Wednesday 30 September 2015

Red Bull Foxhunt with Rachel Atherton

Race Report: The Second Red Bull Foxhunt

Pentland Hills, Edinburgh, 26-27 September 2015

Bex Baraona, a 22 year old Enduro racer from Manchester, took the win this weekend at an event full of sunshine, big smiles and supportive riding from nearly 150 women. 

Rachel Atherton headed up the event which had more of a festival vibe than a race, with food and live music in the Red Bull tipis, and yoga sessions to stretch out tired limbs. 

The event entries had sold out within hours as mothers raced to support daughters, cycle groups flocked en masse and seasoned racers mixed it up with a lot of first-timers! The Scottish weather was very kind and stayed dry the entire weekend with glorious sunshine for Sunday's Finals! 

The course was a little more technical than last year with the start on an adjacent peak, plus rocks, heather and fast pedal sections, some jumps and a dual slalom section. There were lots of B-line options so that less-experienced riders wouldn't suffer!

A seeding run on Saturday sorted out rider position on the mass-start grid and Rachel was delighted to see three of the junior girls from the British Downhill Series category that she sponsors and mentors make the top 20 for places on the 2nd row of the grid.

Rachel - playing "the fox" - set off about 100m back from the pack, after a small gap to allow for the thrills and spills of a steep climb immediately after the start. 

The air positively rang with whoops and shouts as Rach bore down on the pack. She passed over 80 riders as 35 managed to elude her for the entire course. 

Rachel said: "I deliberately hung back a bit at the start because i wanted to be right in the mix for this run. It is absolutely awesome that all the riders have come out here to have a go this weekend. The level of riding at the front of the pack is really high but I'm just as stoked with those guys at the back who aren't that experienced but came out and had a great time! Big shout out to team physio Laura for 48th place!"


1 Bex Baraona 3. 53 
2 Cheri Mills 4.07
3 Fiona Beattie 4.08
35 Rachel Atherton
48 Laura Robson 

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Martin takes his first Open Men's podium in Ainsa

Race Report: EWS Round 7, Zona Zero, Spain, 26-27 September 2015

There was thunder, lightning and floods in Ainsa this weekend heralding young Martin Maes' first Open Men's podium. Martin took 3rd place in his second season of racing the GC - even though he still qualifies to ride as a Junior until the end of this season. 

The race kicked off with a Prologue around the beautiful town of Ainsa. Because the points didn't count towards the race it wasn't too serious an affair, with some of the riders in fancy dress and our own Mark Maurissen setting up his own special version of a feed station - with tequila shots!

We're pleased to report that Martin took the prologue 2nd, and refused Mark's offer of a drink!

Saturday dawned fine for the serious business of the race and Martin was in good spirits as he headed up to the first liaison, prior to Stage 1, the obstacle-strewn Penas Cinglas. Martin rode smoothly to take sixth on the stage with Richie Rude taking the stage win, just four seconds ahead of Maes. 

Rude also took Stage 2, a really long stage (3.52km) with a brutal climb right at the end of the stage. Martin was pleased with his stamina on this stage, taking 3rd on the stage moving into 3rd place overall. 

A long liaison to Stage 3 posed little problems but a huge storm broke as riders made their way to Stage 3. The riders had practiced all week in glorious sunshine with bone dry, dusty and loose tracks. The surface of Stage 3 is full of loose stones and slick with loads of fossils. Martin said that with the rain he found it very difficult to judge the grip he could rely on for this stage. The thunder and lightning knocked out the live timing but once it was re-established it emerged that Richie Rude took this stage again with Martin dropping back to 6th place overall, 21st for the stage. 

Stage 4 was similarly slick. Martin regained confidence and said that he felt fast on the stage but was disappointed to finish 11th. Richie Rude took his 4th stage win.

If Day 1 was dramatic, Day 2 got really exciting!

Stage 5 was the shortest stage of the entire EWS and Martin felt entirely at home. He was totally pinned, taking an amazing two seconds out of the field over a one minute 23 second stage!

