Monday, 24 August 2015

Another jewel in Rachel's Overall World Cup crown

Another jewel in Rachel's Overall World Cup crown 

Race Report: Val di Sole, Italy, 22-23 August 2015

Rachel took the win over the weekend at her beloved Val di Sole. She had already secured the Series Overall so this 6th win out of 7 (she was 2nd to Emmeline Ragot in World Cup Round 1 at Lourdes) was an added bonus. This was Rachel's 26th World Cup win, extending her claim to be the UK's most awarded mountain biker. 

Val di Sole is notoriously brutal; it's often hot, very dusty, plus it's long and physical. Friday's Qualifying Round was close with Rachel in 1st and Manon Carpenter just over two seconds back. Myriam Nicole was back on track after breaking her collarbone at Fort William BDS and staked her claim just 0.3 seconds behind Carpenter. 

By the time the women came on track for Finals there was deep dust, huge nets of exposed roots and a lot of holes. Fourth qualifier Tahnee Seagrave had a narrow escape with a big hole in the top section but held on to go into the hot seat by 2.5 seconds. Just three to go. 

Myriam Nicole, 3rd place qualifier, had clearly got her bike set-up dialled. She looked very stable, going up 1.6 seconds on Rachel's qualifying time at split 1. She was up a huge 9 seconds on Tahnee at split 2 and maintained that gap with a scorching lower section to take the hot seat by 9.1 seconds, over 3 seconds faster than Rachel's qualifying time of 4.14.283. Then Manon was on track. Manon was almost 5 seconds back at split 2 but carried good speed through the bottom section; it was not enough to catch Myriam and she went into 2nd place by 4.1 seconds. 

Rachel has talked about how exhausting she finds Val di Sole and had promised to go all out in the top section. She was true to her word, attacking straight out of the start gate and putting together a blistering run to take the win by 2.2 seconds, her 6th consecutive victory of the Series. 

Rachel said: "There were some very sketchy moments in there! I almost forgot about the racing trying not to crash! I really wanted the win here today but I knew that it wouldn't be easy. Manon and Pompon (Myriam) love these long tracks, and as the season goes on they are getting so fast - I'm scared for Andorra! So proud of the GB women for our top three in the Series."

The results for the Women's Series overall were a fantastic run for the UK with Rachel in 1st, Manon Carpenter in 2nd and Tahnee Seagrave in 3rd. Cause for a huge celebration!

In the Men's race Troy Brosnan, Aaron Gwin and Loic Bruni had qualified within 1.3 seconds of each other and three seconds clear of the rest of the field. Greg Minaar was in 4th and Gee in 5th +4.6 seconds back. Taylor qualified 30th. In the Series Overall it would be between Gwin and Minaar.

The top men were all absolutely flat out, especially through the steep lower sections of Val di Sole. Taylor battled some serious arm pump to finish 41st today, enough for 47th in this year's Overall rankings, his first year in the Elites!

When Gee came on course, Brook Macdonald was in the hot seat with 3.35.215. 

Gee had won here at the 2008 World Championships and had "done the World Cup double" with Rachel in 2013. He came out of the start gate 100% committed and rode a fantastic top section, looking really smooth. Gee went around the braking bumps and great line choice put him up 0.5 seconds at split 1. He continued to ride very smoothly taking the most direct routes down the hill to go just over 0.5 up at split 2. He hit a few little holes on the last left-hander to cross the line 1.2 seconds back on Brook whose lower section looked very fast indeed. 

Then Greg Minaar was on track; a spill at the Wall ended his chances of the overall win and he crossed the line in 51st. Loic Bruni went fastest at split 1 by 1.5 seconds, up by nearly 2 seconds at split 2; he crossed the line still fastest to take the hot seat. Aaron Gwin was last but one to go. With the pressure off, Gwin rode a brilliant race to go up at split 1 and take the lead by 1.589. Last man down Troy Brosnan was up at split 2 and the crowd went wild but a few small mistakes lost him time and he slotted into third. Gwin took the win and the Series. 

Gee's 6th place today was enough for 6th place in the Series Overall. This is the first time he has been out of the top 5 since 2005.

Gee said: "I'm disappointed. The crash that I took in qualifying at Round 1 at Lourdes and the ride down after that in the Finals with my wrist strapped to the bars [miraculously he somehow finished 48th] left me chasing from behind for the entire series. Congratulations to Gwin, he rode a great race and an awesome season."

In the Team Overall Standings, GT Factory Racing narrowly missed out on the Overall title to Specialized Racing. 

Team Director Dan Brown said: "All of us are gutted to miss the Team Overall by such a small margin. The team put in a mammoth effort all season and it's a shame to come so close, especially with us being in the lead as we came into this round. Next year it will be a different story."

