Atherton Academy 2017: from left Luke Williamson, Mille Johnset, Jamie Cable
This weekend in the Dyfi Forest the 2017 Atherton Academy intake enjoyed a weekend riding with the Trek Factory Racing DH team. It was wet, windy and hard work but the three young riders dug in and showed us the kind of talent and determination that earned them these coveted training places. There were smiles for miles as Mille Johnset, Luke Williamson and Jamie Cable shredded Dan Atherton’s Dyfi trails, chilled at the skatepark and collected their specially designed 2017 team strip.
Dan Hearn was on hand to capture some of the action.
Jamie ” like Christmas morning!”
The weekend started with a meet at Atherton HQ. It quickly got like Christmas as IXS protective gear, Bell helmets and new team strip and casual wear were fitted and distributed. Team Director Dan Brown and Dan Atherton gave a short welcome while Head Technician Joe Krejbich made sure that set ups were optimal on the Trek Session 9.9s.
Joe casts an expert eye over Mille’s Trek Session
Dan Brown said “I’m delighted to be working with these three young riders. Without taking anything away from what they’ve achieved so far, all of this year’s intake have so much to learn and such potential for growth that its going to be very exciting to be a part of that journey. The primary objective for all three of them this year is to gain a solid foundation of race experience ”
Browny leading by example.
Dan Atherton said “We’re all passionate about creating a pathway to World Cups and a pro riding career. Ours is a young sport so there are many young talents out there who are in the dark about the opportunities available.
A huge driver for me building these tracks is so that young riders can rock up and ride here on the same facilities that World Cup pros are using for their training, that they get to see real early that there is no reason that they can’t be the best.
Luke and Jamie
One of the most exciting things for me this weekend has been watching Jamie and Luke ride together and learn from each other, they are pretty much from polar opposite ends of the scale. Jamie relies 100% on his skill, Luke leans on his strength and power more so over the whole track they are pretty equal but you’ll see Jamie pulling away down the steep sections, Luke is faster where its flat – its partly physical make-up, partly what they are used to riding.
On Saturday night’s skate park session and Sunday’s DH shred the team were joined by Rachel and Danny Hart so the Academy had the advantage of two World Champions to follow down the trails!
Dan and Danny on the skatepark train
Dan said “ Its awesome how these guys would just watch us and then learn from that, if we did tell them something once, that was it they got it instantly, that’s so refreshing. “
Mille Johnset. (Racing Youth Year 2)
16 year old Mille has been working with us for a couple of years now, in last year’s first full season with the Atherton Academy she took a spectacular win at Fort William BDS (16 seconds clear of the field), the Scandinavian Cup and the Norwegian National Champs – despite 10 weeks off the bike with a liver injury.
Dan in the observer seat as Mille goes on the attack!
Dan said “I spent a lot of time this weekend riding behind Mille, watching her throw herself into every corner! She doesn’t back off for anything, she’s so brave and her passion shines through in how she rides. Every corner, every pedal stroke she hits it with her full heart. After so long at the top of the World Cup game Rachel has learnt to become a very calculated rider but Mille reminds me of how Rach was when she was young.”
Jamie Cable (Racing Youth Year 2)
Jamie is the least experienced racer of this year’s intake but he is a passionate and dedicated rider who has put in unbelievable hours on the bike to achieve the extremely high standard required to be invited to the Atherton Academy.
Does Jamie’s style remind you of anybody?
Dan said “I got to know Jamie when I was running some Tuesday night coaching rides with the kids from the local school. There were two kids in particular Jamie and Tim, they were always pushing each other on, Tim’s already doing really well on the national XC races and Jami’s gone a different way to focus on DH. The first thing I noticed about Jamie was his balance, years riding the Dyfi trails on his hardtail had taught him well! He’s so focused and single-minded, absolutely lives for his riding and his digging. He reminds of how we all were when we started out.
Luke Williamson ((Racing Youth Year 1)
At 14 years old Luke Williamson has seven years race experience behind him, first at the motocross track and since 2014 on a downhill bike. He has a series of local wins to his credit and in 2016 was 4th Overall in the British Downhill Series Juvenile Class (despite missing Fort William) and 2nd overall in the Pearce Cycles Series.
Luke! It’s easy to forget he is just 14 years old…
Dan said “ Luke is strong! A really powerful rider though you wouldn’t necessarily think so just to look at him, he outputs a hell of a lot of power in every pedal stroke. Maybe at 14 he relies a little bit on that strength but underneath and under-pinning that there is a very talented rider. He’s really focused and already one of the most professional young riders I’ve ever seen.
2017 Atherton Academy is going to be all time.