Stage 6 was super physical and technical with some fast pedalling sections. Martin said: "Stage 6 confirmed that I was having a great day! I always felt at the limits of myself and that I was riding exactly as I was capable of. I'm so happy to finally put it all together on a physical and technical stage." Nico Lau took the stage win with Richie Rude in 2nd and Martin was just 0.3 seconds back in 3rd. 

Stage 7 was "unreal". Martin said: "The last part of this stage was incredible fun. Once again i pinned it as hard as i could and ended up only one second back. I found a lot of flow and took 2.5 seconds on Vouilloz so i was very pleased."

Stage 8 was cancelled when a torrential rainstorm turned dry river beds into raging torrents in what organisers called "the most extreme weather the Series had ever faced". So results included stages 1-7 and Martin was 3rd, just 0.1 of a second behind Yoann Barelli, who took 2nd place. An awesome result for a rider who is just 18 years old. 

Martin said: "The level of the race was so tight, and i think everyone had so much fun. The riding was awesome and the whole atmosphere with so many spectators was buzzing."

Team Director Dan Brown said: "We are all stoked for Martin - we've expected this podium for him for a long time now, he's been riding out of his skin this week. Nice job Maes-dog!"


Stage 1 
1. Richie Rude 4.36.693
2. Nico Vouilloz 4.41.285
3. Fabien Bare 4.42.148
6. Martin Maes 4.43.931

Stage 2
1. Richie Rude 7.43.476
2. Yoann Barelli 7.48.008
3. Martin Maes 7.50.618

Stage 3
1. Richie Rude 4.03.385
2. Fracois Bailly-Maitre 4.03.851
3. Jared Graves 4.04.746
21. Martin Maes 4.10.07

Stage 4
1. Richie Rude
2. Nico Vouilloz 4.26.113
3. Yoann Barelli 4.26.194
11. Martin Maes 4.32.337

Stage 5
1. Martin Maes 1.23.190
2. Yoann Barelli 1.25.0409
3. Nico Vouilloz 1.26.036

Stage 6
1. Nico Lau 3.48.001
2. Richie Rude 3.49.131
3. Martin Maes 3.49.435

Stage 7
1. Jared Graves 4.21.288
2. Martin Maes 4.22.940
3. Nico Lau 4.23.046

1. Richie Rude 30.32.217
2. Yoann Barelli 30.52.444
3. Martin Maes 30.52.522

Tuesday 15 September 2015

All the action from Red Bull Hardline

Ruaridh Cunningham takes the win and pays tribute to Gee Atherton 

Race Report: Red Bull Hardline, 12-13 September 2015, Dinas Mawddwy, Wales

Winning rider of Red Bull Hardline Ruaridh Cunningham paid tribute to Gee Atherton: "Gee was a man amongst boys this week. If he hadn't coaxed us through the jumps, I don't think we'd have made half of the course."

The second Red Bull Hardline was bigger, gnarlier and muddier than last year's test event. Once again the riders discovered a great camaraderie as they sectioned the track. Everyone was missing the course creator and inspiration, Dan Atherton, who was out injured in a crash during testing but Gee took the lead to master the track and raise confidence for all the riders. Even Dan's absence and a wet and windy morning couldn't dampen the excitement as they took to the course for their Saturday qualifying session. 

Qualifying was open with riders free to put in up to three runs and take their best times. The course was tacky with riders and bikes picking up a lot of mud. High winds up top meant that the riders started their runs from Dirty Ferns, just over halfway down the course. 

Gareth Brewin, a co-creator of the course, Taylor Vernon and Canadian Mark Wallace all took knocks in the practice that ruled them out of any further racing. 

Gee took the lead in run 1 with a time of 1.33.490, shaving hundredths of seconds off on run 2 to take the qualifying lead with 1.33.242. Veteran of last year's event Joe Smith took the second and Hardline newcomer Bernard Kerr took the third. 

Qualifying Results

1. Gee Atherton 1.33.242
2. Joe Smith 1.37.065
3. Bernard Kerr 1.38.501 

Sunday morning practice was dry, though Dan and Olly's dig crew were kept busy on last-minute repairs, clearing mud debris and smoothing out ruts that had formed on the approach to the jumps. 

Gee was first to send the Dirty Ferns jump and he led the pack down the mountain, all in one piece. Ruaridh Cunningham and Reese Wilson chose to put om a second practice run while the rest of the riders chilled and tried to converse their physical and mental energy for the Finals run. 