Results

Women's Elite

1. Rachel Atherton 4.08.636
2. Myriam Nicole 4.10.875 + 2.239
3. Manon Carpenter 4.15.080 + 6.444

Women's Series Overall 

1. Rachel Atherton 
2. Manon Carpenter
3. Tahnee Seagrave 

Men's Elite 

1. Aaron Gwin 3.31.922
2. Loic Bruni 3.33.511 + 1.589
3. Troy Brosnan 3.33.776 + 1.854
4. Brook Macdonald 3.35.215 + 3.293
5. Josh Bryceland 3.36.327 + 4.405
6. Gee Atherton 3.36.437 + 4.515
41. Taylor Vernon 3.45.260 + 13.338

Men's Overall

1. Aaron Gwin 
2. Loic Bruni 
3. Troy Brosnan
4. Greg Minaar
5. Josh Bryceland
6. Gee Atherton 
47. Taylor Vernon 

Photos: Sven Martin

Monday, 17 August 2015

#TweetForTools T's & C's

Tweet for Tools T's & C's

1. Entries must be made via Twitter by following @silverlinetools and retweeting relevant #TweetForTools graphic.

2. The competition will be run until @silverlinetools reach 15,000 followers on Twitter.

3. The winner will be chosen at random and notified within 7 days of the competition closing.

4. The prize is £500 (RRP) worth of Silverline tools. The winner will select tools of their choice to the value of £500.

5. Prizes are non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered.

6. The promoter, Powerbox Limited reserves the right to publish the name of the winner. The winner is required to give their full co-operation to all requests by the promoter. 

7. The promoter, Powerbox Limited is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected to this competition.

8. The winners agree to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current (UK) Data Protection Legislation and will not be disclosed to any third party without the entrant's prior consent.

9. If the winner is unable to take up the prize for any reason, or if Powerbox Limited has not been able, after making reasonable efforts, to contact the winner, Powerbox Limited reserve the right to award the prize (without notice to the first winner chosen) to an alternative winner. In this case the first winner will not be eligible for any share of the prize. Powerbox Limited shall not have any liability in such eventuality. 

10. The competition is open to all residents of the UK and N.I.

11. By entering this competition, the entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

12. Entrants must be made in accordance with the competition instructions. They are invalid if received any later than the specified closing time. 

13. Employees and family and friends of Powerbox Limited or any third party involved are not permitted to enter the competition.



Silverline visit Rempart in France

Silverline headed to France recently, to meet up with heritage organisation Rempart and to take a look at some of their amazing restoration work.

Silverline has worked with Rempart since 2013 providing tool support. The tools we donate are used by volunteers when working on the restoration of historic buildings and sites around France. 

On the first day we visited two sites in South West France. The first was Chateau de Roquetaillade, a 14th century castle located in the Mazeres area near Bordeaux. The property has belonged to the same family for over 700 years! We met owner S├ębastien and the small Rempart group who had been working on the castle for two weeks, using traditional mason techniques to restore part of the original dungeon, part of which required working high up on scaffolding. We ventured up to take a look and it was well worth the risk - the view from the top of the tower was amazing!

Next we headed to Chateau de Cazeneuve, which was just a short drive away. This 14th century chateau is located next to the river Ciron, and was home to Queen Margret of France (amongst others). As we waited for the restoration team to return from lunch we were taken on a short tour to 'The Queens Cave' - an isolated scenic area along the river bank where it is rumoured the Queen held 'licentious' parties. There was no partying for us however, as we made our way back to the work site to meet the team, which comprised an upbeat mix of ages and nationalities. We spent the rest of the afternoon meeting and interviewing the volunteers as they worked to restore and original part of the perimeter wall.

Our final day started at Chateau de Villandraut, just a few minutes' walk from the hotel. The village of Villandraut is the birthplace of Bertrand de Goth, who became Pope Clement V in 1305. This castle was one of his many residencies and was built to signify wealth and power. The volunteers here were restoring one of the main arches supporting the castle gallery. Groups of volunteers have also excavated the moat and have found some interesting artefacts, including coins and cannon balls. 

Our final site visit was possibly the most scenic. Chateau de Budos is surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards. This ruined castle belonged to Raymond Guilhem de Budos, nephew of Pope Clement V, and was built with similar architectural layout of the neighbouring castle in Villandraut. The team here included volunteers from France, Ghana  and Wales. The restoration of the main tower was the focus point of the work and the teams were camped outdoors within the grounds of the castle.

After two days, four amazing sites and many rounds of coffee and croissants, it was back to the office for some editing and good cup of English tea.

Check out the video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFTwZebKvoo

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Fast Closing - An update from Rio

Fast Closing - Silverline 49ers

With less than a year until the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, it's another reminder that time is ticking away. Sometimes it feels like as you get closer, time just speeds up and you have less and less time to get everything done. At the same time it just makes you really start to feel the buzz around the games and being in Rio with a year to go was just brilliant! Although we just missed out on the selection for the test event, we did make it out to Rio for a couple of weeks' training and another regatta. 


