The Interview: Dan Atherton - Red Bull Hardline 2015

Sep 9, 2015
by Fraktiv  


Dan Atherton preparing the course of Red Bull Hard Line in Dinas Mawddwy United Kingdom on the 28th of August 2015. Red Bull Content Pool.

Red Bull Hardline with Jeep, returns to the hills of Mid-Wales this weekend and this time it’s not shrouded in secrecy. With spectators invited to attend (although now all tickets have been sold), 20 of the world’s best riders have been invited to ride Dan Atherton’s construction that promises to be bigger, more technical and all in all gnarlier than the 2014 edition.

Last year’s racetrack was one of the most demanding ever seen, pushing the world’s best to their limits. Remember Dan Atherton's helmet-cam run? Huge rock gardens, giant slab rolls, tight wood sections, technical natural features and the now infamous road gap created a track to push mountain biking up a level and this year promises to raise the bar once again.

We caught up with the brains behind the event - Dan Atherton - about the design and build of the track, and what's in store for riders and fans attending from the sideline.

Dan Atherton preparing the course of Red Bull Hard Line in Dinas Mawddwy United Kingdom on the 22nd of July 2015. Red Bull Content Pool.

What has been your inspiration for this year's Hardline?

To make last year’s Hardline even better. We’re racers and so naturally we want to push things and design the hardest race there’s ever been. The inspiration comes from the land, the mountain. The minute I saw the location with the waterfall towering over everything I knew it would be awesome.

How long has it taken you to design and build?

This time round three months, last year we had six weeks. In a way that’s helped but in a way, a compressed, concentrated time was better. No racing, no distractions.

What sort of things do you have to consider when creating these massive jumps?

The landing! This year the jumps are bigger but they feel safer. The landings are now bigger with more margin for error. I wanted the riders to feel challenged but able to rise to meet that challenge. Every rider has types of terrain that they love to ride, some like to ride gnarly rock gardens, some like mud, some are happiest on the big jumps. Hopefully there’s something for everyone here.

What was your most memorable moment from last year's Hardline?

I loved the camaraderie of our first day’s practice, all these guys who’d usually be rivals riding together, sectioning the course, it felt like a jam.

Who have you got coming to Hardline?

I'm stoked that our team-mates Taylor Vernon and Martin Maes are both going to ride. Joe Smith and Gareth 'Gaz' Brewin were last year’s ‘guinea-pigs’ with the balls to come back for more! Gee of course, he’s still gutted about his Finals run so he’ll be wanting to show just how fast he can ride this thing. Others include Kye Forte, Lluis Lacondeguy, Matt Simmonds, and Remi Thirion. One of the things I love about Hardline is the mix of disciplines. Downhill, BMX, Enduro... It doesn't matter, it’s just about the best riders.

How big is your build team?

Not as big as you’d think! Olly Davey has been up there in all weathers and all hours, then there’s me and Gaz Brewin on the machines and I guess about 10 of us on and off taking turns to shovel mud!

What's the gnarliest feature on the course?

It’s not so much one gnarly feature as the intensity of features all the way down, one or two big jumps is easy enough but it’s the combination, no sooner are you clear of a jump than you’re into a rock garden, another jump, into the woods, a big hip… there’s no let up.

What's your favourite feature on the course?

It’s impossible to choose! It would be like asking "Which of your siblings do you like the best?" Some of the new stuff is pretty exciting, like the Renegade Step Up, or there’s a new bowl jump back into the woods, the Final Fly off always feels awesome, the Road Gap is cool - no, no way I can decide!

Dan Atherton performs during Red Bull Hardline in Welshpool UK on September 10th 2014 Sam Needham Red Bull Content Pool P-20141125-00128 Usage for editorial use only Please go to for further information.

Do you prefer building to riding competitively?

They’re different things. I build in order to challenge how I ride, to take myself out of my comfort zone, it’s not digging for its own sake. But similarly I probably compete for the same reasons, different events, new courses and being against the clock all challenge my riding in a different way. It’s the riding that I love.

