That's a wrap people! Another year, another Hardline completed. We were lucky enough to catch some of the riders for a quick interview before the celebrations started!Bernard Kerr
Bernard, another win, that’s three now – how does it feel?
It honestly feels unreal man. I’m very, very happy and stoked the week's over.
Where do you think is the easiest part of this track?
Easiest part is definitely the finish line for me. The last grass straight after the final jump, that is pretty easy and I really like that.
What about the toughest part?
Either the small waterfall jump, I find it really hard to judge, or the rock section before the road gap. It’s super hard, you've got to be very precise there.
What do you enjoy riding here the most?
That’s a real hard one, I really like the dirty ferns. Oh and the new step-down into the dirty ferns.
Where do you think it’s won or lost here?
Everywhere. It’s all technical stuff, honestly, I almost lost it at the bottom, on the road gap I blew a foot and I normally have a good bottom section but I almost lost it there, so I’d say that bottom technical section.
A different weekend without any spectators here, how have you found today?
It's been really good actually. I've really enjoyed it and we’ve been lucky with the weather. The course has been superb. Everyone's gone above and beyond to make sure all the riders are happy and I can't thank these guys enough for putting on the event, it's great to be back.
Do you think it’s been an advantage having been here before?
You could say that but now a lot of guys have watched it and are doing big stuff/features. I wouldn't say it is as much of an advantage as it used to be, of course, it is a bit don’t get me wrong, but everyone helps each other and everyone’s progress is very quick. A couple of days and people are already getting comfy with the track.
What would you say is the easiest part of this track?
That's a tough question. None of it's easy to be honest. Maybe the Road Gap: it's straight, no brakes, no pulling . . . nothing.
What about the toughest part?
Just mentally for me completing the whole course. Linking everything together and trying to maintain flow in between all the tech and nailing the run is the hardest bit for sure. I couldn't pick one part.
Is there any bit you enjoy most?
Probably the Cannon. I love that metal ramp, it's absolutely amazing! Then into that new drop off - it's a sick section, you get this sense of euphoria as you do it. It's bizarre. It's so good.
Where do you think it'll be won or lost today?
Definitely in the technical parts. The jumps are very limited speed-wise, then out of the gate to the Cannon would be a key section and again the road gap to the entrance of the field.
What would say is the easiest part of this track?
There’s not that much which is easy but I would have to say it’s the last traverse where you pump a little bit before turning left and coming out of the woods, obviously that's the only place that you can have a breather and still try and hide if you're racing. You've got to work it hard, but technically it's not that hard. So that's the only easy part really.
What's the hardest bit?
It's a hard one because the jumps are huge, they're hard to judge with the wind and how fast you're going when you're racing because you’re hitting a different speed. For this year I would have to say the new drop after the middle ramp because you’re coming in, braking and you don't often brake enough so it's a hard one to judge.
Which part do you enjoy riding the most?
I like big jumps that are not kicky so this actually suits me pretty well. To be honest, I was loving the middle ramp this year with the big, mellow transition.
Where do you think the race is won or lost on this track?
I feel like it's won or lost in the same places, so the technical parts are where it's won, but that's also where you can lose it. Many people would think the jumps but you only really hit them at one certain speed, you can slightly scrub them or squash them a little bit, but it's won or lost in the technical parts.
Do you think it makes a difference if you’re back multiple years?
100%. It makes a difference coming back year after year. It was five years ago when I last came here. This year, just having way more practice days to ride it, I was able to attack a lot more this morning before the mechanical which sadly stopped me racing. But the more years you come here, the more comfortable you are with the jumps. You don't have to stress about the technical aspects because you know how they ride.
What do you think is the easiest bit of the track?
Crossing the finish line.
What do you think is the hardest section?
The new drop just because it's so blind, you don't know what your speed is coming through. Anyone can hit a jump knowing what the gravity speed is but hitting it on the brakes, it's such an unknown, so getting that ticked off is amazing.
What did you enjoy the most?
Crossing the finish line.
Where do you think it is won or lost here?
Because of the nerves all you think about is ticking off feature after feature but there are the bits in-between that you kind of just roll through while thinking about what's coming next. The fast guys, on the other hand, focus on those in-between sections and make it work, and that's where it is won or lost.
You've been here a few times now, do you think it gets easier the more you come?
No, it's terrifying. Crossing the finishing line is honestly the best feeling in the whole world. I hate the whole week but love it at the same time - it's the best week of my life and I'm just so happy to make it down safe.
What part of the track do you find the easiest?
It's hard to say what the easiest section is because then it's like: is it a feature or not? But I'd say a lot of the long and low jumps are quite easy. They’re huge but they're not like insanely techy, so I'd say the cannon out the woods and the bottom jump I find quite easy in that sense. The bottom jump gets hard when you get fatigued and your fingers can't hold on anymore, that’s quite scary.
What’s the hardest part of the track?
I find the little technical bits in between really hard. After you brake for the step down, it goes into a stumpy section and that’s so difficult because you have such an adrenalin rush and then you have to finesse between some roots/stumps else you end up clipping a pedal. Oh and those rock drops at the end, you land SO hard! When all you want to do is rest you’re smashing yourself.
What do you find the most fun to ride?
I'd say that big step up into the metal kicker. It's quite nice and predictable, I feel like I'm on an FMX bike.
Where do you think the race was won or lost on this track today?
Probably the first section before you get into the woods, and that stupid droppy section on the way to the bottom, because all of those features you have to hit at a certain speed. All week we've been practising at that speed, and then race day comes and you scrub into them, it doesn't really work! Those critical sections are so hard because you just end up slamming your face on the bars.
So it's your first time here. How hard is it first time out?
A lot harder than I expected! I wanted to come here and be flipping some stuff, doing some suicide no handers, but I think they made the features bigger, and when I got here all of those thoughts went rapidly out of my head. I immediately got onto the train of thought of ‘let's just ride this’. If you consider it to be a free ride event, it's not that insane, but if you consider it to be a downhill track, it is absolutely mental! It's wild top to bottom, which is cool.
What do you find easiest on the track today?
Honestly, the big wooden ramp is easiest because you come really slow in and it's consistent every time.
What do you find the hardest?
The in-between sections, some of the rock gardens. The rock garden before the road gap is, for me, the hardest section. It’s so unpredictable, I hit it different every time.
Which section do you enjoy riding the most?
Definitely the cannon out of the woods was truly wicked this year. They did a good job.
Where do you think it's won or lost on this track?
Do you know what, honestly, in between the features. All the features you have to hit at one speed but it's all about how you carry speed in between.
One last thing is it true you rode with your pants undone most of the track?
Yeah, what an idiot! I forgot to do my buttons up and just had my zipper done up. So as I pedalled my zipper came down and I ended up doing my whole run trying to pull my pants back up – rookie error!