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Report: British Downhill Championships
Event: 24th July 2011
Images: Andy Whitehouse, Luke Webber, Andy Dunwoody
Ruaridh Cunningham and Tracy Moseley are the new 2011 British Downhill Champions, crowned at Llangollen.
On the steepest track in the UK many riders switched from clipless to flat pedals, with a loose surface becoming heavily eroded throughout a hot day of racing.
A revised top section included a tight, technical wooded trail, leading to the classic open hillside, featuring a combination of tight turns and wide switchbacks flowing into the finish arena.
Race Day Images - Luke Webber
Following the race winning run Cunningham reflected on his first major title since winning the Junior World Championships in 2007 and his first ever British title. "I've never won the British Championships - it's taken me ten years. I was told at the top of the hill the time to beat, so I knew what I had to do. I just wound up going a bit crazy; down the bottom I was blowing all the corners and to finally win it, was just amazing, definitely worth the wait.
"I knew at the top I could beat the time, I felt good all week and was sure I was one of the fastest, I wasn't happy with my seeding run - I put a lot into it and didn't get a lot out - but I knew I could turn things around in time for the final.
"Between the runs I just relaxed, thought about what I'd done good and what I'd done badly, then applied it to the race run. I only had one big mistake up top and I think that fired me up; by the time I reached the bottom of the track I wasn't even riding the line I'd planned, the track was so loose, I was just keeping my momentum and sliding round all the turns.
"The possibility on this track was always there to do something crazy...I guess that means I am the craziest."
Clinching the Men's title ahead of Team Skene's Alex Bond by over three seconds, with a mega-fast 2:07.682 Cunningham will now wear the British Champion's jersey at the next round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in La Brese. Banshee's Adam Brayton finished bronze, ahead of Chain Reaction's Matt Simmonds and Santa Cruz's Steve Peat.
Race Day Images: Andy Whitehouse
World Champion Tracy Moseley added the 2011 British Downhill title to her already impressive palmares, beating Katy Curd by over seven seconds on a dry, fast and technical Llangollen track. Tracy first took the British DH title 13 years ago - little did she or any of her fans know that she would be pulling on the blue and red hooped jersey again all these years later - although she admitted the pressure was on for the win. "There was everything to lose today, it was a pressure day. I couldn't have come to a track that played to my strengths any less; not an inch of pedalling!
"I got down the steep stuff as neatly as I could, it was a fun track to ride but hard to race, you just feel like you're skidding, with moments of closing your eyes and hoping.
"I think years of experience helped a lot today, everyone else was riding flat pedals, I stayed clipped in knowing I could gain fractions of a second. I knew I could get down the top section as well as anyone else without taking crazy risks.
"Seeding put my mind at ease a bit - I knew I could make up a lot of time in the woods where I made a mistake - but just the nature of the top section of the track meant it was a fifty-fifty chance of getting through.
"The consequences of crashing were big as well, that makes it more nerve-wracking and that kind of track is suited to some of the other girls as well.
"It was a big goal of mine to become British Champion, as well as World Champion. I won my first British Championship in 1998 and thirteen years on, it's cool to still be winning it against youngsters ten years younger than me.
"It's nice to come back and race in the UK as well - this is my first domestic downhill race of the year and it's important to have the best racers in the country on the national scene."
Defending champion Jess Stone finished in third, but ended the weekend content with her efforts to take back the title.
"I knew it was going to be a very challenging weekend, having to defend the title on a track that doesn't suit my style and up against a World Champion, it was always going to be tough.
"That said it was great fun; the crowd were amazing all weekend. I was happy with my race run, it came following practise and seeding - neither of which went great - so I was quite nervous at the start. I made a couple of mistakes, but on this track you will never get a perfect run.
"With this race complete, I can now focus on gaining a top ten finish at a World Cup, which will qualify me to race at the World Championships."
Race Day Images - Andy Dunwoody
Lewis Buchanan took the Junior Men's title by over eight seconds from Fraser McGlone, with Matthew Stuttard, just seven tenths behind, taking bronze.
Frazer McCubbing became Juvenile champion beating Laurie Greenland into silver by four seconds, with Rowan Carpenter a distant third.
It was a tight result in the Youth category, with Philip Atwill taking the title by just two seconds from Michael Jones, with George Gannicott a further second adrift.
Moving on to the Masters categories, James Hughes took the 30-35 category from Jethro Whitfield and William Gough, while it was Nigel Page who took the 35-39 category, eight seconds ahead of Tristan Tunstall, with Anthony Gaskin bronze.
Darren Howarth took the Veteran 40-44 title from Rich Simpson, while Jerry Twigg took the 45-49 title.
We'll have further reports and results as they come in. Keep checking back!
1. Ruaridh Cunningham 2:07.682
2. Alex Bond + 3.695
3. Adam Brayton + 4.675
1. Tracy Moseley 2:37.660
2. Katy Curd +7.957
3. Jess Stone +10.860
1. Lewis Buchanan 2:14.749
2. Fraser McGlone + 8.045
3. Matthew Stuttard + 8.756
1. Frazer McCubbing 2:40.566
2. Laurie Greenland + 4.481
3. Rowan Carpenter + 24.916
1. Phillip Atwill 2:22.964
2. Michael Jones + 2.020
3. George Gannicott + 3.270
1. James Hughes 2:25.461
2. Jethro Whitfield + 2.107
3. William Gough + 9.482
1. Nigel Page 2:29.228
2. Tristan Tunstall + 8.198
3. Anthony Gaskin + 11.897
1. Darren Howarth 2:33.832
2. Rich Simpson + 6.458
3. Adrian Bradley + 10.081
1. Jerry Twigg
2. Steve Felstead
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