Are there going to be any women riding the course?

No – I don’t think Rachel Atherton’s even tempted!

Last year there were no spectators allowed, but this year it's been opened up. What triggered the change?

Last year was kind of a test. We put everything together really fast and wanted to try things out for ourselves, it was such a new, unknown thing. The plan has always been to develop Hardline so that every year is bigger and better, not just in terms of the track but in how people can access the action. It’s way too special not to allow spectators. If I was watching I’d be checking out every inch of that track for the next great feature!

Images by Rutger Pauw/Red Bull Content Pool. Video by Red Bull Bike.

MENTIONS: @GTBicycles / @redbullbike


  • 252 3
 When do we get to see Claudio's course preview?
  • 8 100
flag RedBurn (Sep 9, 2015 at 14:01) (Below Threshold)
 Claudio can t jump this , no chicken ways here
  • 83 0
 Lol so Claudio is a chicken? Yeah because a guy who talks and rides wc tracks and sends it all on his first try is a chicken indeed.
  • 13 3
 It would be amazing to see the FEST team there!
  • 2 11
flag RedBurn (Sep 11, 2015 at 8:36) (Below Threshold)
 He stil wouldn t jump 80% of the jumps... It s like sending him to a fest event Smile but chill guys eh
  • 116 3
 Dan is definitely my favourite Atherton out of my three favourite Athertons, if theres one type of course I'd like to see Dan design it would be every type of course Dan would/will ever design. Also can we have a Dan Atherton bike park? I really want a Dan Atherton bikepark. it could be like a British Whistler, and instead of riders saying "WOAH DID YOU SEE THAT MOOSE/BEAR" riders would say "WOAH DID YOU SEE THAT SHEEP" how very epic.
  • 10 0
 My favourite's Mike
  • 93 0
 i read that wrong and got disappointed that a moosebear isnt an actual thing
  • 9 0
 @ianfear Give Dan a tonne of science and shit and I bet the Moosebear/Bearmoose will become a thing quicker than Southpark's Al Gore can say "ManBearPig!!"
  • 4 0
 My favourite's Farmer Jack!
  • 1 0
 I second that.
  • 52 5
 You got to wonder if Bryceland was invited after what happened with him and Gee.
  • 17 1
 So, what happened with him and Gee?
  • 4 1
 Do tell
  • 40 1
 ALLEGEDLY the rat waved his willy at gee, gee didn't like it (Quite rightly) and then the bear got stuck into Gee
  • 21 56
flag sooner518 (Sep 9, 2015 at 9:22) (Below Threshold)
 does anyone get along with Gee? seems like not
  • 50 32
 Gee probably needs to get his cock out in public more often... Might help him loosen up a bit
  • 3 0
 when did that happen
  • 36 2
 Unless the photos are relesed it didn't happen! ( u got this pinkbike... I believe in you )
  • 82 62
 Gee seems like a cool guy , Bryceland acts like a cock.
  • 73 35
 @jimmythehat is it opposite day?
  • 4 0
 Assuming there's a shade of truth to it; (and if I remember correctly) it was during Mont. Sainte-Anne practice.
  • 37 4
 Wee Atherton
  • 20 2
 @murph86 you seem pretty keen to see some willy
  • 4 0
 lets see a photo epic of this moment lol
  • 61 4
 I met Gee out here in San Diego last winter and he was one of the humblest guys ive ever met; didn't act like he was a world cup racer and you could tell he's just a genuinely nice dude. Can't speak on behalf of Bryceland but I could see how some people might think he's a bit abrasive.
  • 6 50
flag hardyk (Sep 9, 2015 at 12:45) (Below Threshold)
 gees a d**k thats y bryceland showed him his
  • 7 25
flag drewstinky (Sep 9, 2015 at 14:05) (Below Threshold)
 hahaha rat boy you ledg
  • 31 2
 I can see why they clash tho, Gee seems like a real hard worker. Focused, driven by success and very serious about his racing.
Josh on the other hand..... He is a hilarious idiot! All be it a very skillful idiot with arguably the coolest style on two wheels. The guy manages to party his way around the World Cup circuit, have an absolute rippa of a time and win just about every race ( last year). And let's be honest we all love watching his antics. The guy is my spirit animal. They are complete opposites
  • 57 0
 However it's disappointing how so many are so quick to shit on Gee.
  • 18 34
flag WAKIdesigns (Sep 9, 2015 at 15:57) (Below Threshold)
 Who cares if Bryceland competes on Hardline, what can he bring to the show? Let me see Rachel doing it and I will be amused. I like dominating women.
  • 7 0
 Oh boy, here we go...
  • 32 1
 Uh oh, that doesn't read well Waki
  • 13 0
 The people that talk the most shit about Gee seem to always be those who have never met him. They just base their assessment of him on the fact that he doesn't smile enough or something. But whenever people who have actually met the guy weigh in, it seems they generally have nothing but good things to say about him.
  • 6 2
 What if gee looked like josh and josh looked like gee. Would you change your option on looks alone? Would Gee still look like carefree and easy going and would Josh look like a driven serious racer?
  • 11 1
 I was watching the rat on the podium at Vallnord, and yeah, don't think there was a huge amount going on inside his brain. Yeah not a huge amount.
  • 9 1
 It's s DH race, not a science test......
  • 19 1
 Bryceland is noisy and his hair looks very greasy, Gee's hair on the other hand always looks nice and fresh.
  • 12 11
 Has anyone ever wondered about depth of human personality? Genetical and environemntal factors building who you are, then how you want to appear to others? Please do... and then consider how much can you learn about it just by watching that person being interviewed by Wyn Masters... good luck! After Val Di Sole finals, when women were at the prize ceremony and E.Ragot was announcing her retirement, Josh was in the middle of finish arena, walking in a weird manner like a rock star with his body language screaming "I don't give a F", and talking to some photographers who obviously were not expecting to get paid for photos of podium. What does it say about him? abso-fkng-lutely NOTHING. Stop behaving like white trash hags at hair dresser talking about Kim Kardashians bum. You do not know them
  • 6 0
 I just wanted to see Gee's wang
  • 4 0
 Who knows.... go watch the interview with Rob Warner, Steve Peat and Josh Bryceland in Warner's shop, and it almost seems like this crazy loose guy persona has been thrust upon Bryceland to an extent, think there is more to both of them than "incidents". Then again there is also a photo floating around of Gee pissing on Peat's bike.... so tit for tat British style might be alive and well. Maybe they are both having a laugh at everyone's expense.

