The Danny Hart Attack

Sep 8, 2011 at 11:00
Sep 8, 2011
by Alasdair MacLennan  
 
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Fort William 2010...

Fort William 2010...


Any World Championship is a big event, but in 2011 it seemed that the level of interest and expectation heading into Champery was bigger than ever. Gwin’s record breaking five wins from seven world cups was unprecedented, especially as Minnaar had been the only other rider to mop up the remainder of the first places. Without a doubt the favourite, the pressure was on for Aaron and it seemed as though it was his race to lose. Yet if you believed the speculation there were quarters suggesting that he was lacking in the technical skill to pull it out of the bag on such a challenging track. But that was rubbish, as the greatest rider of 2011 and winning the World Cup overall he’s already proven that he is more than capable. But 2011 has been more than the year of Gwin, it’s been the year that the young guns threw caution to the wind and stamped their indelible mark on the old guard. No longer is it just a few names at the top of the time sheets for below the American have been a whole host of others who’ve upped their game massively.

Fort William World Cup 2011 - Pictures Copyright Ian MacLennan 2011.

...Fort William 2011


None more so of course than Danny Hart. A low key race in Pietermaritzburg was followed up by an explosion of energy at Fort William from start to finish. It was an explosion which left him on the second step of the podium. Loose. Wild. A screaming ball of fire; he drifted his way through corner after corner and made seemingly ever more lairy moves stick. And since then he’s never been out of the top ten, the Giant rider picking up second in the final round at Val di Sole to cement his 4th place overall. Not bad for a rider in only his second year out of Junior. Behind all this though a storm was brewing; hope of a good result at Champery meaning a top five, maybe a top three if it all went well. Then, after Val di Sole, and the confidence that everyone knew the second place to Gwin would have given Danny, that hope began to move to quiet expectation. Could he really do it?

Danny Hart is most definitely a threat to derail other riders dreams of glory he performs well under pressure and his ability to both see lines and his willingness to take chances make him damn near a lock for podium.

Colin Meagher captures Danny in action at La Bresse.


Second in timed practice may not have been the perfect indication of things to come, but it certainly made the heart beat a little faster in anticipation of Sunday. But then came the rain. Always a house of cards at Champery, it once again crumbled at the worst possible moment. With practice dry and dusty all week it was now the turn of the wet weather specialists, the riders who thrive on terrible conditions and challenging tracks. To the Brits this meant the better chance for one of their own; for the Americans their chance to prove that Gwin can ride mud and technical. The rain was coming down heavy overnight and kept the track wet, easing off for the Juniors and in doing so giving them the best conditions to be seen all day. From then on though it was like being stuck under a shower head except it was an alpine sized one, dousing everything in its path with a deluge of water. With the pits a sea of umbrellas the racing was underway. Times were falling, but then so was the rain, which led to times being wildly variable as rider after rider lost traction and hit the ground hard. Heavier rain now, and the last twenty riders. Spagnolo smashed a 3:53 run and for a while it looked like he could hold on for a blistering result, a similar situation to previous races here, as rider after rider failed to match his time in the ever worsening conditions. Down to 4th last in the gate and it was Hart, patriotic to the last, the GB jersey matched with red, white and blue trousers, it was his turn to try his hand at slaying the beast of Champery.

Unreal. The kid s been knocking on the door all season long and on the one day he needed to shine he blazed 11.699 seconds faster than anyone else

