World champion Hatton dominates in Rheola as Gale storms to victory at opening National Downhill Series round

World champion Hatton dominates in Rheola as Gale storms to victory at opening National Downhill Series round

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World champion Charlie Hatton battled tough conditions at the opening round of the National Downhill Series in Rheola to take the elite open win, as Phoebe Gale relished in the wet conditions to secure the elite women’s victory.

Saturday’s wet weather passed and Sunday saw the sun come out, dramatically changing the conditions from wet, slippy roots to claggy mud which caught several riders out. Due to time delays from red flags due to the harsh conditions, the seeding runs counted as the final results.

Elite categories

Charlie Hatton (Continental Atherton) took a sensational victory in the elite open category, clocking 2:54.596 to seize the win ahead of Joe Breeden (Intense Racing UK 2019) on 2:57.373. Former junior world champion Jordan Williams (Specialized Gravity) came home in third on 3:01.664, while Adam Brayton finished three seconds behind. Another former world champion, Reece Wilson (Trek Factory Racing Gravity), rounded off the podium in fifth on in a stacked field, which also included Dom Platt (Continental Atherton) and Luke Williamson (555 Gravity Racing).

In the women’s elite category, 19-year-old Phoebe Gale (Canyon Collective FMD) stormed to the win on 3:44.497, taking the victory by over 30 seconds as the only female rider to dip under four minutes. Jessica Stone finished in 4:20.954 to take second while 2023 national champion Harriet Harnden (Trek Factory Racing Gravity) suffered a crash in the tough conditions, but still managed to finish in third place. Meghan Flanagan (Leisue Lakes finished in fourth, while young rider Bethany McCully secured fifth place.

Phoebe Gale

Junior categories

Rapid times in the junior open category saw William Pugh pinch the win on 3:06.689, just over one second ahead of Rudi Eichhorn (Canyon Collective FMD). Alfie Heming clocked 3:11.382 to finish in third, but it was neck-and-neck for fourth and fifth position, with Morgan Williams (BNC Racing) clocking 3:12.576 to finish just ahead of Will Haines.

MUC-OFF Young Guns’ Heather Wilson took the junior women’s victory ahead of Lacey Holmes (Lanark Race Team).

Senior and expert

The expert open category saw Matthew Simmonds (Madison Saracen Factory Team) secure the victory on 3:12.793, while Josh Turner took the silver medal position, and Zack Harrop came in third.

Luke Madley took the senior open win in 3:30.199, while Robin Sim clocked the second quickest time six seconds behind. Loughborough Students’ Freddie Thomson finished in third on 3:42.974, while Daniel Bladon and Lewis Webber (Loughborough Students CC) finished in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Royal Navy Cycling's Emma Wood took the female win ahead of Tiandra Anderson and Jane Page.

Masters and veteran

Matthew Rushton (Hope Tech Factory Racing) put down the quickest time in the masters category, just edging out Adam Harris for the top spot. Rushton clocked 3:34.786, while Harris finished just 0.242 seconds behind. Stuart Houlston took third position, as Ben Caldwell came home fourth and Michael Vickers finished fifth.

Former grand veteran world champion Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) won the grand veteran open category by storm, clocking 3:33.948 to finish 25 seconds ahead of second place Mark Weightman. Anthony Lewis took third place, while Alan Miller and George Thompson rounded off the podium in fourth and fifth.

In the veteran open category, Oliver Morris recorded a time of 3:22.300 on the Rheola slopes to take first place with ease. Leon Rosser (Bike Doctor) had a close run with Rob Francis, with Rosser just squeezing into second place half a second ahead. Kris Lord had enough to go fourth quickest and Adam Gould (INFLITE) finished fifth.

You can find the full results from the weekends racing here, and a huge thank you to all the volunteers and commissaires who worked through the wet and wild conditions.

Photo gallery

Charlie Hatton