Top 20 for Gee!

Cairns dealt the most brutal blows to the Trek Factory contingent of the British Cycling Team this weekend with both Rachel Atherton and Kade Edwards injured during Friday's timed training day, Rachel sustained a broken collarbone when she clipped a bank in the top turns and went OTB and Kade went down hard on the big jumps knocking himself unconscious. Both withdrew from the Finals on medical advice. 

Rachel said: "Absolutely devastated doesn't even come close. I was having so much fun on track, attacking, loving the speed. I felt like my old self for the first time in months but a broken collarbone puts an end to me defending my World Champs title. Thanks so much to Mick and Tracey Hannah for getting me up and walking me to safety."

Kade said: "I had a big crash on a fast bit, landed on my head and was out for at least 10 seconds so the doctors say I can't race. I feel pretty bad right now but I'll live to fight another day. Good luck to all the boys."

In the Junior Men's race the British team reigned supreme with 1st, 2nd and 5th places going to Matt Walkers, Joe Breeden and Kaos Seagrave.

In the Junior Women's race, GB's Maya Atkinson was 11th in 4.53.44.

Then then women were on track  - and with the reigning World Champ cruelly sidelined there was everything to play for - and drama levels were high. All of the British hopes were now pinned on Tahnee Seagrave but they were dashed as our remaining female elite rider pushed a little too hard and crashed out - ending up in 10th place. 

Local heroine Tracey Hannah looked sure to take the hot seat until she washed out on a high inside line, she lay stunned for a couple of seconds before scrambling back onto the bike, perhaps long enough to lose her the race. Tracy finished 2nd but a timing complication meant that Myriam Nicole was promoted after the race with Tracey moving into 3rd. Pompon had made no mistakes but was recorded 4.7 seconds off the pace by the first split. A review of the back up timing placed her just 0.097 back from the winner Miranda Miller (Canada) who stepped outside of the general chaos with a fast and consistent run. 

World Champs has a slightly different format in that seeding is dictated by current standings. Gee's 9th place in timed training put him at the forefront of the British squad and he was feeling confident as he headed up the hill. By the time of the Men's race the course was getting even looser with lots of riders stumbling in the corners - the Aussie riders relished the dry, dusty conditions, dominating the results table with 4 out of the top 6 places! Sam Hill was first down the mountain and seemed to take up residence in the hot seat! 

Gee has a solid run and crossed into second place, 3.37 back from Sam, enough for 18th on the day, Gee said: "I'm stoked. After the injury (a hip dislocation at Fort William) I'm delighted to be here and my goal was for top 20 this weekend. Thanks to Trek, Fox, all the sponsors and team GB for the support and of course my right hand man Polish Pete!" 



Results 

Elite Men

1 Loïc Bruni (FRA) 3:26.656
2 Mick Hannah (AUS) 3:26.995
3 Aaron Gwin (USA) 3:28.623
4 Jack Moir (AUS) 3:29.257
5 Troy Brosnan (AUS) 3:29.649
18 Gee Atherton (GBR) 3.35.715

Elite Women 

1 Miranda Miller (CAN) 4:10.245
2 Myriam Nicole (FRA) 4:10.342
3 Tracey Hannah (AUS) 4:12.230
4 Eleonora Farina (FRA) 4:15.168
5 Danielle Beecroft (AUS) 4:19.361

Junior Men 

1 Matt Walker (GBR) 3:37.788
2 Joe Breeden (GBR) 3:41.244
3 Max Hartenstern (GER) 3:41.774
4 Sylvain Cougoureux (FRA) 3:42.154
5 Kaos Seagrave (GBR) 3:42.758

Junior Women 

1 Melanie Chappaz (FRA) 4:28.617
2 Shania Rawson (NZL) 4:31.318
3 Flora Lesoin (FRA) 4:35.552
4 Beatrice Migliorini (ITA) 4:38.098

5 Ellie Smith (AUS) 4:43.581 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Trek Factory Racing Downhill: Val di Sole The 2017 World Cup Series is in the books

Race Report : World Cup 2017 Round 7- Val di Sole The 2017 World Cup Series is in the books. 

Val di Sole is steep and it's rough, it's super tough on bikes and riders with roots, rocks, bomb holes and loose slippery corners all taking their toll. 