The crowd were electric, the suspense sliceable with a knife, the rain falling harder and the spectators beginning to shake with excitement. What could the young lad from Redcar do in these atrocious conditions? Hopes were fading. Then BAM. Visibly quicker than anyone on the big screen he literally smashed the first split with a five second advantage. No-one had expected that. Memories of Sam Hill in ’07 came flooding back, Kovarik earlier in Fort William ’02 too, was this going to be a run that legends are made of? With everyone whispering ‘don’t throw it away, don’t throw it away’, the run was so intense, so inch perfect. The slides perfectly timed, perfectly held, his own lines through the trees and esses, the electricity was virtually dancing in the air down in the pits. There was no way he could hold this together though was there? It looked like he was riding at 110%, but then that was the same in Fort William and Val di Sole. This was intentional. BAM BAM. Ten seconds up at the second split. How was he holding this shit together? The cheering deafening, the intensity of the support mesmerizing, everyone knew there was something special going on under the stormy Swiss skies this day. BAM BAM BAM, the biggest whip of the weekend off the double, doesn’t he realize this is the run of his life and he’s on a push bike not a 'crosser? The crowd were going mental, the final sprint to the finish was all he needed. 11.699 seconds? Warner was having seizures, Danny's dad the same. Just three to go now. First Gee, but quickly it became one to forget as things went from bad to worse. Then Minnaar, but again there was failure to perform. Gwin the only one left now, he too smashing the top section just under a second down on Danny at the first split. But then disaster, drifting wide into a section of wood and getting caught in the catch netting, it was all over. The realization of a dream sinking in for one rider, the realization of a nightmare for the other.

Spagnolo 2 Hart 1 and Blenki 3

To see someone you’ve ridden with for years achieve the ultimate goal was spell-binding. At just 19 Danny had achieved in as many years of being alive as Steve Peat had virtually spent trying. In conditions far worse than those of the earlier riders the dominance was unbelievable, a fairy tale of epic proportions, a story that’s going down in the history books of downhill. There were tears on the cheeks of many, not least those of his parents, Sue & Paul, who’ve supported him every step of the way. To those that know them this wasn’t just one day, this was the culmination of nearly ten years of sacrifice, effort and talent, hundreds of thousands of miles driven and flown across the world, the good days and the bad. And it was worth it all, every penny and every hour. Number one in the world. From here on he is the 2011 Downhill World Champion, the little kid from the north of England who for years had ridden virtually every race that there was to be ridden in the UK, big and small. And despite the inescapable pressure of the expectation heaped upon his shoulders he just rode his bike in the only way he knew. The week before all he’d wanted to do was ride with friends from back home in Morzine and was virtually first in the queue for every practice session in Champery. No pretension here, just a kid who loves riding.

This one goes to Danny of course, but to Sue and Paul too for the years of dedication. You all earned it, now go and enjoy it.

whip contest on crabapple hits whistler bike park during crankworx 2011.

Playing around in Whistler between races, this shot by Sterling Lorence shows Danny Hart's style in a nutshell.



Relive the run here
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119 Comments

  • + 151
 Personally I don't he would have won without the whip! Well not literally, but I think the whip opitamises the fact he was just having fun on his bike - he was there to enjoy that run, win or lose and I think that's how he managed to shake the pressure and stay loose, which here was clearly the key to success! Possibly the best piece of DH riding the world has ever seen! I can't wait for next year's WC!
  • + 4
 exactly what i'm think! Wink
  • + 65
 haha the commentator at the end "how can Danny sit down with balls that big"!! hahaha
  • + 15
 Danny's Hart's name is sure to go down in bike history forever. So glad we can relive the most amazing moment in DH history with this wicked video
  • + 13
 HART ATTACK!!!!
  • - 8
flag frdh (Sep 8, 2011 at 13:11) (Below Threshold)
 might chop my own balls off if someone posts yet ANOTHER comment about danny hart having too big of balls to sit.
  • + 13
 frdh - yeah, i mean it's not like he did anything amazing that day, he was only TWELVE seconds faster than any other rider on the track... know what i mean?
  • + 27
 @frdh "how can Danny sit down with balls that big!".. give my condolences to your partner / furture partner. Razz
  • + 8
 i have watched that video probably 10 times now
  • - 30
flag frdh (Sep 8, 2011 at 14:38) (Below Threshold)
 @sam264, My comment had nothing to do with your retarded response. Did I ever say the run was average/not amazing? No. I watched it live, you don't have to explain the run that I re-watched at least 15 times at this point, I have eyes. Maybe you should acquire a brain?
  • + 4
 @airsoftes ... only ten times?
  • + 38
 @frdh your sick of people saying danny hart has big balls? finally you can begin to imagine how a year of americans comments of "gwinning" and "america f*ck yeah" and "USA USA USA" pissed everyone off!!
  • - 68
flag MadMax883 Plus (Sep 8, 2011 at 15:38) (Below Threshold)
 Anyone find that announcer completely annoying?
  • + 9
 got goosebumps watching it again
  • + 4
 Shut up with the patriotism. They're both rad.
  • + 12
 madmax - rob warner is BADASS Razz
  • - 18
flag rffr (Sep 8, 2011 at 17:49) (Below Threshold)
 Andy, like Brits can talk. We have heard GB GB GB GB, and Steve Peat etc for MANY years. For once you had to hear Americans squak with their pride. Get over it. We didn't piss anyone off. You didn't hear any Americans bitching and moaning at the brits for the 5 or so years GB dominated the scene did you?

