Photo Epic: Race Day - Red Bull Hardline 2018

Sep 16, 2018
by Tristan Tinn  




Today, deep in the Welsh valleys, a hillside flanking Dinas Mawddwy laid host to a mythical show down. A tale of of true conquest - for there could only be one winner. Welcome to Wales - land of the dragon, for the fifth Red Bull Hardline.

Despite the UK sweltering in the hottest summer on record, the Welsh valleys remain verdant. While mid-week trackwalk and practice brought blue skies, things were about to turn sour. Things were about to get interesting. Fridays practice was cancelled due to biblical down poors akin to Lourdes 2017, the sodden ground was left to rest - hoping to preserve line choice for race day.

Shortly after dawn on race day and the multitude of lines were soon being moulded into a deep trench despite the sun trying to break through. To escape the rut riders would have to either place their rubber on precarious slabs of bedrock or send their bikes into space, a common occurrence on this track.

With Fridays practice cancelled riders were eager to get some track time this meant battling the elements with rain seemingly blowing in every time a rider dropped.

Hardline rises from the ashes to thrill us once more
Hardline rises from the ashes to thrill us once more

Dan Atherton handled the tools not the bars come race day. Here thinking about the day ahead with Olly Davey the other man due credit for this creation
Dan Atherton handled the tools not the bars come race day. Here thinking about the day ahead with Olly Davey the other man due credit for this creation

Pearce defenders delivering again
Pearce defenders delivering again

The uplifts were a sign of things to come
The uplifts were a sign of things to come

Henry Fitzgerald drying grips
Henry Fitzgerald drying grips

Kade attempting to at least leave the gate with a clear lense
Kade attempting to at least leave the gate with a clear lense

Laurie Greenland in the gate probably not wanting to hang around at the top
Laurie Greenland in the gate, probably not wanting to hang around at the top

Rat Boy qualified in 8th but called it a day after that as the conditions were gnarly stating he dont fancy another on his instagram
Rat Boy qualified in 8th but called it a day after that as the conditions were 'gnarly' stating he 'dont fancy another' on his instagram

Recce Wilson attended but unfortunately a crash in morning practice would see him hospitalised with a possible separated AC
Reece Wilson attended but unfortunately a crash in morning practice would see him hospitalized with a possible separated AC

Alexandre Fayolle is never afraid of a huck getting stuck into hefty lines whatever the weather
Alexandre Fayolle is never afraid of a huck, getting stuck into hefty lines whatever the weather

Kade exits the woods - riders faced sporadic rain throughout the day making visibility problematic
Kade exits the woods - riders faced sporadic rain throughout the day making visibility problematic

Despite a battered leg Brayton went big but unfortunately the injury would put an early end to his day. One to watch here in 2019.
Despite a battered leg Brayton went big but unfortunately the injury would put an early end to his day. One to watch here in 2019.

Hockenhull off the canon
Hockenhull off the canon

Sam Hockenhull didn t do a qualifying run or race - but he sure left his mark half way down most of the landings.
Sam Hockenhull didn't do a qualifying run or race - but he sure left his mark half way down most of the landings.

Mid day trench maintenance teams
Mid day trench maintenance teams

Brendog touches down on the canon
Brendog touches down on the canon

Brendog lacking vision between the canon and the step up
Brendog lacking vision between the canon and the step up

Brendog tackles a tear off on the step up in Qualifying unfortunately he didn t make the cut
Brendog tackles a tear off on the step up in Qualifying, unfortunately, he didn't make the cut

Little luck for the Kestrel since qualifying 9th at World Champs. Injury would plague him in qualifying a real shame following his near miss at Hardline glory last year.
Little luck for the Kestrel since qualifying 9th at World Champs. Injury would plague him in qualifying, a real shame following his near miss at Hardline glory last year.

Kade Edwards snapped a chain in his race run not that you d know
Kade Edwards snapped a chain in his race run, not that you'd know

Young Norwegian Brage Vestavik soars over the spectators to 6th
Young Norwegian Brage Vestavik soars over the spectators to 6th

Gee s teammate Charlie Hatton charges off a large huck to take third place after having a DNS in 2017
Gee's teammate Charlie Hatton charges off a large huck to take third place after having a DNS in 2017

Ga tan Vig put himself out of rhythm on the last 3 jumps with a big pull out of the woods
Gaëtan Vigé put himself out of rhythm on the last 3 jumps with a big pull out of the woods

Joe Smith sends it out of the woods ending up in 4th just 0.094 seconds back from Hatton in 3rd
Joe Smith sends it out of the woods ending up in 4th just 0.094 seconds back from Hatton in 3rd

Tense times for 2016 winner Bernard Kerr in the finish arena as he watches Gee put a fast first split on the board
Tense times for 2016 winner Bernard Kerr in the finish arena as he watches Gee put a fast first split on the board

Gee goes green in splits one and two
Gee goes green in splits one and two

Gee sails over the enlarged final fly off
Last man down the hill charging for the line
Gee sails over the enlarged final fly off and charges for the line


Gee crosses the line with his eyes on the time
Gee crosses the line with his eyes on the time

Gee chats to Ric Mclaughlin shortly after his win
Gee chats to Ric Mclaughlin shortly after his win

