Thursday 27 November 2014

The 2014 Silverline Corporate Challenge featuring Jaguar Land Rover, Mira and Renishaw

Silverline Corporate Challenge at the Greenpower International Finals 2014 

We spent some time with Silverline Corporate Challenge teams Renishaw and Mira at their Headquarters in the run up to the 2014 Greenpower National Finals at Goodwood back in October. We also had a chat with Jaguar Land Rover and found out why they decided to enter the Silverline Corporate Challenge before the race began at Goodwood. 

It was awesome to spend time with the teams in the run up to the Finals, finding out how they build and prepare their cars for the big day. The commitment and hard work demonstrated by the teams is something they should be proud of and they really inspired us to have our own car racing next year (watch this space).   

Check out our highlights video and let us know your thoughts in the comment box below! 

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Wednesday 26 November 2014

Dan Atherton builds first ever Red Bull Hardline


Nine of the world’s greatest bike handlers come to race the most-challenging timed downhill race the world has ever seen

In the glorious sunshine of early September, nine of the world’s greatest bike-handlers travelled to the stunning Dyfi valley in Mid-Wales to ride and race on one of the most difficult mountain bike tracks ever created, Red Bull Hardline.

The track, designed and built by Dan Atherton, was created to smash the limits of Downhill Mountain Bike riding and push the sport to the next level.

The 570m descent incorporated more features per metre than ever before. The track was so intense that nine of the most accomplished riders in the world spent two days riding together learning to tackle each section before anybody put together a full run. 

There was no red tape and no limits on discipline: Dan and Gee Atherton, Danny Hart, Sam Dale, Loic Bruni, Brendan Fairclough, Nico Vink, Joe Smith, Mike Jones and Gareth Brewin spent three days mastering the track that all agreed was “totally intimidating and totally exhilarating”.
One of the course’s most spectacular features was a 60ft road gap but it also included massive dirt jumps, awkward hips, rock gardens and tight, technically difficult wooded sections.
Dan and Gee have long dreamt of creating a race with absolutely no restrictions or red-tape. Gee said “A lot of us feel that we can ride most World Cups these days with one eye shut; you don’t even feel anxious for the first run, we’ll just ride down blind, first go. Riding the Red Bull Hardline course made all of us nervous again, it was definitely not a track that you could just jump on and blaze down. It was a combination of how hard the sections were and how many sections were crammed in there back to back that made it so gnarly. This track is amazing, it definitely brought out the best in all the riders and pushed us more than we're used to. It’s great to be able to showcase exactly what we could do.”

After a day and a half practice (which saw Mike Jones having to withdraw after injuring his hand) qualification was structured so that riders could put in a several runs and take their best time. Dan said “We wanted it to feel as relaxed as possible – the only pressure on the riders came from within.”
In Qualifying Run 1 only Danny Hart was close to race speed; he pulled off a 4-minute run while Brendan, Gee and Dan were at 7 minutes plus and the rest of the field didn’t finish a full run. By Run 2, Gee posted 3.45 with Dan 3 seconds behind him and Danny a close third.
Qualifying Run 3 saw the fastest time of the day from Gee at 3:40 with Danny at 3.45, and Brendan and Dan on 3.48. Danny, Loic, Joe, Brendan and Gareth Brewin went for one more run, but nobody could touch Gee’s 3.40.
Sam Dale had a tough couple of days with plenty of offs in practice.  In his qualifying run, he took “one of the gnarliest crashes of the year” and had to watch the Finals from the sidelines.
When it came to Finals, the atmosphere changed up a gear. Gee had qualified first so he was last on the hill for the big race. Danny was in 2nd, Loic was in 3rd, Brendan was in 4th and Dan in 5th.

Dan put in a tremendous run of 3:41.491 to take the hot seat and neither Loic or Brendan could match him but second-placed qualifier Danny Hart went ahead of Dan by 2.4 seconds. Gee Atherton was last man left on the hill and expectations were sky high for an awesome Finals run.  Gee came out fast; he showed incredible speed to go up on Danny Hart by two whole seconds at the first split but he punctured in the middle section and failed to finish the race.

Speaking after his victory, Danny Hart said: “I was really happy to be a part of this awesome event. Only a few selected riders were invited and I was ecstatic to be one of those! The course was incredible, scary and difficult; usually tracks of this kind have average sections linking up the jumps, but Dan did an amazing job of making the sections link together seamlessly and scaring the living daylights out of us!”

Dan Atherton said: “This is something that me and Gee have dreamt about for years as the tracks we built became progressively tougher. It was only brought to reality through the vision and support of Red Bull and the work ethic of main builder Olly Davey who was up on that mountain at all hours and in all weathers. To see it all come together on the day was an incredible feeling and it felt like a big step forward for mountain biking. I can't wait for next year as we push on with our quest for the ultimate ride!"

1st Danny  Hart         3:39.081
2nd Dan Atherton      3:41.491  +2.410
3rd Loic Bruni            3:47.432  +8.351
4th Joe Smith            3:47.479 +8.398
5th Gareth Brewin     4:03.870 +24.78

Photo credits: Sam Needham/Duncan Philpott/Red Bull Content Pool

Monday 17 November 2014

49ers Rio Roundup

The final week of our Rio trip comprised a couple of days of exploration and another four days of racing in the ‘Intergalactic 49ers’ - a fun regatta organised by a local sailor with the hope of bringing good foreign teams down to train and race against. In its second and final year, and in keeping with tradition, there were social activities every evening, usually involving a few caipirinhas!

We took two days off after the South Americans due to Dave’s reoccurring back injury, which unfortunately inhibited him a little for the remainder of our trip. Nevertheless, the racing was again tight and a great opportunity to work on some issues without really worrying about the result.

Once again the wind was solid for the whole four days and we struggled to find our usual speed on the borrowed kit. We had a couple of crashes/incidents that cost us in a few races, but we finished strongly and took some great venue knowledge away from the racing.

The final race of the Intergalactics is traditionally a double points ‘crew race’ to keep the fun and add some serious entertainment for the coaches. With the wind building to very gusty 15+ knots and the 25 boats careering around the start line, everyone was buzzing but secretly quite nervous! The race was one lap and then into the harbour to finish. This involved a long upwind through what the locals call the ‘The Strip’ due to huge, unpredictable gusts of wind that blow over the towering sugar loaf mountain and drop out of the sky, exploding so unpredictably that it’s super easy to capsize or crash into the moored boats if you don’t have your wits about you.

We had a great start and were in the top two, but got a bit caught up trying to go fast and all the boats that got to the hard right made a big gain. After a sketchy bear away we had a solid downwind and made it through ‘The Strip’ relatively unscathed! We didn’t win, but it was a great way to finish the trip and there was plenty of banter flying around back on shore.

All in all, the trip was a big success, with an improvement on our World Ranking and a lot of time spent in Olympic waters. Using totally unfamiliar equipment should also stand us in good stead for the World Cup finals in Abu Dhabi, which takes place on supplied boats and masts.

We now have a week at home to catch up and repack before heading out to the Middle East on 22nd November, with the regatta starting on the 26th.

We would like to say a huge thanks to Thomas Lowbeer and his Mum, Alexandra, for hosting us during our stay, and we can’t wait for our next trip to South America!

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