Btw... nice comment "togoodtodie - he is the best rider in the world, fact. gwin bailed on the day, showing he didnt have the skill level required on that track to hold it down and win, and i'd say that track in those conditions is a pretty good test of who has world champ skills!! And 11 seconds is hardly a disputable victory! "

Seems you think someone isn't good enough or have enough skill, but let's put it this way andy... Gwin rocked enough races to seal the season well before the season was over. If Heart had more skill, why didn't he win more races? Steve Peat has won the WC, and at the World Championship he didn't even podium, but, no one said well peaty didn't have enough skill. See how hypocritical your comments are now?
  • + 39
 JUST FORGET ABOUT THE DAMN COUNTRIES AND SEE THE RIDERS !!! WE ARE ALL HUMANS !!! JUST HUMANS !!!!
  • + 9
 Think of the starvin' children
  • + 5
 @syncro that's one of the smartest comments anyone has ever said on Pinkbike, ever.
  • + 14
 "JUST FORGET ABOUT THE DAMN COUNTRIES AND SEE THE RIDERS !!! WE ARE ALL HUMANS !!!


JUST HUMANS !!!!" ...... Well apart from Danny Hart obviously.
  • + 2
 agree 100%
  • - 1
 bloody canadians with their human rights bull, jokes Smile
  • - 4
flag bikounet (Sep 9, 2011 at 7:31) (Below Threshold)
 The guys screaming in the back make me crazy... Come on... okay, you can scream when he's wipping, when you see him going fast in super hard section, but those guys are screaming ALL the f*cking time...
By the way, well done Danny Smile
  • + 3
 Every time i watch this i get goosebumbs aha.......most amazing moment of my life, and of the sport Big Grin
  • + 1
 DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT SIZE DANNY RIDES?? MEDIUM??
  • + 18
 thats a chunk of words and a half
  • - 13
flag downhill-jack (Sep 8, 2011 at 11:03) (Below Threshold)
 That last photo should be POD, wicked behaviour.
  • + 21
 it has been POD....
  • + 37
 It should be POD again...
  • + 10
 according to the announcers Danny Hart needs to stay on his bike. I think he listened
  • + 10
 My english is not perfect, i thought it said: dannys heart attack... and i was like :O
  • + 4
 "DANNY STAY ON YOUR BIKE!!!! OH MY GOD!!!"...... Nice.....
  • + 3
 Sorry, didn't mean to neg prop you. Stupid phone!
  • + 1
 don't worry hahaha always happens to me also.
  • + 13
 Ali this write up is as legendary as the run itself. It too brought a tear to my eye. Watching it I was havin babies just like warner. Well done Danny.
  • + 6
 What a year for mountain biking. Possibly the most dominant World Cup Season ever by Gwin and then the most pinner single run ever, IN A MONSOON, to win the World Champs by Hart. Helmets off to both of them.
  • + 4
 Good article. Great article! If I am not mistaking, I do recall that the intensity and duration of the rain in fact made the track better (i.e.) grippier as the day progressed. This is contrary to what you have written. Anyway, nice short read. Thanks for sharing. Excellent job "danger man" Danny! Next May is going to be an awesome start for sure.
  • + 4
 The rain would have made some parts of the track grippier, but others would have deteroriated further. There was also decreasing visibility and more splash-up from the increasingly wetter track. Well done Danny, a historical run.
  • + 1
 I here you on that too. For me, adhesion is primordial.
  • + 9
 may i commend you on the admittedly slightly dodgy but utterly fantastic use of primordial
  • + 2
 I think it was a difficult one as in some places it made the track run better but in the main it was more slippery and there was a lot less margin for error as anything out of the rut was virtually unrideable. Visibility too was horrendous, in the video you only see a few of the many tear-off's that the last riders were pulling during their runs.
  • + 3
 loved the race, loved 'that whip' and big congrats to hart on the win, definitely deserves it after the season he had... any thoughts on hills race though? having only ridden 3 times prior to heading to champery and arguably still a bung shoulder, 7th place and only 4s of second place. not too bad... looking forward to another epic season next year!
  • + 6
 Holly molly, the Scotland game is on, I canny read all that.
  • + 2
 that run is intense i have watched it over 30 times now i still cant belive the skill and that MEGA WHIP wtf how he stayed on and its just unspeakably fast. he just kept pulling his tearoffs at some really mad places too guys is mental but toatally deserves the win. well done danny you showed the world us brits are where its at.
  • + 2
 I feel like I just got done with the run the way my adrenaline is pumping after watching that! The run was pure skill and Warner just loosing it totally mimicked the awesomeness of Danny's run, he is a certified bad-a**. Throwing down the whip.....you kidding me, freakin great! Makes me want to go ride right now but I'm at work so i'll just have to watch this again.
  • + 1
 REIGN SUPREME DANNY!
that run was unbelievable . every time i watch it i feel so stoked .
the way the crowd freaks out , esp at the end - the feeling is crazy. if i was there i wouldn't have a voice for a year after that run....

