Charlie Hatton capped off a campaign to remember with victory at Hopton Woods to seal the HSBC UK | National Downhill Series overall title in the final round.
Hopton Woods, a vintage track with good pedigree, hadn’t seen a national round since 1999, but didn’t disappoint with the course proving a worthy challenge for every rider.
Hatton, a first-year elite rider with Intense Riding UK, underlined his step up from the junior ranks by sealing the overall series win with a comprehensive victory in the final round, carving a near two-second cushion over second-placed Hope Technology rider Adam Brayton.
It was a finish that saw Brayton secure second in the series standings, with Matt Simmonds taking overall third – though it was Madison Saracen Factory Team colleague Marc Beaumont who took the final step on the race podium.
“It was an amazing weekend, I was looking forward to getting stuck in as I love this track,” said Hatton, who finishes on 782 points.
“I took my time in my seeding run, then in my race run, I’ve got to admit it didn’t feel that amazing, I felt like I could have pushed a lot more.
“But I guess that was why it was so good because actually it felt so smooth. I was carrying speed everywhere and it all paid off.
“If you had told me that as a first-year elite at the start of the year that I’d have two wins and the overall series to my name, I just wouldn’t have believed you!
“So to actually finish the year having done all that, it feels amazing.”
In the women’s race, Veronique Sandler took victory in the final round, though it wasn’t enough to take top spot in the overall standings as Tahnée Seagrave was crowned National Downhill Series champion with 810 points, despite not racing at Hopton Woods.
Seagrave, who finished fourth overall in 2016, left the other riders to battle it out for the remaining points and race win, with Sandler (Wideopen Mag) taking full advantage.
She took a commanding win from Aston Tutt (Madison Saracen Development Team) with a 13-second margin, with Becci Skelton (Uberbike Components SPS) finishing in third.
Tutt’s second-place finish in Shropshire was enough to see her finish third in the overall standings on 604 points.
“That was a better result than I was expecting, I can’t complain at all and the weather hasn’t been too bad either,” said Sandler.
“The track was interesting, I really enjoyed my practice runs because I really wasn’t putting many pedals in but then when I did my race run I found the track was much more pedally than I’d thought. It was exhausting!
“If the whole track had been like the steep bottom section, then it would have been a dream track!”
In the junior races, Millie Johnset climbed onto the top step of the podium, as Rosy Monaghan (Super Alloy Racing) and Meghan Harris (Team Aston Hill) took second and third respectively.
It was enough to seal her the overall title with the Atherton Academy rider finishing the Series on 900 points, while Matt Walker (Madison Saracen Factory Team) took both the round and overall victories to end on 940 points.
1. Charlie Hatton
2. Adam Brayton
3. Marc Beaumont
1. Veronique Sandler
2. Aston Tutt
3. Becci Skelton
1. Matt Walker
2. Joe Breeden
3. Kaos Seagrave
1. Millie Johnset
2. Rosy Monaghan
3. Meghan Harris
1. Charlie Hatton - 782 points
2. Adam Brayton - 735 points
3. Matt Simmonds - 593 points
1. Tahnée Seagrave - 810 points
2. Veronique Sandler - 775 points
3. Aston Tutt - 604 points
1. Matt Walker - 940 points
2. Joe Breeden - 850 points
3. Henry Kerr - 600 points
1. Millie Johnset - 900 points
2. Maya Atkinson - 703 points
3. Ellen Flewitt - 627 points