Joe Breeden and Katy Curd reigned supreme as they powered to respective victories in Round 4 of the HSBC UK | National Downhill Series in Rhyd y Felin.
After suffering a serious leg break during training in November, which saw him off his bike for seven months, Breeden rode a near perfect Elite Men’s race final run to seal victory by 5.35 seconds from Shaun Richards.
Emyr Davies was third in a race which many riders will have identified as a great opportunity to pick up valuable UCI Ranking points while many of their competitors are in Canada for the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
Curd continued her excellent recent form by storming to victory for her second series victory of the campaign.
Top section pays off for Breeden
The Welsh course proved challenging for all the riders as heavy overnight rain completely changed the conditions.
During Saturday's practice the course was dry and in perfect condition for fast aggressive racing but after the night’s deluge the ground became greasy and slick.
The rain showers continued until the mid-afternoon, only stopping as the race runs began, this in turn changed the course characteristics once again and the mud dried out in the sun, giving the later riders a slight advantage over the earlier starters.
After the race Breeden admitted the later time had helped, commenting: “I rode a really good top section which meant I could ease back on the second half of the run and not be as aggressive.
“It was a really solid run.”
Curd embraces imperfect conditions
Curd followed up from her HSBC UK | National Downhill Championships win at Glencoe three weeks ago by taking the Elite Women’s race by a comfortable 16.67 seconds from her nearest rival Veronica Widmann.
And she revealed that despite the tricky and varying conditions, she is someone who relishes the challenging terrain.
“I really loved it,” Curd said afterwards. “It was very challenging, but I enjoy this type of race and competition.
“I’ve been holding back in many races this year and decided to give it everything and go for it.”
Scott and Walker do the business
Meanwhile, the Junior Men’s race was won by Riley Scott of Madison Saracen Development Team in a time of 3:11:32, just three seconds ahead of Morgan Tyrrell of Intense Racing UK.
Emily Walker took the honours in the Junior Women’s category, beating National Downhill Series leader Maya Atkinson of Female Riders Race Team, into second spot on the podium by 9.64 seconds.
Top three of the elite women's race
Megan Whyte (Team Creation Cycles)
Top three of the elite men's race
Joe Breeden (Intense Racing UK)