When the Youth/ younger riders work so hard and start killing the tracks like this - best feeling .
well done . made my day!
  • + 6
 aaron who?
  • + 3
 Aaron Gwin I think is what you are looking for. He won 5 races this year. Ring a bell?
  • + 8
 Nope.
  • - 1
 child.
  • + 1
 I see the Americans yet again have a sense of humour failure You really are to serious and defensive It was meant in the way it makes a change for him not to be in the head lines But seen as you want to remind me I will tell you that 3 out of the last 4 male world champs have been English and a female just to put that in the mix as well. How ever Aaron is a legend but it's harts moment for now
  • + 0
 BRITISH mate, not English.
  • + 1
 HAHAHA, yea my comment represents the entire American population. I see that people named Jack have a hard time diferentiating 1 person from an entire nation. Oh, and by my comment history you can clearly see that I (America) take pinkbike very seriously!
  • + 1
 Ok British English @ Gibson dh your a jock and hate any 1 not Scottish don't be bitter

Some shit craic on pink bike lately people are far to serious about minor issues big up to Gwin and hart
  • + 1
 No no stick to English Razz
  • + 2
 A jock? So is Andy Murray Scottish? Nah, he's British..Scottish if he loses tho! But if someone competing for Britain is English they'll rarely be called British. It's bullshit
  • + 2
 Sounds like you guys have some serious social issues to discuss...
  • + 0
 I know some right girl bitching going on lol Well I've been to war a few times so he's the bitch ha
  • + 1
 Yeah im just taking the piss but there some English that hate the Scottish and there are some Scottish who hate the English
  • + 1
 I can't remember any run which makes me fell like this. Maybe Cam Zink's 360 drop last year in Rampage, maybe Sam Hill's run in Val di Sole during 2008 World Championship can be explained "nearly" like that. But Danny's one... damm, it was astounding. No words.
  • + 1
 wow look at the last pic,look how danny throw that cup over,so sick! glad to see a glory on the podium and of course danny,you really deserve the title,i though this year sam would be in podium but is not a good season for him at this moment,i hope more amazing runs next season,and i hope a clay porter season video,he's good ^^
  • + 2
 How does danny hart sit down with balls that big!?!?

