Kade Edwards, Rachel Atherton score wins in season opener

The Trek Factory Racing DH team has a successful weekend in the first round of the National Series

The British National Downhill Series ventured down to Cwmcarn, South Wales for the first round of the 2018 season, a fun and fast track, twisty up top with some big jumps at the bottom, and overall a great spot for the season opener that produced some super tight racing.

Saturday’s timed practice was super wet after morning downpours, but underneath the track was hard-packed and super-fast. It became clear that times would be tight this weekend with very little to separate the riders.

There was little doubt that the Trek Factory Racing DH team were loving the first race of the season. In the Women’s field, Rachel Atherton was head’s above with a best-timed run of 2.59.406 with Becci Skelton in second in 3.24.465. However, there were fast women like Tahnee Seagrave, Abbie Sloan, and Aston Tutt, who looked like they hadn’t put in a complete non-stop run, so nothing could be taken for granted.  Rachel commented afterward:

It was flat out – a little bit of mud on track but wicked fun.

In the Junior’s category, Morgan Tyrell was looking fast, posting a 2.46.449, and Trek Factory Racing’s Kade Edwards didn’t put in a full run so there was little indication of how Sunday’s finals would pan out.

The Elite Men especially put in some very competitive timed runs Saturday. After five runs, the Trek Factory Racing team reigned supreme: Charlie Hatton led with a time of 2.37.039 and Gee Atherton in a close 2nd at 2.37.339. However, a sixth run changed things with Mike Jones posting the day’s fastest time in 2.35.258. Gee was lying 2nd, and Charlie ranked 4th.

With Sunday came drier weather and the seeding runs. Kade seeded first. In the Elite Men, Charlie seeded sixth and Gee seventh.  Meanwhile, Rachel and rival Tahnee Seagrave had their runs disrupted by red flags and declined re-runs, so they started in the same order as their seeding position.

The track had dried extensively, and the day was plagued by red flags, which caused plenty of delays to add to the nerves! In the Juniors, the team held their breath as Kade headed out to the start gate. He’d only been back on the big bike for a week after injuring his hand and hadn’t put in a full-timed run.

They needn’t have worried:  Kade was back!  He won in a time of 2.34.12.

Hell of a weekend at the NDS, feeling good on the bike again and stoked to take the win.
– Kade Edwards

In the women’s race that followed, Rachel started the season with the first win of hopefully many to come, handily clinching first by 2.8 seconds, which on a track with tight racing was a sizeable margin over second placed Tahnee Seagrave.

The Elite Men’s race was decided by tenths! Gee placed a solid sixth (2.32.27 +0.2.68) a mere half-second from third, with Charlie (2.32.68 +0.3.08) a further half-second back in seventh place.

It was Charlie’s first major race with Trek Factory Racing, and it left him reflecting on a solid performance: “Great way to kick off the season at the first National, felt good to have the full team around and I’m happy with seventh, just one second off a top three in such a stacked field.”

Strong performances from everyone bodes well for the opening World Cup in two weeks as the Series heads to Croatia for the first time.

Images: ©Moonhead Media