Gee and Rachel Atherton are riding high on double World Cup victories at Fort William and Val di Sole. Can they “Do the double” once more in front of a local crowd?
And can Marc Beaumont and Taylor Vernon regain their form of earlier in the season after their respective crashes in Italy 2 weeks ago?
The British Downhill Series is probably the world’s most prestigious and once again we’re expecting a field stacked with World Cup contenders – it promises to be a great weekend’s racing, well worth a trip to come and watch if you can.
Riders: Gee Atherton, Marc Beaumont, Rachel Atherton, Taylor Vernon
Mechanics: Piotr Michaliszyn, Mark Maurissen, Andy Lund
Bikes: The team will be riding the new GT Force which has served them so well in the BDS and World Cups this season.
Race guide:The course is short but steep and technical – falling over 300 m in about a kilometre and a half . As well as and rocks and roots the competitors will have to deal with several large jumps and berms. Expect winning times of about 2 minutes 10 seconds.
Fridays rain showers are forecast to clear leaving a dry but cloudy day for Saturday with temperatures of about 17 degrees. Sunday should be sunny and dry.
Gee and Rachel are both leading the world rankings. And both have had victories in the 2013 BDS Series this year (Gee won at Combe Sydenham with 2nd at Innerliethan and Fort William. Rachel won at Combe Sydenham and Innerliethan missing Fort William to recover from a Sea Otter spill.) Llangollen is local to Atherton HQ and the team have all raced here before.
Marc has had a solid BDS so far – 3rd to Gee at Combe Sydenham, 5th Fort William and 7th Innerliethan.
Taylor will be hoping to recapture his BDS form after two disappointing World Cup runs which ended with puncture and a crash respectively. He won at Combe Sydenham on his first outing with the team, came 2nd at Fort William and 5th at Innerliethan (despite a crash).
Current situation – team perspectives
Gee: “I’m up for it. Val di Sole already seems a long time ago. You can’t dwell on how you’ve done in past races, good or bad, every races brings its own unique set of challenges, it’s about what we can deliver right now.”
Rachel: “I’m looking forward to a chilled weekend’s racing after the manic last few world cups! Racing at home is always chilled out and the Llangollen track is so steep and so much fun, I love it there so it’s going to be a good weekend… it’s literally 5 minutes from my mum’s house too so that’s cool too.”
Taylor: “Can’t wait to get back on it. I’m quite pleased with the BDS so far, let’s hope this weekend’s a good one.”
Marc: “Weather looks good and I’m pleased that quite a few of my friends from home will be around – let’s hope I can get some good results here “