There was the constant threat of storms but this weekend at least the weather was king - all racers had good conditions with the deluge holding off until 30 minutes after the men's race.

In the qualifications run our junior rider Kade Edwards fell foul of one of the Black Snake's slippery corners when he washed out in a turn between the first and seconds splits and went down hard. Unhurt, he went into the finals run fully prepped and confident of a result. 

In his own words, Kade "came out of the start gate a mess". Off the pace from the start, he made up some ground in the mid sections but then a crash put paid to his hopes for a great result. 

Kade finished 10th and sits in 5th place in the overall standings - the highest ranked first year rider and a solid first season on the Factory team.

In the Women's race, Rachel was still riding at less than 100%, unable to fully trust her shoulder on this extraordinarily technical track. Rachel was enjoying her racing as she'd promised, finding lots of chances to chat to fans and hang out with her fellow racers but she couldn't match the top girls for pace with Tahnee Seagrave taking her third World Cup of the season while Rachel was pleased to come down in tact. Finishing in 4th place and sitting 4th place overall in the standings - not bad going with Fort William and Leogang missing from her score sheet. 

In the Men's race Muddy had qualified 48th and was looking forward to improving on that by some margin in the Finals race. He was riding strongly all weekend and hoped to continue his form from Mont St Anne but in another hideous piece of luck he contracted a stomach bug. The team worried he hadn't been able to keep any food down and wouldn't have the reserves required for such a brutal race run but at first it appeared things were going our boy's way, until he got hooked up in a turn after the 3rd split and went over the bars. 


67th today and 59th overall, not where he wanted to be after his first season as a pro rider. Muddy said: the stomach bug struck me hard. I struggled to eat anything today leaving me with no energy. I can't believe the season is over - I'm already thinking about how to prepare for 2018, I know I'll keep striving for the results I know are there for me". 

Next, Gee was on course. It's been a tough season for him following his hip dislocation at Fort William, realistically he's still not at full fitness and was unlikely to feature highly over the weekend. Having won two World Cups previously here, he was determined to push on and enjoy the return of some of his Val di Sole pace. 

Gee finished 24th and 43rd in the overall rankings having missed 3 rounds this season. Gee said "it's not the greatest World Cup Series but  I'm getting stronger every race and there's still everything to play for the at World Champs". 

Monday, 7 August 2017

Race Report: UCI World Cup 2017 Round 6: Mont St Anne, Canada

Rachel and Kade podium with 5th places and Gee and Muddy ride awesome runs in wet conditions for 17th and 40th place.

Mont St Anne is a World Cup Classic, it's long, brutal and this year it's more rocky than it has ever been before. Rain in the last few days had left the course pretty slippery but all eyes were to the skies as thunderstorms rolled into Mont St Anne today with 100% likelihood of rain forecast - when would the storm him and who would suffer the consequences?

First up as ever were the juniors - and it stayed dry for them! Finn Iles had qualified down in ninth so perhaps unsurprisingly he was in the hot seat with Joe Breeden in 2nd and Nikolas Nesteroff in third when fourth qualifier Kade came on track. What could our rising star bring to today's race?

Kade didn't have a confident start, 4 seconds back by the first split but that was to be the least of it, a mistake in the woods saw him with his hands off the bars losing more valuable time and near the bottom he smashed hard into a rock partially detaching a pedal and rendering it useless for the rest of the run. 

Kade's good friend Kaos Seagrave had qualified in third but was way back in 15th today, Sylvian Cougoureux slotted into 2nd pushing Kade back into 5th and then only first place qualifier Matt Walker was left on track. Trouble in the bottom section (rumours of a puncture) ended Walker's weekend and Kade's 5th stood. 

In the women's race 6th qualifier Emilie Siegenthaler roared into the hot seat by 12 seconds just before the top 5 came on course, then the action got pretty wild! Marine Cabirou had trouble and was way off the pace then 4th qualifier Tahnee Seagrave was on track. Tahnee attacked all the way holding nothing back and it paid huge dividends, into the hotseat 12.75 seconds clear of Siegenthaler. Could Rachel match her?

