Tuesday 30 September 2014

Red Bull Foxhunt with Rachel Atherton

Red Bull’s First Female Foxhunt a resounding success

Rachel overtakes 100 female riders

This weekend the outskirts of Edinburgh bore witness to an unprecedented event in the sport of Downhill Mountain-biking. A total of 117 female riders (The Hunters) were chased down Allermuir hill by 2013 World Champion Rachel Atherton (The Fox) in the topsy-turvy concept from Red Bull. 

As well as a strong, local contingent, the riders came from Liverpool, London, Rotterdam and Belfast. There were mothers riding with daughters, teenagers and riders in their fifties. They came with friends, families or they came alone, but nobody stayed alone for long as they were swept up in the incredible atmosphere of ‘The friendliest MTB event ever.’

For many of the riders this was their first-ever race, and the pervading sense of fun meant that nerves were pretty good. All the experienced riders were involved in coaching and encouraging the first-timers. There were yoga lessons to help riders stretch and relax, and a lot of good-natured banter, practise and seeding sessions felt more like a festival than a hard-core competition! There was limited vehicle access to the summit so riders pushed up from about half way – another great bonding experience! 

But when it came to the race there was some serious riding to be done! The 3km course was challenging rather than intimidating, with plenty of room for easier line choices. Saturday’s seeding earned riders a choice of place on the starting grid from where they poured down a steep section of hillside through heather and sedges, down across a golf course then there was a quick pedal into the woods, which had plenty of slalom turns through the trees and some tricky little off-camber sections. A drop down to another sprint and a flying jump into the finish had the adrenaline well and truly pumping.

Rachel was on site all weekend, sharing tips and stories and encouraging the nervous, but come the race she showed no mercy as she closed on the fleeing pack from her 10 second delayed start. Rachel joked: “I was hunting really, there was a red mist and I was after them!” She passed exactly 100 girls to finish in 17th place. However, the top step was owned by 17 year old Elena Melton, an Enduro rider from Scotland who finished 8 seconds clear of the field.

Rachel said: “I am so stoked with this weekend. Nearly 120 girls racing on one day feels so good. It’s so different from racing a World Cup when you are riding against the clock, all alone on the track. I’ve made loads of the first-timers promise that they are going to race again but I’m sure there’ll be no stopping a lot of them!”


1. ELENA MELTON 04:25,4 -
2. CLAIRE BENNETT 04:33.5  +00:08,0
3. ELAINE HOPLEY 04:34.6  +00:09,2
17. RACHEL ATHERTON 05:16.9 . +00:51.5

Photo credit: Rutgar Pauw/ Red Bull Content Pool

Silverline in Ibiza!

We recently visited a very warm Playa d'en Bossa in Ibiza to support Drew Langdon and the team as they competed in the Mediterranean Grand Prix. Watch the highlights from the weekend below and let us know what you think in the comments box!

Thursday 11 September 2014

Silverline 49ers hit Santander!

We are currently resting at home, reflecting on a great training camp in Santander and preparing for the most important regatta since the last Olympics - the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain.

We arrived in Santander on 12th August with a new boat and a long job list before the World Championships, and after 18 days sailing we feel as if we’ve covered most things and are in pretty good shape for the racing.

Dave arrived in Spain from the UK and I flew in from deepest Russia with multiple stop-overs, but miraculously arrived with my bags. We were both excited to get back into the boat after a couple of weeks away from the 49er and a lot of hard work fitting out our new boat.

Fortunately the new boat is going fast and we had a range of conditions for the training, which gave us time to tune the rig and practise some specific techniques across the conditions. Towards the end of the training block we had a coach’s regatta, which highlighted a few weaknesses that we need to address, but also gave us a big confidence boost - we were fast and sailing well, with good kit. Unlike previous regattas, where we have struggled with kit selection, we are definitely not making the same mistake again, with all our race kit decided and ready to go.

Santander is a venue made for sailing - a big natural harbour at high tide and a short sail to open ocean. We were fortunate to get some great sea breezes accompanied by rolling swell
and Spanish sun, which made for dreamy sailing and racing (fingers crossed we get some
of that when the regatta starts). One of our race courses is practically touching distance from a
surf beach and another over a shallow sand bar in the harbour, giving dead flat water and big
top speeds when the breeze is up, so we should have a great variety of conditions.

