Photo Epic: British National Downhill Championships 2018 - Glencoe

Jul 23, 2018
by Ross Bell  




More often than not Glencoe is overlooked for its neighboring town of Fort William, a few miles up the road where the World Cup and British Nationals pay annual visits. The racing circus will pass in a hurry, briefly acknowledging the mountain as it flashes by in the car window, but with the announcement that National Champs was to venture back to the venue it was well and truly thrust back on to the UK National radar. Deep valleys, weathered moorland, and glacier-carved peaks punching through the cloud. It's easy to see why the area has been the set for so many movies with the likes of Harry Potter and James Bond making use of the almost haunting hills and desolate moors, although this weekend it was the setting for another action thriller as it played host to the 2018 British National Downhill Championships.

The big news coming into the weekend was the list of high calibre absentees, particularly the two ladies battling it out atop the World Cup standings at the moment. Both Tahnée Seagrave and Rachel Atherton took the decision to sit this one out with rest and recuperation the priority with an already intensive schedule taking its toll; this left Katy Curd looking like the hot ticket to take home the coveted Union Jack sleeve. In the men, the key missing figures were the likes of Reece Wilson, Gee Atherton, Charlie Hatton, Brendan Fairclough, and Bernard Kerr... Hopefully, this is just a one-off blip and not a sign of things to come, it'd be a shame to see the National scene slide. That said, there was still an almighty battle with two-time reigning champ, Greg Williamson, looking to defend his title from a hungry cluster of British talent like Danny Hart, Matt Walker, Laurie Greenland, Adam Brayton, and Taylor Vernon to name a few. A tough one to call.

The track was a mix of loose chundery rocks, granite slabs, and steep turns. There was plenty of line choice for those wise or brave enough to scope it out with the track becoming progressively rougher as the weekend went on with some sizeable holes appearing. Despite being a technical and challenging track (which was well received throughout the field) mechanicals and crashes were for the large part, few and far between. As for the weather, well, that was typically 'Scottish Summer' and changing every 5 minutes. Whilst it may have been grey and cloudy most of the weekend it stayed largely dry until the first few riders began to head up for their race runs with a fine misty drizzle dampening the track and producing something the riders had yet to experience. Time to roll the dice!

In seeding Matt Walker and Katy Curd laid out their race run intentions early sending a strong message of intent that ultimately warned off any competition challenging them, both taking commanding victories. Meg Whyte was 8 seconds off Curd in second with Abbie Sloan rounding off the medal positions. After a disastrous seeding run with a big crash, Danny Hart came down first and went into the hot seat before being dethroned by his teammate who was the last man down the hill. Reigning back to back champ Greg Williamson couldn't find the speed to make it three in a row and had to settle for third. Brayton, Vernon, Greenland, Breeden, and Reading all followed in quick succession. In Juniors, Rosy Monaghan took gold alongside Kade Edwards, however, one of the rides of the day has to go to the category below and its winner Luke Williamson with a time good enough for the win in juniors.

The famous Buachaille Etive M r peaking out from the cloud.
The famous Buachaille Etive Mòr peaking out from the cloud.

Low laying cloud hugged the mountains early on Saturday morning.
Low lying cloud hugged the mountains early on Saturday morning.
The Glencoe track is short but packs a lot of action in to a couple of minutes.
The Glencoe track is short but packs a lot of action into a couple of minutes.

Katy Curd was in a relaxed mood before practice got underway.
Katy Curd was in a relaxed mood before practice got underway.

Favourite for the junior win Kade Edwards watches over mechanic Joe Krejbich as he tweaks the last few touches on his race bike.
Favourite for the junior win. Kade Edwards watches over mechanic Joe Krejbich as he tweaks the last few touches on his race bike.

Adam Brayton showing the scars from the last few weeks of World Cup racing.
Adam Brayton showing the scars from the last few weeks of World Cup racing.

UNNO team mechanic Jesse Wigman making sure back to back reigning champ Greg Williamson has the right tools at his disposal to defend his sleeve.
UNNO team mechanic Jesse Wigman making sure back-to-back reigning champ Greg Williamson has the right tools at his disposal to defend his sleeve.

The riders can appreciate the scenery as the chairlift trundles upwards before getting their teeth stuck into the trick Glencoe track.
The riders can appreciate the scenery as the chairlift trundles upwards before getting their teeth stuck into the trick Glencoe track.

One of the favourites for the win. Danny Hart leaves the chairlift for his first practice run.
One of the favourites for the win. Danny Hart leaves the chairlift for his first practice run.

Eventual winner in the Junior Women Rosy Monaghan blasts through the fast top section overlooking the moor and lochs below.
Eventual winner in the Junior Women, Rosy Monaghan, blasts through the fast top section overlooking the moor and lochs below.

Maya Atkinson was pipped to the top spot by 3 seconds.
Maya Atkinson was pipped to the top spot by 3 seconds.

