Matt Walker and Katy Curd defied the mist and rain to prevail at the 2018 HSBC UK | National Downhill Championships on the Glencoe Mountain, Scotland.
In gradually deteriorating conditions on the mountain, Walker stuck to his game plan riding through the mist and pushing former world champion Danny Hart and defending champion Greg Williamson in to second and third respectively.
Curd, meanwhile, claimed this title for the first time – making the most of the late withdrawal of Rachel Atherton, who was looking for her seventh national downhill crown.
Kade Edwards and Rosy Monaghan also had plenty of reason to cheer in Scotland as they picked up the junior titles in the mountains.
Walker overcomes tricky conditions
After posting the best seeding time in the morning, Walker was the last rider to go on a course that became more and more slippery as the day went on, with navigation proving difficult.
It meant attacking riding was to be limited, though the Madison Saracen Factory Team rider couldn’t completely relax and was pushed all the way by Hart and Williamson, winning by just 2.875 seconds after stopping the clock in 2:15.645.
This tough technical track had been improved in several areas ahead of the Championships and this, combined with the inclement Scottish summer weather, made the twisting track very tricky.
While matters weren’t helped when a group of playful stags caused a delay to proceedings, forcing the riders to brave even tougher conditions.
Walker said: “I wanted to ride smooth all the way down, I knew my bike was working well so I just focused on staying smooth."
Dominant Curd makes her mark
Right from the off, Curd had shown herself to be the dominant force in Glencoe and so it proved as she became 2018 national downhill champion.
Posting the quickest seeding run, she took that form forward when it mattered most to post a time of 3:00.094.
It proved more than eight seconds clear of the rest of the field as Team Creation Cycles’ Megan Whyte rode to second place, joined on the podium by Abbie Sloan of Pearce Cycles.
“I decided to just go with the flow,” explained Curd. “It was getting very slippery out there and visibility was deteriorating, I rode some parts of the course I’d not seen all weekend prior to this run.”
Edwards and Monaghan secure junior titles
Kade Edwards may have described his final run as “hideous”, but that didn’t prevent the Trek Factory Racing DH rider from securing top spot.
Posting a time of 2:23.087, nearly five seconds separated him from closest challenger Jamie Edmondson, who finished second despite posting the 14th fastest seeding run. Henry Kerr rounded off the top three.
Edwards said: “It was the first time I’ve been to Glencoe but it’s a good first time. It was slippery but not as bad as I thought it was going to be.”
Four women competed for the junior title with Rosy Monaghan fulfilling her top-seed status to be crowned national champion in a time of 3:25.334.
That proved to be just three seconds clear of HSBC UK | National Downhill Series junior leader Maya Atkinson, with Tea Jensen and Phoebe Gale behind the One Giant Leap rider.