Danny Hart’s Descend Bike Park in Hamsterley hosted this weekend’s opening round of the HSBC UK | National Downhill Series, providing long, flowy sections through dense forest, steep, rocky descents littered with technical features, and of course, the iconic step down into the finish line.
Saturday’s practice in dry, sunny conditions only added to the excitement as the foreshadowed rain came, adding an element of trepidation to the already difficult course.
A short practice session opened Sunday’s action, followed by swift seeding runs and one shot attempt for victory with the race run.
Despite completing good practice runs, several riders were caught out in the wet conditions with near-miss crashes, but thankfully the red-flags were not in high demand meaning limited re-runs.
In the Elite Women’s field, Katherine Sharp stormed to first place, being the only female competitor to tip into the sub two minute bracket, ahead of Stacey Fisher in second and Becci Skelton in third.
In the Elite Men’s category, there was less than a second between the top three riders on the podium, with Roger Vieira squeezing the victory in front of Matt Rushton in second and George Gannicott in third.
After suffering a horrendous crash, the red flag was brought out for Kieran Davies, but it was good to see him get back up, if not a bit gingerly, and complete his race run – these riders don’t give up easy!
There were also fantastic results for the Junior riders; first with Dominic Platt putting in a time that meant he was the fifth fastest male rider of the day, only to be outdone by Jordan Williams taking the fastest men’s time of the day at 1:37:00, closely followed by Preston Williams at 1:37:23 with both riders a full two seconds quicker than the Elite Men’s winner.