Fort William local Mikayla Parton looked confident and composed on track. She seeded well but took a big crash in her race run breaking her wrist still managing to finish and take the top spot in Senior.
Fort William local Mikayla Parton looked confident and composed on track. She seeded well but took a big crash in her race run breaking her wrist, but still managed to finish and take the top spot in Senior!

The writing was on the wall early with Matt Walker cutting and curving lines that few others could hold.
The writing was on the wall early with Matt Walker cutting and curving lines that few others could hold.

William Brodie hitting send on a tricky gap that caught out plenty of riders all weekend.
William Brodie hitting send on a tricky gap that caught out plenty of riders all weekend.

Meg Whyte was a threat for the elite win and was a sure fire bet for the podium but it remained to be seen what place she d end up taking.
Meg Whyte was a threat for the elite win and was a sure-fire bet for the podium, but it remained to be seen what place she'd end up taking.

Jordan Williams floating above the snow fences.
Jordan Williams floating above the snow fences.

Jamie Edmondon had problems in seeding that disguised his true pace which thankfully was allowed to shine in finals.
Jamie Edmondson had problems in seeding that disguised his true pace which thankfully was allowed to shine in finals.

Remember this name. Luke Williamson took the win in Youth with a time that d be good enough to win the category above
Remember this name. Luke Williamson took the win in Youth with a time that'd be good enough to win the category above.

Kade Edwards with Jamie Edmondson in tow.
Kade Edwards with Jamie Edmondson in tow.

James Elliott carving turns under the one patch of blue sky all weekend.
James Elliott carving turns under the one patch of blue sky all weekend.

Fresh off the back of a red hot start to the WC season which sees him sat 2nd overall MS Mondraker s Laurie Greenland took the trip north to have a crack at taking his first elite national title.
Fresh off the back of a red-hot start to the WC season which sees him sitting 2nd overall, MS Mondraker's Laurie Greenland took the trip north to have a crack at taking his first elite national title.

Rounding out the Elite Women podium was Abbie Sloan taking home the bronze medal.
Rounding out the Elite Women podium was Abbie Sloan taking home the bronze medal.

Katy Curd was a cut above the rest from the get go in practice.
Katy Curd was a cut above the rest from the get-go in practice.

So close but yet so far. Matt Walker with the finish line in sight but still with some treacherous turns to negotiate.
So close but yet so far. Matt Walker with the finish line in sight but still with some treacherous turns to negotiate.

Kade Edwards hugging the tight inside line on the approach to a steep drop into successive corners.
Kade Edwards hugging the tight inside line on the approach to a steep drop into successive corners.

Joe Breeden was somewhat of a dark horse this weekend.
Joe Breeden was somewhat of a dark horse this weekend.

The weather couldn t really make up its mind this weekend. Taylor Vernon passes through oblivious to the moody skies.
The weather couldn't really make up its mind this weekend. Taylor Vernon passes through oblivious to the moody skies.

The iconic view of The Three Sisters a stones throw from the venue.
The iconic view of 'The Three Sisters' a stone's throw from the venue.

Laurie Greenland getting the legs moving before practice.
Laurie Greenland getting the legs moving before practice.

Sunday morning started off shrouded in cloud. Greg Williamson keeps it low over the moorland.
Sunday morning started off shrouded in cloud. Greg Williamson keeps it low over the moorland.

Jack Reading with his eyes well down the track on one of the highest speed sections.
Jack Reading with his eyes well down the track on one of the highest speed sections.

One of the favourites in the junior men had to be Henry Kerr who d been on a roll at the World Cups lately. He ended up crashing in his race run but still salvaged third.
One of the favourites in the junior men had to be Henry Kerr who'd been on a roll at the World Cups lately. He ended up crashing in his race run but still salvaged third.

Josh Gleave rounded out the Elite top 10.
Josh Gleave rounded out the Elite top 10.

Scrubbing to get back on the ground ASAP before a series steps into a right hander. Greg Williamson hungry for a third.
Scrubbing to get back on the ground ASAP before a series steps into a right-hander. Greg Williamson hungry for a third.

Saracen team boss Will Longden has still go it. He took the honours in the 40-44 Veterans.
Saracen team boss Will Longden has still got it. He took the honours in the 40-44 Veterans.

Danny Hart didn t look to phased by the rain beginning to fall before race runs.
Danny Hart didn't look too phased by the rain beginning to fall before race runs.

Jordan Williams cutting through the rain and leaving a trail of roost in it s place.
Jordan Williams cutting through the rain and leaving a trail of roost in its place.

Riley Scott heading for home. He d end up just off the podium in 4th.
Riley Scott heading for home. He'd end up just off the podium in fourth.

Nils Williams taking the high line off the drop before the final few fast and open turns on the blast to the line.
Nils Williams taking the high line off the drop before the final few fast and open turns on the blast to the line.

