Kade wins four out of four rounds for Atherton Academy
A sunny weekend at Llangollen saw a double victory for Gee and Rachel Atherton for the second consecutive year, and Atherton Academy rider Kade Edwards secured his fourth victory out of four juvenile races. Taylor and Marc were disappointed with 11th and 15th places respectively.
Rain before practise day on Saturday had resulted in ‘absolute carnage’ in the woods. By the qualifying runs on Sunday the track had started to dry out but there were still some very slick areas that required huge nerve and concentration from the riders.
In the Women’s qualifying it was clear that the race was going to be between Rachel and Manon Carpenter. Rachel qualified first with a time of 2.34.9, Manon was second with 2.49.19, then there was a huge gap to Jess Greaves with a brave 5.53.46.
Gee qualified in third place with the fastest top split but Series Leader Marc couldn’t find his groove this weekend and qualified 11th.
In the Finals the Juveniles were up first. Kade had qualified in second, 7 seconds behind Luke Birkett after a two small crashes in the top section, but in the actual race he put all that behind him and was 7 seconds ahead of the field by split 1 and took the win with a 2.42.61 – 10.7 seconds clear of Adam Beatty. Birkett came in 3rd.
Kade commented: “I stayed cautious, let it flow, no stops. It’s quite dusty up top now with a few tacky sections, the bottom was nice and smooth and very flowy – I enjoyed it!”
The Women raced next, and with track conditions a little better, they all improved their times but positions held - Jess took third, Manon took second with 2.40.06 but Rachel came flying down the hill in 2.30.67, showing the form she has been struggling to recapture since South Africa and the illness that followed – a massive 9.39 seconds in the lead.
Rachel commented: “I prefer this track to a lot of the World Cup tracks. It’s so steep and technical but so much fun; I love riding for this crowd, Manon was pushing me hard – it feels great!.
In the Junior race Taylor Vernon overcooked a blown out corner at the exit to the woods, he span 180° and had to walk his bike back up the track, losing valuable time. A fast bottom section pulled back some seconds but it was a disappointing 11th place on the day.
In the Men’s race Slugger Beaumont suffered two off-track excursions and finished 15th overall.
Gee was third last down the hill and looked strong all the way – almost three seconds ahead a split one – he maintained this pace to cross the line at 2:08.13. Second qualifier Joe Smith was 2.7 seconds behind Gee for second place, and fastest qualifier Josh Bryceland couldn’t get into contention, finishing fourth at 2.14.39.
Gee commented: “A pretty intense weekend at Llangollen as usual – the crowd was awesome, the track was wild – stoked to take the win and stoked for Rach and Kade.”
Gee takes the Series lead from Slugger, and Kade maintains his first place in the ranks.
1 Gee Atherton GT Factory Racing 2: 08.135
2 Joe Smith Chain reaction Cycles/Nukeproof 2:10.84 + 2.71
3 Danny Hart Giant Factory Off Road Team 2:11.54 +3.40
4 Josh Bryceland Santa Cruz Syndicate 2:13.63 +5.50
5 Sam Dale Madison Saracen Factory Team 2:14.23 +6.10
1 Rachel Atherton GT Factory Racing 2:30.67
2 Manon Carpenter Madison Saracen Factory Team 2:40.06 +9.39
3 Jessica Greaves Team Skene 5:12.18 +2.41.51
1 Reese Wilson Alpine Bikes/UNIOR tools 2:21.84
2 Matthew Barrett J-Tech/Pearce Cycles 2:25.37 +3.53
3 Jacob Dickson Orange world Dirt Team 2:26.13
11 Taylor Vernon GT Factory Racing 2:36.23 +14.38
1 Kade Edwards Atherton Academy 2:42.61
2 Adam Beaty Keswick Bikes 2:53.31 +10.7
3 Luke Birkett We love Mountains 3:06.12