Greg Williamson and Rachel Atherton successfully defended their respective titles at the 2017 HSBC UK | National Downhill Championships on the Rhyd Y Felin course in Wales.
In a virtual replay of the 2016 downhill national championships, Williamson retained his elite men’s title by the narrowest of margins, but this time it was first year elite Charlie Hatton snapping at his heels, missing out on the win by just 0.2 seconds.
Last year’s silver medallist and current world champion Danny Hart had to be content with third after a hard-fought battle on one of the toughest tracks in the UK.
This hardcore track had a few new features thrown in which, combined with the inclement summer weather, turned the fast flowing course into a bog in places, which ended many riders’ chances of a good time.
Hart experienced that first hand in his seeding race but managed to get through the bog on his race run to stake his claim on third.
“I’m absolutely buzzing to take the win for the second time, that was awesome,” said Williamson.
“I feel so good to back up the result from last year, so going up the road today a very happy man.
“To be honest I cruised a bit through the seeding run just to save myself for the final, I knew I had it in me, so wasn’t too fussed about ripping all the way on the seeding run.
“It was so close out there. Charlie Hatton was right on my tail so it was a good day’s racing. “This has given me a great confidence boost now going into the next round of world cups, I can’t wait!”
In the elite women’s race Rachel Atherton scooped her sixth national title in a row, despite suffering from a sore shoulder following its recent dislocation.
She clung on, using her years of experience to good measure to pick up the title with Tahnee Seagrave once more the bridesmaid in silver and Manon Carpenter taking yet another bronze, unable to dislodge the reigning World and National champion from her saddle.
“Taking my sixth win of the National Championships is so cool, it’s on a par with winning a World Cup basically,” said Atherton.
“It’s the same people I’m competing against pretty much. it’s always good to race here, it’s such a good track and it’s awesome to see so many kids here giving it a go. I’m always nervous when I race Nationals, I can’t explain it, but I am!
“[My shoulder] is a bit frustrating but worked fine this weekend and it’ll only get stronger, hopefully, and I’ve got to make it to the World Championships in one piece!”