This weekend saw the third consecutive double win for Gee and Rachel Atherton, this time in front of a local crowd on a sunny weekend at Llangollen. Uplifts ran like clockwork and the pits were buzzing with excitement.
Taylor was first up for the team– he’d seeded 3rd on Saturday, not pushing too hard as he’s still nursing injuries from his horrific looking crash at Val di Sole. The track at Llangollen is really steep and Taylor loves it – the 16 year old looked like he was having fun as he powered down the hill and sprinted to the finish beating his own seeding time by three seconds. Mike Jones seeded first and maintained the advantage in the race finishing two seconds clear of Taylor but Tay put more than a second into second seed Innes Graham to steal the second spot.
Taylor said “ What a great weekend, the tracks are amazing! I’m happy to finish a race in one piece! This’ll give me good confidence going in to Andorra.”
Rachel had qualified second with a time of 2.11.80 to Manon Carpenter (2.11.38) who has been presenting a significant challenge to Rachel all season but come the race Rachel put in storming run to knock three seconds off those qualifying times while Manon was unlucky to crash, losing over thirteen seconds to Rachel but still managing to hold on to second place from Jess Stone.
Speaking after the race Rachel thanked Manon for the great competition saying
“ She makes me work so hard! This track is enormous fun, so steep and blown out in places but I feel a bit sick now!”
In the Men’s Elite the top qualifying times were fast. Gee had qualified first with 1.57.45, Joe Smith was in second with 1.59.78 and Gee’s GT Factory racing team mate Marc Beaumont had qualified third with 1.59.79.
Come the race “Slugger” was 3rd to last to come down the hill, taking the hotseat from Brendan Fairclough, Joe Smith couldn’t match him and slotted into fourth and there was only Gee left on the hill. Gee put in a powerful run, up at the first split and then pedalled all the way in to snatch the top step in another fantastic showing for the GT Factory Racing team.
Marc said ” “That’s more like it! That felt brilliant – the 1, 2 – Stoked. ”
Gee said “ Stoked to take the win here with this awesome crowd – especially with the team-mates so pinned – Good show Slugger Beaumont!”
1st: Gee Atherton 1.56.36
2nd: Marc Beaumont 1.58.36
3rd: Brendan Fairclough 1.59.25
Rachel Atherton 2.08.39
Manon Carpenter 2.21.48
Jess Stone 2.25.23
Michael Jones 1.59.75
Taylor Vernon 2.01.36
Innes Graham 2.02.10
All photos Laurencce CE