Either way, they are both faster than you.
  • 1 0
 And i thought that there was some bad blood between Gee and Remi after one of the WC races, the rumor has it that there were some fists thrown between them or something, well IDK i'm happy so see them getting along and just riding their bike for fun and glory
  • 3 0
 That gee/remi thing was a joke. That was just a silly caption to a photo by a pinkbike writer.
  • 3 4
 Can we just agree that Gee is the British Lopes? Both of them seem superficially douchey but are actually pretty chill if you interact with them. And they never seem to be wearing a shirt.
  • 4 0
 does gee park in handicap spot too ?
  • 5 1
 Gee changed on this site from everyone's favourite to the biggest a*shole, and all he did was cut his hair.
And why the hell Waki's 2nd comment got neg propped!? You guys watch a race on your stupid screen, and suddenly know everything about every guy who's there!?
  • 3 2
 Aggy said he prays in Dirt's 'Beyond Bike" series, I guess he'll be losing ratings big time as soon as it hits Pinkbike.
  • 1 1
 @jimmythehat I laughed so hard at the hair comment
  • 25 1
 please Please PLEASE have this event live on Red Bull TV! I would happily sacrifice one or both of my siblings to to watch this!
  • 22 1
 It would be interesting to see who declined an invite, I wouldn't blame any of them!
  • 23 2
 Why are the FEST series guys not into this?
  • 13 1
 glad im not the only one that thought this! It would be rad to see some freeride guys in the mix.
  • 5 0
 Vink rode hardline last year - maybe doing other things this time round?
  • 8 2
 cuz most of them aren't racers. Fest is primarily for the big name freeriders
  • 22 3
 Oh my gosh stop comparing everything to fest its so annoying
  • 16 3
 They can't handle gnar. Smooth and high only.
  • 1 1
 @Skewt not comparing to fest, just love to see how riders of different disciplines handle the same course. always fun to watch guys that ride for time have a session with guys that ride for style.
  • 16 0
 nice to see Lluis on the invited riders
  • 17 0
 Should bring the brother as well
  • 8 1
 Lluis has a brother?
  • 2 1
 your 2014 rampage champion... or you're just being sarcastic, they don't look like brothers anyway
  • 2 0
 What's rampage?
  • 16 1
 jayzus. highway to mordor. scary stuff, dan.
  • 14 0
 Dan... can you design a course for 3yr olds on balance bikes please?
I might be able to get down it...
  • 11 1
 Is that Jeep Renegade stuck?
  • 5 1
 Think its good time to stop this whole "progress" thing, dont like the trickle down effect.........I mean seriously WTF! This shit makes you feel like such a wuss just seeing small glimpses of the features.............