The city centre is just a five-minute walk from the sailing centre, and is a hive of activity all
day and definitely all night. It is a typical Spanish night out, with a night club that doesn't close until 4am, so we are told!

Dave is currently at home relaxing in Poole, and I have taken a few days to head to Hossegor in South West France to get away from the boat park. We meet up again in a few days for more training, measurement, registration and racing, starting on the 15th.

Before racing gets underway, we would like to give a huge thanks to Silverline Tools, as without them we would not be able to afford - let alone maintain - our new boat with their tools; and also Harken UK for continually supplying us with the best fittings, hardware and service. We also owe a huge thanks to Payne Hicks Beach for the tireless work they do on our behalf, and especially Martin from team sponsor Princecroft Willis for loaning us an engine for our coach boat - quite a vital piece of kit! Not only good at accounts - also very generous! Stay tuned to the details below for updates between now and the end of the World Championships.

Ed & Dave 

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Silverline appointed as Official Tool Supplier to the British Sailing Team

The British Sailing Team has signed up industry leading tool brand Silverline as Official Tool Supplier for their medal-winning quest through to 2017.

As Official Tool Supplier to Team Fletcher and Sign and DEEP Sailing – two 49er teams storming the sailing circuit – it was a natural progression for Silverline to partner up with the British Sailing Team.

Darrell Morris, Silverline Managing Director, said “We’re thrilled to be appointed Official Tool Supplier to the British Sailing Team. We admire their dedication at what they do and we’re always proud to work with world class teams. The Olympic Games is the pinnacle of many sailors’ campaigns and we’re proud to support the British Sailing Team and their future successes”.

Stephen Park OBE, RYA Olympic Manager for the British Sailing Team, said “To perform essential repairs and maintenance to boats is an important part of any sailor’s World Class campaign, and our partnership with Silverline will be invaluable in helping to fine-tune equipment to ensure optimum racing performance”.

Silverline will supply a wide range of tools for the technical and mechanical teams as well as the sailors to keep their boats in world class condition.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Gee Atherton is 2014 World Champion!

Gee Atherton is World Champion for the second time and is celebrating his victory – six years on from when he first took the title in 2008.

Rachel lost her rainbow jersey by the cruellest of margins - pushed into second place as Manon Carpenter triumphed by a miniscule 0.088 seconds.

Hafjell’s World Championship race was unanimously labelled ‘intense’. It is a challenging and technical track and it took its toll on many riders – including GT Factory Racing’s Juniors. Taylor Vernon finished 40th after a big crash, while Martin Maes, the team’s young Enduro star, suffered a puncture and finished 59th.

Gee rode strongly. It wasn’t a perfect run; in fact he declared himself ‘not pleased’ with his ride, but it turned out to be closer to perfect than anybody else produced on the day. Gee was fourth man left on the mountain and Neko Mulally was in the hotseat. Mulally had put together an amazing run, crossing the line in first despite riding most of the track without a chain, but Gee was about to better him. 

Gee rode a fantastic top section, going 2nd through split 1 (Sam Hill was fastest at the split but had dramatically come to grief near the end of the track). Gee made a slight mistake after the main rocks, where he dabbed a foot, still 2nd at split 2, but his trademark power came into play as he pushed all the way to the finish, crossing the line 2.2 seconds up on Neko.

Sam Blenkinsop was up next but couldn’t get into contention;11th at split 1 he crossed the line in 5th, then Troy Brosnan also had a strong mid section and finish.10th at split 1 he crossed the line in 2nd, 0.566 behind Gee. Finally Josh Bryceland was on track. Tension was high as Bryceland went first at split 1; by split 2 he was ahead of Gee by more than a second - could he hold on? Josh looked threatening but in the last 200m he landed flat off a jump, coming down heavily enough to break his foot. He still managed to cross the line in 2nd place, but the World title belonged to Gee.
"My run was messy," said Gee, “Hafjell is the kind of track where you are going to make mistakes; you have to expect things to change. Sitting there with riders like Sam Blenkinsop, Troy and Ratboy still to come down, I wasn’t at all sure that what I had done was good enough for the gold. I hope Josh is going to heal up soon!"
Martin Maes was the first of GT Factory Racing’s juniors to ride in the World Championship Finals. Martin pushed hard. After coming 4th in timed practise he had decided to run a lower pressure in his tyres for Finals, searching for that infinitesimal extra edge. The strategy didn’t work. Despite a strong top section (he was 6th at split 1), he punctured and came down in 59th position.
Taylor was 2nd from last to ride. He attacked the race like he needed to, pushing super hard out of the start house. He was 4th at split 1 but a crash before the main rock garden put an end to his World Championships.

