Steve Peat showed why he is arguably the World’s best downhill rider today taking the victory in Round 5 of the HALO British Downhill series at Bringewood.
The Santa Cruz Syndicate rider stole the show in the Elite Men’s race with an rapid second half decent of the Ludlow hill.
Early indications in the morning’s seeding runs put Gee Atherton in the driving seat, completing his run in 2:33.907 just pushing Joe Smith into second spot, Peat third, while series leader Matt Simmonds was fourth and winner of his previous three outings, Adam Brayton was sitting in fifth.
Heavy showers during the previous day’s practice had made the track very slippy and a lot of the riders were still using spikes as the track dried out for the afternoon's race run. The off-cambers and the tree covered sections of the course were proving to be tricky for the riders and many were seen coming out of the woods obviously having an encounter with the floor.
Al Bond went into an early lead on his timed run stopping the clock on 2.32.489, a lead which looked like he could keep till the podium because no one was getting close to the Chain Reaction rider. Team mate Matt Simmonds had other ideas and put himself into the hot seat, the first rider with a run in the 2.31s.
Adam Brayton couldn't put a run together on the Bringewood hill and only posted the 9th quickest time on the mid sector, the Banshee rider had to finish quicker then Simmonds to keep the series open but there was no way the time difference could be bridged and the recent star of the BDS had to be happy with 10th.
Peat was on a flyer, dressed in 2013 kit colours of blue - it must’ve been a good omen because by the mid sector he had posted the quickest time of 1.25.646, much to the crowd’s delight, clearing the tabletop coming into the arena the time was looking good and the cheer went up as Peat crossed the line to take the lead with a time of 2.26.701, the rider’s first British win of the season.
Chain Reaction's Joe Smith completed his run in 2.29.663, only a second off Peat on the mid sector, Smith lost time through the last forest of the run and had to be content with second on the day.
The only rider left to take the glory off Peat was Gee Atherton and it looked as though The GT rider was going to do just that, half a second quicker on the mid sector it was his race to lose but the bottom section proved to be his undoing, stopping the watch on 2.32.329 and going fourth on the leader board.
“The course has been pretty tough all weekend,” said Steve Peat afterwards. “We had a lot of bad weather yesterday afternoon and the course rutted up pretty bad in the top woods but it did seem to clear out this morning.
“The guys from Pearce cycles did a lot of work earlier which was awesome and with the sun coming out its dried up as the days gone on so I knew the course would be good for the finals. I kept my spiked tyres on because it was still pretty slippy on the off cambers. I knew I'd put a solid run together, everything felt good and I've been feeling really good over the last couple of weeks.
“I'm happy to take a win to go to the World Championships next week. This is my first National win for quite a while, I've had a few 2nds and 3rds, I was injured at the beginning of the year so it feels like I've had to build up from there and its coming good at the right time.”
Competing in her first British downhill series race this year, Tracy Moseley decimated the elite women’s field with a time of 2.58.326. The T-Mo racing rider, who has been competing in endurance races recently took the victory from now local girl Jess Stone by 7.2 seconds.
The 2011 World Champion was some six seconds to the good of Stone coming through the mid sector and increased her advantage by over seven seconds on the tricky last forest section. Emma Wareham was 3rd place crossing the line in 3.20.206, almost 22 seconds adrift of Moseley.
Afterwards, Moseley said: “This is my first national series race this year, I did Fort William World cup round recently and Val D'Isere but crashed out in qualifying so this is the first time on a downhill bike for a while ready for the Worlds next week.
“It’s always tough coming back when you haven't raced for a while with the pressures that go with racing and the actual speed in a race. People always expect you just to turn up and win but it isn't that easy when you've been out of the scene for a while. The conditions this weekend haven't been great with the rain yesterday and the sun today has made the course really gloopy in places, you always have the debate in your mind, do you put mud tyres on or dry tyres?
“I've pretty much semi retired from downhill now and I’m concentrating on racing endurance events. I currently leading the British Enduro Series and I've been out in France competing in their races. Today will probably be my last ever National downhill race and the Worlds will be my last ever downhill race. This sport does take it out of you physically and I've won everything I set out to win and there’s really nowhere else to go in the sport other then maintaining where I am.
“I'm enjoying the fitness elements in the events I ride now instead of hanging around waiting for a couple of downhill runs so now is an ideal opportunity to walk away from the sport at the top achieving what I had set out to achieve.”
1.Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) 2.26.701
2.Joseph Smith (Chainreactioncycles.com/nukeproof) 2.29.663
3.Matt Simmonds (Chainreactioncycles.com/nukeproof) 2.31.734
4.Gee Atherton (GT Atherton Racing) 2.32.329
5.Alex Bond (Chainreactioncycles.com/nukeproof) 2.32.489
6.Harry Heath (Unior tools) 2.33.128
7.Oliver Burton (unattached) 2.33.191
8.Greg Williamson (unattached) 2.33.223
9.Tom Brathwaite (Hope Factory Racing) 2.34.240
10.Adam Brayton (Banshee) 2.34.298
1.Tracy Moseley (T-MO Racing) 2.58.326
2.Jess Stone (unattached) 3.05.579
3.Emma Wareham (Leisurelakesbikes.com) 3.20.206
4.Eleanor Maxfield (Summerleaze ltd) 3.23.268
5.Reanne Atherton (Pearce Cycles/Marmot) 3.35.148
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.