THE GRAND FINAL. 2016 British Downhill Series final – Llangollen

The 2016 Shimano British Downhill Series final

One Giant Leap, Llangollen

Photos by Ian Lean / Words by Jamie Edwards
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The grand final. 5 rounds, 6 months, thousands of miles on the road. The last race of the year and the last chance for the UK’s fastest racers to beat the clock, beat their mates, beat whatever it is that makes them travel the length and breadth of the UK week-in, week-out to race bikes.

The final race of 2016 was Llangollen – a British classic. Fast, gnarly, steep, loose. A rider’s favourite. The perfect end to another brilliant season of British racing.

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Irishman Jacob Dickson stepped up to elite from Junior this year and has scored some damn solid results. Fresh back from World Champs his season finished with an 8th place.

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The sun blazed all weekend and the track was dusty, loose and made for ragged racing and stunning photos. As conditions go, they couldn’t have been better for a downhill final. Here’s Joe Connell about to drop into the finish. See you in Malaga this winter, Joe?

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Young gun Kade Edwards has had an almost clean sweep in Youth this year, but couldn’t quite take the win from Scotsman Henry Kerr. He’s fast, he’s stylish and the Athertons have got his back. Look out for more of him. Sorry Henry Kerr, we didn’t get a photo of you at this round!

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Team Wideopenmag’s gnarly Charlie! Charlie Hatton has earned his stripes on Wideopenmag and race World Cups and World Champs this year. Hard work and talent paid off this weekend with the overall junior series win. Well done buddy!

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This year saw the cost of racing jacked up to £95 – from an already steep £75. The idea was to reduce the number of riders and free up space on track and space on the uplift. Did it work? There were certainly less riders this year … and this photo shows the rest. The days of queuing the length of the field seem to be over. For better or worse, the uplift seems to be running on time and riders are getting their time on the hill.

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Red dog! Jack Reading was having a blast all weekend – he was flying from his very first timed practice run and flying through to finals. He couldn’t quite take the overall series win … but he scored fastest time of the day.

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We’re going to miss FMD’s Kaos Seagrave this winter. He’s always great fun to banter in the pits and to watch tear downhill tracks to pieces! 5th on the day for Kaos.

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eOne Sixty Carbon

Of course, it was the Strider bike race that was the weekend’s fiercest competition. The Strider Bike team brought along tonnes of kid’s bikes, hijacked the final straight of the race track and set the young guns to battle. It was awesome. No idea who won but #6 was PINNED!

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With half of the elite field either AWOL or at Hardline there were scant few big guns. Peaty however, true to form, was on track and giving the British Downhill Series his seal of approval. It’ll be a sad day when Steve isn’t on the hill … but rumour has it that day isn’t happening any time soon. Cheers Peaty!
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Marc Beaumont had a tough weekend at the last race – he scored the win via a rerun and took a bit of shit online as a result. He was clearly on track for a straight-up win but had to settle for a 3rd place. Not bad for a guy that was a full time GMBN presenter at the start of the year!

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Tahnee flippin Seagrave. Had any of the other fast females turned up she would still have been in with a very serious shot at the win. But with Manon injured and Rachel at Hardline it was hers for the taking. By a full flippin 28 seconds. Madness.

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Matt Simmonds with the #2 plate in 2nd place. Despite crossing the line just 0.6 of a second behind Jack Reading it was enough to take the overall series win.

2016 Elite male Series top 3

  1. Matt Simmonds
  2. Marc Beaumont
  3. Phil Atwill

2016 Elite female series top 3

  1. Manon Carpenter
    2. Jess Greaves
    3. Lucy Drees

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… and thank you!

A massive, massive thanks to all of you for following our race stories throughout 2016. It’s been a blast covering the British Downhill Series for you guys and seeing how stoked you are on racing.

Thanks to Ian Lean and Luke Hough – our roving reporters. They’ve worked their asses off in rain, sleet and snow. They’ve driven thousands of miles and then edited photos and videos late into the night. They deserve a huge high five – thank you guys, awesome work!

And last but not least, thank you to Si Paton and all of our friends at the British Downhill Series (including all those awesome marshalls!). You guys make racing happen in the UK, you create talented young racers and you give old buggers something to do that isn’t DIY with their weekends. You are absolute bloody heroes. Thank you all.

And that’s it for 2016. The British Downhill Series is wrapped up, the World Cup is won and World Champs is in the bag. There’s one final British Enduro Series race at Innerleithen and then we’re into the winter.

Cheers!

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