Last year saw Red Bull’s Hardline event make its debut in Wales – an extremely challenging event with one of the hardest downhill tracks in the world tackled by some of the best riders on the planet. This year they decided to allow spectators along, so yesterday, off I went to the middle of nowhere in Wales. Big thanks to Adam Coxon for the lift up there!
My one complaint was that there weren’t enough riders – which often meant you’d be waiting for ages for someone to show up, during practise. The main problem is, of course, that the course is somewhat terrifying, so you’d struggle to find a load of riders to enter it! However, I had a think about it and I reckon that if Red Bull turned it into both a race and slopestyle event, it might help attract more riders along. Run the race first, and have the fastest riders come down, then do a slopestyle event with a few judges to pick the winners – not based on speed, but rather on style. You’d probably need to have a live feed of the big features down to the judges, but with Red Bull’s backing and the income from spectators, it probably wouldn’t be too unaffordable.
Below is a small selection of some of my favourite photos from the event – you can find the full gallery over on Facebook as usual. I’d have liked to have gotten close to the action, but due to the sheer size and speed of some of the features, the course was quite widely taped, so without a media pass I couldn’t get too close. Still, I reckon I got some decent photos! 🙂Facebook Preview Album
Above, a few of the riders stop for a moment during practise. They’re standing on the landing of one of the biggest jumps on the course – which only the day before had claimed a victim – ouch!
Below, Craig Evans riding for Hope Technology on one of the jumps. While some of the jumps weren’t that far distance-wise, they made up for it in height and angle. This one sent you sky high, which combined with the angle made it somewhat tricky.
Above, Gee Atherton focuses on the road gap just ahead. Not just any road gap – you could have almost driven a double decker bus under this one while they were jumping off it, and not had a problem. Unfortunately Gee had his rear tyre come off the rim during his one and only race run – a big shame and he was absolutely devastated by it. 🙁
Just how big was it? Well, the photo below shows one of the Unior Tools riders (either Reece Wilson or Ruaridh Cunningham, it’s a bit hard to tell from this distance 😉 ). At the position he’s in, he’s still over the road. You can’t quite get a scale for how truly big it is unless you’re standing on the take-off – it’s MASSIVE!
Above, Ruaridh Cunningham, riding for Unior Tools, coming into the finish arena straight into first place!
Below, Joe Smith, riding for Chain Reaction Cycles, looking a bit out of breath after his race run – it’s not an easy race, that’s for sure.
Finally, couldn’t resist adding some “camera porn” – there were loads of photographers and videographers at the event, so keep an eye on the usual places over the next week or two for photos and videos, including some drone footage – the DJI Inspire 1 was buzzing overhead at one point. It’s a beast!
Chief photographer and videographer for Ride Your Damn Bike. Can also be found on a bike - usually on an uplift, but occasionally on an XC trail.