Lluis Lacondeguy and Kye Forte decided not to race after a series of crashes in practice. Kye had been suffering a concussion and Lluis said he felt sketchy and just wasn't enjoying riding in the wet.

As Gee left for his Finals run, Ruaridh popped his head into the GT Factory Racing pits to report that ground in the open was drying out to a pretty good condition. 

The vibe in the maximum capacity crowd switched up to full-scale nervous anticipation and the race was ON. 

First down was Al Bond, riding Dan Atherton's bike! Al was 1.05.43 at split 1 but he cased the big hip, went down, got up but punctured above the road gap and finished the run on his rim. 

Adam Brayton was slower than Bond at split 1, but he made time to go two seconds faster by split 2 and crossed the line in 4.11.0 to go into the hot seat! Adam said: "The crowds are awesome up there!"

Craig Evans, Adam's Hope Factory Racing team-mate was down about five seconds at split 1, 18 seconds back by split 3 but still looked as if he was having fun, finishing his run with a huge whip.

Reece Wilson is only in his third season of racing Downhill. He looked fast at split 1 but went down on the hip, to be down 11.7 seconds at split 3. He hit the cannon jump for the first time in his Finals run, styling it up over the Final fly off to cross into second.

Reece said: "I was actually enjoying it - a shame to crash but I'll be back again I'm sure."

Ruaridh Cunningham started his run fast, going five seconds up at split 1 and an unbelievable 17.8 seconds up at split 2. He was 28 km/h through the speed trap (actually the slowest rider) but he still went more than 30 seconds up at split 3, crossing the line 17.2 seconds ahead of Adam Brayton to take the hot seat. 

Third-fastest qualifier Bernard Kerr was six seconds down by split 2, crossing into second place, seven seconds back from Ruaridh. 

Second-place qualifier Joe Smith had the race's fastest speed through the trap (34 km/h) but he was two seconds back at split 2, 5.7 back at split 3 making up three seconds at the bottom of the course to go into second place with 3.57.402.

Then fastest qualifier Gee was on course. Last year Gee had qualified first but punctured on his Finals run so the GT Factory Racing team was holding its breath, knowing how important this run would be to him and how disappointed he had been not to show what he could do on this course. Alarm bells were raised when Gee was 5.9 seconds back at split 1. He had been so in control all week that it seemed an unlikely time without a mechanical. It soon became clear that history had repeated itself - Gee had punctured. His tyre came off the rim and he had to limp down to a hero's welcome.

Ruaridh said: "That was my first full run all week - my heart rate is about 240! Gee was so unlucky, I'm gutted for him. Without Gee showing us all the way this week, we wouldn't have done it. He was a man amongst boys - thanks man."

Finals Results

1. Ruaridh Cunningham 3.53.785
2. Joe Smith 3.57.402
3. Bernard Kerr 4.01.035

 All photos: Sven Martin

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Rachel Atherton reclaims her rainbow stripes

Martin takes second in the Junior's but 2014 World Champion Gee crashes out

Race report: UCI World Championships, Vallnord 2015 

There were mixed emotions in the GT Factory Racing camp at the weekend. Massive celebrations for Rachel Atherton's recapture of her World Championship (amazingly it's her 3rd senior title and fourth overall - she won as a Junior in 2005). There was great excitement at Martin's 2nd place tinged with a touch of "what might have been" and of course crushing disappointment for Gee who went down hard after a pedal clip on a seemingly innocuous part of the course. 

Sunday dawned bright and sunny, the track had been a brutal and treacherous beast as it changed character every run, it was drying out fast but there were plenty of slick patches to catch riders unaware as well as dried-in ruts and loads of holes. 

First up was GT Factory Racing's young Belgian Enduro rider Martin Maes, who has already demonstrated his downhill prowess with a win at World Cup Round 2 Fort William. Martin had seeded 3rd on Friday. He kept his cool under the enormous pressure of Finals to put in a great run for 2nd place.

Martin said: "I'm stoked, I love to ride downhill with such brilliant team mates and the atmosphere here is so awesome - for me it's unreal. It's always a little difficult to come second but i'm still very happy! Thanks to GT and all of the team."