Every time I watch his run, I can't help but have a huge grin on my face! He makes it look soooo damn easy.
  • + 1
 to rob warner sorry!!! now i know who you are it was just that vid could not understand the voice maybe it was the quality of vid sorry for that comment forgive me to all i upset stunt on!!
  • + 1
 Danny's run was awe inspiring. His skill, dedication, attitude and determination earned him the DH crown. He's an inspiration to many, even more so to a generation of young British guns. Leg-end.
  • + 3
 Legen...wait for it... dary!
  • + 2
 I suppose this means we're going to see TONS of Giant rigs @ the local races next season?

GREAT write-up and awesome story!
  • + 1
 Ha, go to Tahoe. I have never seen so many giants in my life. But, here in Colorado, every other kid has a new Demo.
  • + 1
 Man, i love this such an amazing run, id love to hear from some of the other riders what they thought of dannys run, insane watched it 20 times never gets old!
  • + 2
 Great to hear about Danny's folks and their hard work too! Danny the Legend!
  • + 1
 I was there to see it in person, that run was the best of all time and to be there an amazing experience, it definitely made up for the 8 hours of relentless rain and mud!!!!
  • + 1
 Goota give the guy the credit he deserves , he won that race by half way but still went hard , typical big British heart , well done
  • + 3
 IN THEWORDS OF WARNER, LOOOOOOOOOK AT THE WHIP.
  • + 2
 Awesome write up, fantastic pictures and a super human rider. Cant wait for next season Danny is gonna rip it BIG time.
  • + 2
 AWESOME! Great Article! Unbelievable Race Run! Best Commentating! Complete Emotional Entertainment!
  • + 3
 Awesome read, awesome images, awesome rider!
  • + 1
 epic run. hard not to get caught up in his run and in the moment with Warner going mental in the audio! just a great day for the sport. congrats Danny Hart!
  • + 1
 Danny Hart World Champion !!! ''God of Mud'' man, that was amazing... Almost 12 seconds ahead everybody, ISANE. That WHIP, awesome, huge, crazy, sick...
  • + 1
 Makes me wanna ride! I could only dream to be that good!!!! Amazing Danny
  • + 1
 I knew it was only a matter of time before the the moto cross-overs take over dh!
  • + 2
 Respect! oh and Giant RULES Smile
  • + 1
 Who'd want a corporate mountain bike mass produced in Taiwan? Me please!

Amazing Riding.
  • + 1
 when i saw the whip,i thought he was gonna stack...well done kid....TEAM GB
  • + 1
 Danny Hart you LEDGEND!! So glad you represent our country, Keep it up, Awsome job Smile
  • + 2
 ja pieprzę, Danny ale loto!
  • + 2
 Him and Gwin are taking over
  • + 6
 ..& brosnan.
  • + 1
 This.
  • + 1
 GWIN, HART, BROSNAN ARE TAKING OVER!
  • + 1
 cracking write up. could do with a few more words Helmet
  • + 1
 'How was he holding his shit together?'
  • + 1
 soooooooooooooooooo pinned! sounds like Rob warner is about to explode
  • + 1
 Whos'e that pinner ... wait its danny hart booooooooom !!! fast guy
  • + 1
 Awesome whip .. Amazing ride and truely deserved..
  • + 1
 he is like peaty no.2 what a legend
  • + 1
 wow, another chance to air that video....again
  • + 2
 one word, Rude!
  • + 1
 Danny champion of the world !! thats all..
  • + 1
 Wow!!! He made that look like childs play! Good on him!
  • + 1
 is that blue oil on his stanchons in one of the pics
  • + 1
 I believe that's just the way the light reflects off of the oil. Like gasoline in a mud puddle.
  • + 2
 Great write up
  • + 2
 magical.
  • + 1
 this guy is gonna be a new SH like Troy Brosnan on next future...
  • + 1
 now everybody has a new Heart!
  • + 1
 Next season with No Rob Warner commentating!!! WTF!!!!
  • + 1
 Is that true? I didn't know
  • + 2
 Clipped in FTW
  • + 1
 What bike is he ridding?
  • + 1
 sick youth!
  • + 1
 whatta beast!
  • + 1
 danny and is glory!!
  • + 1
 Legend
  • + 1
 @ stunt99; you douche.
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