Rachel started more steadily than usual and was slightly down by split 1, 2.5 down by split 2 and then disaster struck. She got completely sideways in the rocks and it was nothing short of a miracle that she managed to hold on and stay within the tapes as she veered to the side of the course. 6.1 seconds back by split 3, she had a few more sketchy moments and was 9.5 down on Seagrave by split 4, crossing the line in 3rd place. 

Tracey Hannah had a good fast run, but a flat right at the end of the course probably stole her 2nd place from her. Myriam Pompon didn't have a great start, losing her pedals out of the start hut but she composed herself and put together a good run - enough for 2nd place. 

Rachel said: "Congratulations to Tahnee and to Pompon, Tracey and Emilie. It's been a wild weekend. Only physio Fi Lundie's sterling work enabled me to hold on out there today!"

In the Men's race, Gee had qualified 31st, still nursing his hip he put together another solid run despite slippery conditions to finish 4.24.77 - just 8 seconds off his dry qualifying run and eventually good enough for 17th place. 

Muddy had qualified in 13th and was super-excited that at last he felt he was finding his flow, but shortly before his Finals run the storm arrived in earnest and looked likely to put paid to the entire top 20's chances. Muddy was one of the first to ride the storm and the driving rain put paid to his quest for a top ten result. He rode with the confidence of a successful week's riding behind him but he crossed in 4.29.83 (18 seconds back on his qualifying time), enough for 40th. Muddy said: "That was the wildest run of my life! I'm extremely happy with how I approached this weekend. I was calm, relaxed and shredding! Pity Mother Nature had other ideas for me! Crazy that this is my best result of the season though!"




Thursday, 27 July 2017

National Championships 2017 Rhyd y Felin

Rachel takes National Championships for the 6th consecutive year and it's podiums for all this weekend with 3rd places for Kade and Luke.

The pits felt quiet with Gee resting his shoulder and repping the team at Trek World in Germany, Mille riding Norwegian National Champs and Muddy over in Australia. 

So it was all down to Luke in Youth, Kade in Juniors and Rachel in the senior women on a glorious afternoon in Rhyd y Felin. 

Seeding went well despite a track that was "like a bog" at the top. Tight wooded sections, berms, roots and a stump gap that's caused at least five flats kept the challenge level high. 

First up was Luke in the Youths. 2nd seed Luke said: "The track was pretty tacky, I had a couple of small mistakes but I'll know what to do for Finals".

Kade wasn't that stoked on his seeding run saying "it was just alright", but he was still the highest ranked first year junior - just over 3 seconds behind leader Matt Walker and 3rd overall. 

In women's seeding Rachel went 2.7 seconds clear of Tahnee Seagrave in 3.17.32.

By the time the Youth Men came on track for Finals the track was drying out well and feeling good. 3rd seed Jamie Edmondson put in a scorching run bettering the seeding times by almost 5 seconds. Luke couldn't quite match his pace but first seed Morgan Tyrell brought the goods to take the win in 3.09.92.

Luke said "the track was in better condition, I just took it too easy, way too average for a National Champs - it's horrible when you cross the line and you just want to go and do it again, pushing harder." 

The Junior Men's Finals was lit. Kade had seeded 3rd and the team were super excited when he roared into the finish arena 3 seconds faster  than the top seen and with the fastest time of the day so far. He went into the hotseat 5 seconds clear of the field in 2.53.58 

The excitement was short lived, on the next run Joe Breeden beat him by 0.5 seconds and the run after that Matt Walker stormed into the top spot; 2.51.45, 2 seconds up on Kade. 

Kade was disappointed, though it was a fantastic showing from the first year Junior. He said: "The run was good apart from one turn, I gapped it off the road, overcooked it and came to a stop."

In the women's race Manon Carpenter was in the hotseat when Tahnee bested her by 9 seconds. Her 3.16 was 1.3 seconds faster than Rachel's seeding time. Could Rachel bring enough to take her 6th consecutive National Championships? She did it, finishing 3.11.61 - over 4 seconds clear of the field to take her 6th consecutive National Championships. 

Rachel said: "That was mint! Everything that a British track should be with great conditions and loads of right turns. Tahnee pushes me so hard, I remember being here (2 years ago) and I won Elites and Tahnee won Juniors and now look! All the young girl riders should be inspired by that!"

The Men's race was won by Greg Williamson for the second year running.