After taking a big crash in his seeding run Danny Hart dropped in first on race runs. He sat in the hot seat until the final rider down Matt Walker took a pretty commanding win.
After taking a big crash in his seeding run, Danny Hart dropped in first on race runs. He sat in the hot seat until the final rider down Matt Walker took a pretty commanding win.

Any other weekend and 4th would have been good enough for the podium but unfortunately for Adam Brayton only 3 medals get handed out at National Champs.
Any other weekend and 4th would have been good enough for the podium, but unfortunately for Adam Brayton, only three medals get handed out at National Champs.

Matt Walker s transition into elite is going rather swimmingly wouldn t you say 2.8 seconds on a track as short as this is stupendous.
Matt Walker's transition into Elite is going rather swimmingly wouldn't you say? 2.8 seconds on a track as short as this is stupendous.

Outgoing champ Greg Williamson had to settle for third.
Outgoing champ Greg Williamson had to settle for third.

After riding on a largely dry track all weekend rider s kit was left wet and muddy with the rain timing it s arrival nicely for race runs.
After riding on a largely dry track all weekend, rider's kit was left wet and muddy with the rain timing it's arrival nicely for race runs.

Katy Curd will take the Union Jack sleeve for the next year but unfortunately it won t be making its debut in Mont Sainte Anne in a couple of week with Katy not making the trip out to Canada.
Katy Curd will take the Union Jack sleeve for the next year, but unfortunately, it won't be making its debut in Mont Sainte Anne in a couple of week with Katy not making the trip out to Canada.

The future is bright for Matt Walker.
The future is bright for Matt Walker.

She was the favourite coming into the weekend and duly delivered. Bravo Katy.
She was the favourite coming into the weekend and duly delivered. Bravo Katy.



29 Comments

  • + 54
 SCRUBBING -Greg Williamson -photo !!! WOW
  • + 13
 That is UNNO the best scrub photos I've ever seen
  • + 5
 "Both Tahnée Seagrave and Rachel Atherton took the decision to sit this one out with rest and recuperation the priority with an already intensive schedule taking its toll"

I don t get it: every racer wants more worldcup races - but schedule is allready to packed to get that sleeve?
  • + 6
 Have got to know Katy pretty well over the last 3 years, so I know how hard she's worked to get back into racing. This success is richly deserved.
  • + 4
 Good weekend racing, uplift was smooth and no shortage of runs was available. Greg's scrub photo is mint, especially considering how hard it is to carry enough speed out of the left before the rock to need to scrub.
  • + 5
 @ Pic "Kade Edwards watches over mechanic Joe Krejbich" : At first glance I thought Aaron Gwin got a new job as Kade Edward's mechanic Smile
  • + 4
 Is there a reason its never been considered for promotion as a WC venue?
  • + 3
 too short for WC. Needs extending at the top end for that.
  • + 3
 The track is a great track for a regional race, but a WC... it would just get destroyed. Its more like the old Fort William Pinball than a sustainable WC track.
Oh, and the pits isnt big enough, and its not close enough to somewhere that could take the fans/parking etc, and the finish line isnt long enough, and there is nowhere for a stand at the end (not that it needs it) and its very susceptible to the weather...
  • + 1
 There were more deer than people there last time I went, and that was the car park! Oh and Savile's old house is or was over the road!
  • + 3
 really sweet photos. Especially the panning shot with Luke Williamson is fantastic!!!
  • + 3
 Danny Hart looks like Darth Helmet sitting on that lift chair. Big old helmet, tiny body haha.
  • + 3
 Luke Williamson was 7th overall, in youth! #EPR
  • + 1
 Epr 4 life
  • + 2
 Rain, it actually rained! Can't remember the last time it did that. Never thought as a Brit this would be said.
  • + 2
 Mikayla Parton; brakes wrist and carries on to the finish. What a bad ass.
  • + 2
 She's a good pal, broke the other wrist in the same drop 2 years ago
  • + 2
 where was . . . ??
  • + 1
 That Glencoe track is rad AF. Congrats to Katy and Matt!
  • + 1
 KAde and his mech look like thiner versions of Richie and Gwin
  • + 2
 Where was Peaty?
  • + 1
 great article and photos!
  • + 1
 wilson360, thanx for the link w/results
  • - 2
 'Any other weekend 4th would be good enough for a podium'... Noo im pretty sure 4th is never good enough for a podium no matter what weekend it is...
  • + 4
 Well, World Cup downhill and British nationals are always a 5 person podium...
  • - 1
 Great track! Not so great,an entry! 155 riders. Hopefully, BC will dig in to their roadie deep pockets!
  • + 2
 Glencoe has always struggled for entries, and for once it isn’t the BCs fault. Folk are put off by having to drive a long way to ride a hard track in potential horrid (properly exposed) conditions

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