We went to Rio with the rest of the team and got straight stuck into racing. The plan was to maximise time spent racing, learning as much as we could about the different race tracks. With this in mind we spent extra time in the UK preparing the boat with all our Silverline tools and this paid off. We did not have to spend any time working on the boat over the two-week period and TweedleDum was running beautifully. 

Unfortunately, due to not being selected for the test event, this meant that we did not have our coach there to work with us. Although this gave us a great opportunity to self-coach and deal with the 'what if' strategy - when for some unexpected reason such as illness your coach cannot be on the water with you. With that in mind, we chose to make the regatta our focus with the goal of getting on the podium once again.

Along with the four-day regatta we were getting stuck in with plenty of coach run racing. We had some awesome days sailing inside and outside the bay during this time, topped off by winning all three races on our final day's training with most of the test event fleet racing. 

Sat on the plane as I write this, it is a bittersweet feeling. We feel like we are in such a good place to go ahead and race at the test event to further add to our tally of five regattas in Rio with four medals. But due to us missing out on qualifying, we are heading home after racing well, going fast and with the best British track record in Rio. Alas, this is the way the system works and we need to do our best to ensure that next summer we are in Rio competing in Team GB for that gold medal we so desperately desire. 

For now we have some downtime before we head back out to Rio in three weeks to get some more training time while the conditions are similar to Games time.

Dylan & Alan


Monday, 10 August 2015

Rachel Atherton takes the Series Overall

Rachel takes the win by over nine seconds! Her 5th Consecutive World Cup makes certain of the World Cup Overall title after just six rounds.

Gee rode it right on the edge, 100% committed but a few mistakes cost him time - 4th place for some valuable series points. GT Factory Racing's first-year Elite rider Taylor Vernon finished in 60th.

It was a hot, dusty weekend and the racing was equally hot. The Windham track, in New York, USA is short but intense. It's packed with technical sections, jumps and high speed sections making it one of the most challenging tracks on the circuit - the GT Factory Racing riders love it!

Rachel had qualified in first place (3.05.132) by 2.39 seconds from French rider Myriam Nicole. UK's Tahnee Seagrave was in 3rd and Manon Carpenter 4th, 10 seconds behind Rachel. Come Finals Manon put in a solid run of 3.10.082 but was still five seconds behind Rachel's quali time. Would it hold? Tahnee rode well but slotted into second place then Myriam Nicole had a crash, losing time and slotting into an eventual 5th. Only Rachel was left on track and she blazed down the trail, beating her own qualification time by over five seconds, putting over nine seconds into Carpenter and rest of the field and clinching the Overall title in decisive fashion!

Rachel's weekend was made extra special by the entry of one of her childhood idols in the race. Missy Giove raced this weekend for the first time in years in honour of her wife, Kristin. Rachel said: "I was so starstruck, watching my Go Pro's with Missy was surreal! It's been such an awesome weekend, such a fun race and I'm so, so stoked with today's win and the Overall. Thanks to the WILD crowd!"

In the Men’s race Taylor had qualified in 46th. He couldn’t quite match that in Finals finishing 60th overall. When Gee came on track 32nd qualifier Loris Vergier had been in the in the hot seat through 27 riders. Gee was pinned through the roughest sections but a couple of small mistakes cost him valuable seconds, he slotted into 2nd place behind Loris but next run Greg Minaar put time into them both. 

Second qualifier Loic Bruni was up at split one and the crowd were on the edge of their seats but he punctured, taking him out of contention. Only Aaron Gwin was left on course. Gwin put in a super- human effort, sometimes looking on the very edge of control. He came down 3.5 seconds faster than anyone on the field to take his 13th World Cup win.

Gee said: “Congratulations to the sis today. Way to go Rach. Happy enough with 4th, a few little mistakes cost me but it’s been an awesome weekend’s racing.”

The team also took the team of the day award placing them in the lead of that competition with one round to go.

Results

Women’s Elite
1 Rachel Atherton 3.00.72
2 Manon Carpenter 3.10.082 + 9.36
3 Tahnee Seagrave 3.12.854 + 12.132
4 Tracey Hannah 3.13 .669 +12.947
5 Myriam Nicole 3.15.330 + 14.608

Men’s Elite
1 Aaron Gwin 2.38.108
2 Greg Minaar 2.41.613 +3.05
3 Loris Vergier 2.42.398 + 4.29
4 Gee Atherton 2.42.601 + 4.493
5 Stevie Smith 2.42.688 +4.58
60 Taylor Vernon 2.52.993 + 14.885

All photos: Sven Martin

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Red Bull Hardline is back

Tickets now available for one of the World's toughest downhill mountain bike races.

