It’s Fort William British Downhill Series this weekend and a chance for elite teams to warm up for the World Cup in three weeks.
words by Jamie Edwards, photos by Ian Lean
This morning we saw Danny Hart’s 29″ Mondarker Summum and heard about how little he cares about big wheel hype.
Also on big wheels was, you guessed it, Gee Atherton. Gee was running a stealth black Trek Session and keeping a pretty low profile. The Atherton’s were tight lipped about the bike and refusing to comment anything about it. Gee made a swift exit from the pits and didn’t hang about for any questions.
Gee’s riding on track did plenty of talking though – he was absolutely flippin tapped. We watched him ride the top section from the board walk down to the steep, gnarly rocks and he was definitely on a different level. Loads of speed and some big, rough lines. Sunday will be the judge of what that translates to on the clock though!
Also spotted in the pits was Rachel’s bike fitted out with the Atherton’s new telemetry system. The team have done plenty of testing in the past but have now invested in their own equipment to help them refine their racing even more closely.
I grabbed team manager Dan Brown for a quick chat:
So there’s a bike in your pits with a load of stuff strapped to it. What is it mate?
It’s a telemetry system!
Whose bike is it?
Uh … I dunno. Who’s bike is it? Oh it’s Rach’s.
So what are you guys doing with it?
Well – we’ve been using telemetry quite a bit over the off season. Two different systems. One with Trek and one with Fox. Both times we’ve used it it’s given us some really good information that’s really helped move us forward with bike set up. So – we’ve bought our own system and we’re going to crack on and try it. We’re working with the guys at Aim UK to improve the boys knowledge of the system so that we can use it ourselves without having to get in experts. It seems good so far.
So is that the next level of pro racing?
Yeah. Now I see what the system can do I can’t believe how long it’s taken us to click. Every other sport that’s using against the clock is a similar system. In motor sport you’d get laughed out of the bloody pits if you didn’t have telemetry on your car or you motorbike. I guess it’s next level and shows the next level of the sport.
You probably can’t say too much but what sort of things can you take from the system. What sort of improvements have they helped you make?
Um …. (laughs). Oh, ok. I can tell you that in the Fox test they’ve got a really good set up. The guys have been using the system for a while and they know what they’re doing which is the biggest help.
What we want it for is so that we can get to the right set up sooner and for less effort for the rider.