Scotland’s best downhill mountain bikers make the journey south and then west to Rhyd-Y-Felin this weekend for the 2021 HSBC UK National Downhill Championships, with a total of 13 coveted national champion’s jerseys up for grabs on Sunday.
The event returns following the cancellation of last year’s championships due to the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning that Wales’ Revolution Bike Park will host the first such national championship since 2019.
Rhyd-Y-Felin is certainly no stranger to the Scottish downhill community, having hosted rounds of the HSBC UK | National Downhill Series for a number of years, including 2018 and 2019, and the national championships in 2017.
The course is renowned for challenging riders with its huge jumps and tight berms, ensuring thrilling competition for riders and spectators alike.
With runs typically coming in at around three minutes, the top section is very quick with some loose slatey turns, while the riders’ technique will be tested on narrow sections with roots and stumps. After riders cross the fire road into the final wooded section they will encounter some grassy turns, where many races have been won and lost in the past.
Leading the travelling Scottish cohort is Phoebe Gale (FMD Racing), who will be looking to build on her dominant display in Les Gets that resulted in her first UCI World Cup win. She’ll be attempting to win the Junior Women’s event for the first time, although Bethany McCully will also be looking to build on her good showing in the French Alps.
The Junior Men’s event looks to be finely poised with a 51-strong field competing in Bala. Stirlingshire’s Ryan Brannen (555 Factory Racing), Highland’s Douglas Goodwill (555 Gravity Racing) and William Brodie will be looking to build upon their encouraging performances abroad recently.
The weather forecast for this weekend in Wales is for blue skies and temperatures in the mid-to-high 20s, which will provide comfort to all the riders this weekend, especially to the Elite Men who suffered in awful conditions in France a fortnight ago. The Scottish contingent is led by Greg Williamson (Commencal 100%) and Jamie Edmondson (RockShox Trek RT), whilst Calum Mcbain (555 Gravity Racing) will be looking to continue his return from an injury sustained in Leogang.
There are of course a strong Scottish contingent in action across the weekend, and we wish them all the best of luck this weekend at the championships.
British Cycling will be providing behind the scenes content and updates from Rhyd-Y-Felin this weekend, whilst we will also be keeping you up to date with results on social media, with a full report to follow on Monday.