Red Bull Hardline with Jeep, returns to the hills of Mid-Wales this summer and this time it's not shrouded in secrecy - you can now grab your chance to be there! 20 of the World's finest downhill mountain bikers will once again be invited to ride Dan Atherton's construction that promises to be bigger, more technical and all i all gnarlier than the 2014 edition.

Last year's racetrack was one of the most demanding ever seen, pushing the World's best to their limits.  Huge rock gardens, giant slab rolls, tight wood sections, technical natural features and the now infamous road gap created a track to push downhill racing up a level and this year promises to raise the bar once again.

Speaking of the return of Red Bull Hardline, Dan Atherton said: "The plan has always been to bring the race back bigger than before and make it more of an event for fans to be part of, this year's edition looks set to do this."

Tickets can now be purchased from redbull.com/hardline for the event, which will take place over the weekend of the 12th and 13th September.

Join the conversation @RedBullUK #Hardline


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Unstoppable Rachel Atherton takes fourth consecutive World Cup win

Race Report: UCI MTB World Cup, Round 5, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada

The unstoppable Rachel Atherton took her fourth consecutive World Cup win at Mont-Sainte-Anne this weekend, continuing to demonstrate "the form of her life" and extending her lead in the Series overall.


Rachel currently holds 1160 points, 375 points clear of second-ranked Emmeline Ragot (whose season looks likely to be curtailed by elbow and ankle injuries sustained in practice) and 446 points clear of third-placed Manon Carpenter.

At today's dramatic Finals race, Myriam Nicole was in the hot seat with 5.07.29, when third-placed qualifier Manon Carpenter came on course and the rain began to fall. The light drizzle was enough to make the rock garden even more treacherous; a mistake cost Manon time, she was down at the first split, but by split two she was faster by 0.7 seconds. Tension mounted as Manon decided not to take the jump in the bottom section (saying later it was just too rutted) but she nevertheless managed to go into the lead by 0.2 seconds. 

Emmeline Ragot had looked super-fast in practice, qualifying second to Rachel but her practice crash forced her to withdraw from the Finals and most likely the rest of the season. 

So Rachel was next on course. By now the rain had started to fall in earnest but Rachel said: "I just put the tear-offs on my goggles and tried to ride it like it was dry!” She put in another brilliant run, straight-lining the berm after the big rock drop in a daring move that paid dividends for her - up by over two seconds at the first split. She dabbed a foot in the ultra-slippery woods but was still up 1.8 seconds at the second split, powering down the course to cross the line 3.417 ahead of Carpenter for her 24th World Cup win at the 25th Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup race!

Rachel said: "I'd done the inside line in practice just the once, and i'd seen the boys do it so I just went for it. Mont-Sainte-Anne is a course that has kicked my arse before so I'm extra stoked to take the win here today. That was slippery!"

In the Men's, torrential rain had disrupted the Qualification race so plenty of big names were well down the order.

The weather continued to cause chaos for Finals with on-off cloud-bursts sweeping the mountain. Taylor had qualified 29th and was unlucky to come on track at the height of the downpour. Taylor said: "It was an ice rink." He ended up off-track losing a lot of time and finished in a disappointing 54th. Aaron Gwin had a DNF in qualis but his protected status meant that he got to race today. He smashed Eddie Masters' time by 4.9 seconds to take the hot seat with about 20 riders still on course.

Gee had qualified 18th after a crash. He lost some time in the top-section when he put his foot out in a turn, 2.7 seconds back at split one and generally looking more messy than we would expect from him. He pulled things back, looking a lot smoother in the mid and bottom sections, crossing the line 2.7  seconds behind Gwin to go into second place. There were still 17 riders left on the mountain and Gee's time would only be fast enough for an eventual 12th place.

Gee said: "Not the result I was after today, but at least I stayed on the bike - not something I can always say at this track!"

16th qualifier Loic Bruni did his bit for the "ride it without a chain" brigade when he smashed into a rock on a big right-hander and lost his chain. He kept it smooth and tucked, crossing into the hot seat and holding it until fourth-place qualifier's Josh Bryceland's run - enough for an eventual second with Josh taking the win by just 0.2.





Results

Women’s Elite

1 Rachel Atherton 5.03.674
2 Manon Carpenter 5.07.091 + 3.417
3 Myriam Nicole 5.07.291 +3.617
4 Tahnee Seagrave 5.08.294 +4.620
5 Miranda Miller 5.15.437 +11.763

Men’s Elite 

1 Josh Bryceland 4.22.156
2 Loic Bruni 4.22.356 +0.20
3 Troy Brosnan 4.22.381 +0.225
4 Greg Minaar 4.24.711 + 2.555
5 Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas +2.845
12 Gee Atherton 4.29.82 +7.664
54 Taylor Vernon 4.44.113 +21.957

Photos: Sven Martin