Race Report BDS Rd 6 Final - Llangollen
After a great season for the team, it was time to finish the job off in style at the last British Downhill Series race of 2012. With two overall titles in the balance for Manon in Elite and Phil in Juniors, Sunday started out a tense one. The steep Llangollen hillside provided yet another fantastic track and the team were loving it, helping soothe the nerves and prepare them for the last big day of racing for the season.
First up as ever was Will Weston in the Youth category. After an up and down season he was looking to end the year on a high and as he sprinted for the line and went into the hot seat, he did just that, with only the in form Taylor Vernon to go. Local knowledge and a blistering run by Taylor was going to be tough to beat but Will pushed him hard and took a fine second place.
The Junior men’s field has been stacked all year and with the overall title on the line, the final round was always going to be a tough one. Going into the final leading the series was a lot of pressure on Phil, as a first year junior he has had an incredible season, proving his talent time and time again.
Being laid back has it’s advantages and Phil took it all in his stride, fastest in seeding in the morning followed up with a blistering run in the afternoon to take the win on the day, the BDS overall title and as it transpired the fastest run of the day and a bag full of UCI points and a healthy cheque for his efforts. Role on 2013, things are going to get very exciting!
Filling out the podium with Madison Saracen jersey’s was Josh Lowe. A solid ride for him in 5th place, showing the summer riding in Champery had paid off. As Josh moves up to the adult classes in 2013, he will certainly be staking a claim for a title of his own.
Phil Atwill – "I’m stoked, I can’t believe it. I just tried to treat it like any other race and forget about the overall. After seeding I knew I had the speed so I could relax a little bit, with the pressure on everyone else to push hard to try and beat me. It’s hard to get two good race runs in a day but it all came together and taking fastest time of the day across all the categories feels awesome. I don’t want the season to end!”
Manon came into the weekend’s race in a commanding position for the overall title. Hoping to battle it out with Rachel Atherton for the final time this year, she was a little disappointed not to get the opportunity in the end, as Rachel decided not to race.
Still needing two good performances to finish the job off, Manon set about winning seeding by twelve seconds, before going ahead to knock even more time off her run in the final.
So there it was, the cherry on the cake of a fantastic first year of Elite racing for Manon. British Series Champion, bronze medallist in the World Championships and multiple podium rides in the World Cup. It’s hard to believe this is just her first year in the senior class.
Manon – “I was really looking forward to racing Rach this weekend, it’s great to have a challenge in the BDS races and it would have been good to try and get near to Rach’s time. The track has been so much fun though and I just decided to try and put the best possible run together that I could in seeding, then go on to try and beat it in the final. I was really pleased I did but actually expected to go a little quicker in the final as it felt like a much better run than seeding. It’s been an amazing year, even with the injury, I’m happy to finish it off with the BDS overall title. I can’t wait for 2013 now! Thank you so much to everyone who has been a part of making this season so much fun and thank you to the BDS organisers.”
It was down to the big man then. Harry, last team rider of the day to race was blessed with a rain storm and cold winds after a dry weekend of racing, we almost made it through! After the rest of the team put in such great performances, he was keen to go and do the same. Looking good on the hill all weekend, Harry was aiming for the podium and came so close, with his best result of the season in 7th place. Given the calibre of British DH racers, being the best in the World, Harry has proved this year he deserves to take his place amongst them and is really keen to step it up another notch in 2013 and show what he’s got.
So as the World Cup and British Downhill Series draws to a close, we’d just like to say congratulations to all the team on a fantastic, roller coaster year of excitement and emotions, that has seen trophy’s, champagne and giant cardboard cheques filling the workshop of the team truck. It’s been emotional - Will Longden, Madison SaracenTeam Manager.