2016 has been one hell of a year for mountain biking and we’re going to run through our picks for the top standout moments from the last 12 months.
Pete, Jamie and Dave bring you their picks of the absolute best moments from the World of mountain biking in the year. Here goes nothing!
1. Laurie Greenland’s World Champs Finals Run.
Laurie’s run at this year’s World Champs in Val di Sol was the run that made everyone wake up. To say that the course had been making it tough for riders would be a massive understatement, but Laurie looked to be well in control and pushing on. He would arrive at the finish a full 8.5 seconds up on Florent Payet, then in the hot seat. More of this please!
2. Anne-Caro Returns to Riding.
Anne-Caroline Chausson’s return to riding bikes did nothing but put a smile on our faces. The 19 times World Champion and BMX Olympian set the standard for the rest of the ladies field to follow, and made the guys up their game in the process. Truly a legend we were glad to see back on a push iron.
3. Sam Hill Wins Valberg.
After a fairly lacklustre downhill season, and missing a spot on the Aussie World Champs team, Sam Hill turned his attention to the Enduro World Series. A 2nd overall spot in Ireland showed his potential mid-season, but many would have thought this might just be another downhiller lacking the pace for World Cups, sidling into enduro. Thankfully, that was not to be the case, and after a titanic battle with Nico Vouilloz, he emerged victorious in Valberg. Is there anything better than watching an on-form Sam Hill charging?
4. Stevie Smith Memorial Run, Fort William.
2016 saw the tragic loss of Canadian downhill legend Stevie Smith in a motocross accident. The mountain bike community is the best going, and the Fort William World Cup saw 70+ riders taking to the hill to remember the man himself. #LongLiveChainsaw.
5. Bernard Kerr Wins Red Bull Hardline.
Red Bull Hardline has continued to push the boundaries of what is possible on a downhill bike. When it looked like Ruaridh Cunningham would sneak another win, making it two in a row, Bernard Kerr delivered a fast, aggressive, yet inch perfect run to steal the day a whisker ahead of Cunningham.
6. Anything by Josh Lewis
There was a time when Josh Lewis was ‘just’ a bike rider. He did some races, he got some OK results and that was that. In the last year or so though, Noz has completely discovered his super power – that is, creating disgustingly low-fi and wild as all hell video edits. And thank god. The era of the overly-produced, voiced-over, big budget video has passed and what we’ve got instead is awesome. More please boys!
7. Print not only being ‘not dead’ … but being alive and kicking
2015 was a shitty year for print. Magazines were fading left, right and centre. Click bait was booming. But 2016 came along and loads of cool projects popped up and proved the love for print.
I don’t think there was a mountain biker in the country that didn’t feel the tragedy of Martyn Ashton’s injury in 2013. We followed his recovery, we saw him back on a bike but we never imagined he’d actually ride a proper mountain bike on a proper track again …
… but, out of nowhere, Martyn was on the bike and rode the Fort William World Cup track in 2016. It was absolutely incredible. What a legend. Martyn – you’re the man.
Jeeeeeesus christ, LooseFest is massive! This year’s Fest was another year of pushing the limits of what people should be doing on bikes. Huge jumps, huge style, huge tricks. Not only that but we saw our mates Joel Anderson and Jasper Flashman throwing down at the events and proving they can cut it with the best in the world. More for 2017 please!
10. Rosie Holdsworth the only lady to win a race Rachel Atherton entered in 2016.
2016 was the perfect year for Rachel Atherton. She won every World Cup and took the World Champs in Italy (ok … she didn’t win every qualie, but we can let that slide). Her undefeated run lasted until the ladies Fox Hunt in the Lake District this autumn. Our lady correspondent Rosie Holdsworth would be the only person to stand at the top step in a race that Rachel Atherton entered in 2016. Winning!
11. Danny Hart wins World Champs
How could we ever talk about 2016 without mentioning this one?! Danny won World Champs way back in 2011 but never quite managed to pull it together since then. 2016 he proved it was no accident by claiming his second World Champs title with an absolutely blistering run … with almost 3 seconds up on second place. More please Danny!
12. Brandon Semenuk’s Raw 100
There were a lot of impressive vids in 2016 … but Semenuk’s Raw100 was the one that really stood out for us. The noise of tyres on dirt, an insanely pristine track and that utterly beautiful whip to tail whip. Lovely!
13. Danny Mac’s WeeDay Out
There was just something so perfect about Danny’s Wee Day Out. It had the nailed-it combo of not taking itself in the least bit seriously whilst also dropping some of the most heavy weight riding you’ll see all year. Danny proved again that he’s not just big time … he’s also a technical genius and one of the World’s top bike riders. A vid for aficionados and people who don’t give the least of a stuff about bikes. Chapeau Danny!
What did we miss? Do our favourites match yours? Will 2017 be as good a year as 2016? Only time will tell.