In the Women's race, Myriam Nicole, riding for local team Commencal/Riding Addiction was considered by many to be the biggest threat to Rachel for the title. Indeed it looked as though that might be the case when she went up by a huge 7 seconds at the first split, but a problem off camera left her with a twisted seat and put paid to her hopes of winning the title. 

Tracey Hannah put in a very proficient run to take the hot seat and there were just three women left on the hill - all from Great Britain. First down was Tahnee Seagrave who risked it all on a fast run but came unstuck on a rut in the woods, she ended up off track with her front wheel over the top of a berm, crossing the line into 3rd.

Reigning Champion Manon Carpenter also came out of the gate red-hot, she was up by 4 seconds at split 1 and had extended that to 4.5 seconds by split 2. A slippery root looked dangerous for her lower down but she recovered, finally going into the lead by almost 7 seconds.

And then it was all down to Rachel. A massive lead of 19 seconds in timed training had done little to calm Rachel's nerves. She looked careful and in control all the way down, totally mastering the course, but her speed was deceptively fast. She was up by 3.5 seconds at split 1 and nearly 5 at split 2. As she had prophesied she lost time to Manon at the bottom of the course but her technical prowess had ensured she had plenty of time to do so. She kept the jumps squashed and low to maintain speed in a demonstration ride to cross the line a convincing 3.2 seconds clear of the field and to take her 4th World Championships and he second "World Cup Overall,World Champs season double".

Rachel said: "Wow I can't believe it! I'm totally stoked. I knew it would be hard, you have to hang on so tight! I so wanted this title back, being beaten by Manon last year really kicked my ass, I'm so happy. Having a Brit 1, 2 is awesome!"

In the Men's race, Mike Jones took the hot seat by 2.64 seconds and for some time it looked like nobody would match his bottom section, Brook Macdonald was up at the 2nd split but crashed, Danny Hart was up at both splits but lost a lot of time at the bottom to cross in 2nd, then Marcelo Gutierrez bettered Danny to take 2nd (enough for an eventual 5th place on the podium). Greg Minaar attacked hard to smash Jones' time by more than 4 seconds with 5 riders left on the course including Gee. Gee has always said there is no point in taking it carefully at the Worlds. He was 3rd at the first split (down by 1.5 seconds) and then, on full gas to defend his title, he clipped a pedal and came down hard. Josh Bryceland went 2nd to Minaar but young French rider Loic Bruni smashed through split 1 to go 0.7 seconds up. He was 0.9 clear by split 2 and an awesome 2.3 seconds up as he crossed the line after the run of his life! Tony Brosnan and Aaron Gwin both crashed out leaving Loic a very happy winner. 

Gee said: "Pretty gutted to be honest but that's how it goes with World Champs, it's all or nothing. It's all about Rach today - I'm stoked for her."


Women's Elite

1. Rachel Atherton 5.08.488
2. Manon Carpenter 5.11.726 + 3.238
3. Tracey Hannah 5.18.461 + 9.973

Men's Junior

1. Laurie Greenland 4.32.839
2. Martin Maes 4.36.103 + 3.264
3. Jackson Frew 4.44.424 + 11.585

Men's Elite

1. Loic Bruni 4.19.585
2. Greg Minaar 4.21.95 + 2.365
3. Josh Bryceland 4.24.361 + 4.776

All photos: Sven Martin

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Red Bull Hardline T's & C's

Red Bull Hardline T's & C's

1. Entries must be made via Twitter by tweeting @silverlinetools explaining why you should win.

2. The prize consists of one car parking pass per winner.

3. Two passes will be given away to two separate winners.

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

5. The winner will be chosen and notified by 5 pm on Friday 4th September 2015.

6. Travel and accommodation costs are not included in the prize. 

7. The promoter, Powerbox Limited reserves the right to publish the name of the winners. Winners are required to give their full co-operation to all requests by the promoter

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

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. Entries must be received by 3 pm GMT on Friday 4th September 215.

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

15. Red Bull Hardline will take place on the 12th and 13th September 2015 at Dinas Mawddwy, Wales. 

For further event information click here