Seriously stop it! But please do broadcast it Red BullWink
  • 7 2
 I am sorry what?No Fairclough...???!!! I know he crashed last year in the finals,so even more he deserves another chance...
  • 4 0
 Was mentioned in another interview that Brendan will be there!
  • 4 1
 So who's going Sunday ? See you there ! Can't wait man just hope the sun is on our side
  • 4 1
 Why always so much focus on jumps? Let's see some gnarly, steep rock gardens!
  • 3 0
 Is anyone bothered by the fact that the Jeep is orange in the video but black in the picture?
  • 1 0
 As soon as I spotted the size of the jumps I thought 'Lacondeguy'... Good to see one on the entries list. Be great to have both brothers there + some of the other Fest guys...
  • 1 0
 So Dan Atherton's bust his shoulder already?! Not the best start, but that's progression I guess. Proper Gnarly track will be interesting if it rains too, good luck to all taking part. Got some friends going to watch.
  • 4 0
 Remi Thirion!!!!
  • 1 0
 I doubt he'll be racing. His ankle is still in pieces and he had some trouble racing in Vallnord...
(but if I'm wrong, what a hell yeah !)
  • 3 0
 Red Bull TV to cover the event. Would be ace
  • 4 2
 this is what World Championships should be held on.....then winning one race would be a bigger deal than winning the series
  • 3 0
 Mark Wallace will be racing
  • 2 0
 holy moly, here's hoping they don't have to ride it in the rain.
  • 3 0
 Let's look at the key fact's Wales. It'll probably rain Smile But that's part of what makes UK riding what it is!
  • 2 0
 Looking forward to seeing what Kye Forte can do on this course!
  • 1 0
 Can't wait for this! Got my ticket as soon as they came out, now just need an i heart hardline t shirt...
  • 1 0
 I hope Brendog and Danny Hart make it. Bernard Kerr too, he's a stylish mofo.
  • 1 0
 Danny Hart won it last year, so he's sure to be invited!
  • 2 0
 It should be use as next WC series soon
  • 2 0
 Dan, your definitely a hard man.
  • 2 0
 Thirion VS. Atherton ---> FIGHT!!!
  • 1 0
 Bit disappointed with the entry to be honest... Especially after last year ????
  • 3 1
 Death or Glory??!!
  • 2 0
 ,A One Way Train!
  • 1 0
 Wonder where he got that blue shovel?
  • 1 0
 What kind of work boots are those?! UGGS?
  • 2 1
 that road gap though :O
  • 1 0
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