Once again to the hills around Dinas Mawddwy, for the 5th Red Bull Hardline.
Saturday was misty with on and off showers all morning but the riders were all stoked to race, loving the 2018 additions to Dan Atherton’s “mind-blowingly intense” course as they got comfortable with the track over two days of sunny practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
Friday’s practice was completely rained off so Saturday morning which left the course very slippery despite frantic running repairs, many of the riders were struggling with the cold.
21 riders raced qualifications, Phil Atwell had a small crash in Thursdays practice damaging his shoulder and withdrew. Phil said “ At a World Cup I’d probably tape it up but for this course you need to be 100%” Killian Callaghan, Oscar Harmstorm, Erik Irmisch, Keegan Wright and Course Designer Dan Atherton were also non-starters.
Dan said “There is no way to ride this course if you aren’t 100% on top form and 100% committed to the race so I chose to make myself useful to the dig crew and the other riders!”
Morning practice was heavy going!
Gee said “that was so hard – particularly on the technical sections, really sticky and so physical.”
Reece Wilson was a victim of the wet weather with a crash resulting in a broken collarbone.
With just 10 Finals places up for grabs the pressure was on for qualifications.
Gee took the quals win in 3.15.93
8th placed Josh Bryceland withdrew himself – so the Finals start list looked like this…
Gee said “Every year I go back wanting it more and more and pushing harder and harder for it”
Charlie said “I took it safe because of the weather, I knew it would be easy to crash! I went off track just before the road gap and came unclipped but managed to just get clipped back in before the take –off. It was sketchy!”
First up was Flo Payet setting the pace at 3.26.48, Kade crashed out at one of the tricky corners after the road gap but 6th place qualifier Charlie roared into the hotseat in 3.18 91– 7 seconds clear of the field, it would be enough for 3rd place – his first Hardline podium.
Bernard Kerr took 2nd in 3.12.30
And Gee put all of his Hardline demons behind him taking the win in 3.06.72, 5 seconds clear of the field!
Gee said “ Red Bull Hardline is so intense, its testament to how hard it is that its taken me five years to win it, but now I’ve done it once I want to do it again next year!”
Pics Sven Martin