Team Director Dan Brown said: “We’re proud of Tay going hard and all out; neither the team nor Taylor would have been happy with 4th today.”

In the Women’s race Rachel was last woman down. She had a tough run. Manon Carpenter had put in a good time but it was only just quicker than Rachel’s timed training run - definitely within the reigning Champion’s reach. Rachel rode solidly but it was far from her best. She was up at split 1, up by over a second at split 2; the crowd and the team held their breath but a mistake on the final rock section meant that her 1.2 second lead had disappeared by the time she reached the finish line and she crossed into 2nd - a cruel 0.088 seconds behind Manon.

Dan Brown said: “We’re all gutted for Rachel, who’s shown such determination this season to get back up there where she belongs. It would have been the fairy-tale ending and it’s what we all came for this weekend, but that’s racing. We’ll see you next year.”

Men’s Elite

1 Gee Atherton GB 3.23.769
2 Josh Brycelend GB 3.24.176 +).407
3 Troy Brosnan AUS 3.24.335 +0.566
4 Neko Mulally USA 3.25.979 +2.21
5 Brook MacDonald NZL 3.26.797 +3.028
Ran$ N% "#I #&'e 
Women’s Elite
1 Manon Carpenter GB 3:49.407
2 Rachel Atherton GB 3:49.495, +0.088
3 Tahnee Seagrave GB 3:52.870, +3.463
4 Tracey Hannah AUS 3: 55.862 +6.455
5 Jill Kintner USA 3: 56.879 +7.472

Junior Men
1 Loris Vergier FR 3:29.09
2 Laurie Greenaland GB 3:34.08 +4.99
3 Jacob Dickson IRL 3:36.384 + 7.294

40 Taylor Vernon GB
59 Martin Maes BELG

Thursday 4 September 2014

In the race pit at Meribel with Gee and Rachel Atherton

We spent some time in the GT Factory Racing pits with Gee and Rachel Atherton during the UCI Downhill Finals in Meribel last week. Find out how they prepare for a race and their Meribel highlights.Got a question for the team? Leave a comment below and we will ask them the next time we hang out. 

Wednesday 3 September 2014

5 Minutes with Claudine Aubrun from Rempart

We recently met up with Claudine Aubrun from heritage restoration and preservation organisation, Rempart, to gain insight into the progress of the many restoration projects which are currently underway across France and Europe. 

Which project are you currently working on?
C: “Rempart is working on several projects - about 130 restoration sites in France and 60 abroad. Let's take the example of Berzy-le-Sec castle in Picardy. The aim is to restore the site but also open it to the public; this is a huge project that requires many different skills including masonry, metalwork, carpentry and joinery. At Berzy, the volunteers are making stamped roof tiles, terracotta tiles and two-tone floor tiles. They are using a method used from the Middle-Ages, shaping the clay before baking it. When they are finished, the materials will be used to restore the South-East house and the Saint-Claude Chapel at the castle."

What is the process when restoring a heritage site?
C: “First, an archaeological survey of the site is carried out in order to study the area properly. We often conduct archaeological excavation and research in the archives. This study helps us to understand what happened and what was done on the site. Once the decision to begin the restoration has been made, there is the technical side. Generally speaking, on an abandoned site, a large clearing phase is necessary and various work is required, depending on the location. Once the clearing is finished, the restoration can start." 

How important is it that you have the right tools to get the work done?
C: “It is essential to have the right tools. For masonry work, tools do not need to be very sophisticated. However, when the work needs to be more accurate - stone-cutting for example - it is essential to have high-performance tools. The Silverline levels and hammers are popular amongst workers."

How many people work on this project?
C: “Berzy's building site is huge; 60 people from different nationalities and age groups work there. Some are students or graduates who are gaining work experience for their future careers." 
How long on average does a project take?
C: “It depends on the type of project; most of the time the work will go on for a dozen years before it's complete. Some can last for 20 to 25 years and even 30 years, as the work on Montaigut Castle in the Aveyron region proves.” 

What is your next project?
C: “There will be many projects in the 2015 programme. We will know more about them by November or December this year.”

To find out more about getting involved with Rempart, visit www.rempart.com