Gee Atherton 1st Bernard Kerr 2nd and Charlie Hatton in 3rd
Gee Atherton 1st, Bernard Kerr 2nd and Charlie Hatton in 3rd

A champagne shower for previous winner Kerr
A champagne shower for previous winner Kerr

Gee Atherton and his winning Trek Session 9.9 29
Gee Atherton and his winning Trek Session 9.9 29

All the athletes made sure to put plenty of time into meeting their fans
All the athletes made sure to put plenty of time into meeting their fans
All the athletes made sure to put plenty of time into meeting their fans


After the event we grabbed a quick chat with Gee:

So, you’ve finally won your home event, Hardline. How does it feel?

bigquotesOh mate, amazing. It’s such a tough event and I’ve had so many tries – I’ve had mechanicals, injuries.. So yeah, absolutely buzzing.


What makes Hardline different to the tracks on the World Cup circuit? What actually makes it more difficult? Some riders would say the jumps, but others suggest it’s the bits in between.

bigquotesIt’s just the sheer number of obstacles, there’s lots of jumps, there’s so many drops. The bits between them are hard. It’s just a huge amount of information to process as you're riding down, you know, the person that can get it all through their mind and get it dialled is the fastest man down the hill.


How did you manage to maintain such a calm voice throughout the course preview on such a crazy track?

bigquotesHa ha ha – I was just chilling you know. Enjoying it, like, I quite enjoy it when there’s no pressure, you’re just doing a nice clean run down and compared to the speed you do in a race run – it’s quite chill.Gee Atherton


Watch all the action tomorrow HERE on RedbullTV at 10AM PST

Final Results:

1. Gee Atherton 03:06:73
2. Bernard Kerr 03:12:30
3. Charlie Hatton 03:18:92
4. Joe Smith 03:18:99
5. Alexandre Fayolle 03:22:78
6. Brage Vestavik 03:25:84
7. Florent Payet 03:26:48
8. Gaëtan Vigé 03:40:67
9. Laurie Greenland 03:43:24
10. Kade Edwards 05:47:52



MENTIONS: @redbullbike / @tris400d / @trek



Must Read This Week

82 Comments

  • + 29
 Gee is an absolute animal. Been at the sharp end of the sport for so long now he's virtually a GOAT in his own right.
  • + 25
 Has won or podiumed world cup, world champs, ram pop age and now hardline. Crazy
  • + 30
 Lol rampage hopeless auto correct
  • + 15
 "just chilling" in his course preview, was only about 8 seconds slower than his race time
  • + 5
 @russthedog: Also 4x world cup when that used to be a thing.
  • + 1
 Great write up , now I have the results yesterday and detailed photos. Big thanks for saving me from watching it live.
  • + 19
 @russthedog: He probably would kick ass at Ram Pop Age if that was a thing.
  • + 2
 @Samuel-L-Jackson: Ram Pop sounds fun.
  • + 1
 @loganskis: I was just about to say that. He's a nutcase.
  • + 2
 @humoroususername: Honestly I couldn't believe he was able to speak at all let alone Soo casual about mega jumps. His WC POV runs are more technical/tactical but this track is nutty.
  • + 4
 @russthedog: 100 World Cup DH starts and over 50 podiums. Mental. Plus Rampage, Hardline etc. Stoked to see him back near the top and hope he carries it into next season.
  • + 1
 @gramboh: 50% hit rate...wtf
  • + 1
 Insane, simply insane!
When GOAT thinks N+1 times to gap that massive "roadgap (?)", it put's everything in prespective!
This is The event and today, I'll watch every run... again!
Massive Features + Look at the time! TOP!
  • + 24
 Cant wait to watch this live in 2 hours...
  • + 9
 get down the bookies and you'll clean up.
  • + 18
 With all the great work pinkbike does, how the hell could they and redbull f*ck up this year‘s hardline so hard??!!! Thought it is live today. Now you know the results and everything. The whole excitement is gone. ???? awesome that gee won, though. He deserved this a lot!!
  • + 25
 its not pinkbike's fault that redbull had the stupid idea to air the event a day later
  • + 34
 Redbull gives you wings, not brains.
  • + 7
 @loganskis:
Yeah but pinkbike posted Qualifying and final results in one post. And with expecting the race will be a day later you overread final easily..
  • + 2
 @weezyb: and expensive horsepiss to drink
  • + 1
 I watched it on RB today.
  • + 21
 Nah fake news!!

it's Live at 6:00 PM WEST...
  • + 6
 Redbull screwed up in their advertising, saying it was "Live" on TV today. I went, and I had to check my ticket to be sure. A shame, because it's actually great event to watch - low key, gnarly, and a sense that everyone is happy if no-one gets seriously injured.
  • + 1
 Feel like I'm in the Minority Report
  • + 3
 I think they said it was a "Live replay" whatever that means! A replay of a live event perhaps. The same as a replay but more confusing.
  • + 9
 Although we all new the result thanks to PInkbike and Redbull for F#*king spoiling it for us, just watch the event and Rob Warner and Greg Minnaar are a comedy double act especially at the road gap. Respect to all the riders, massive kahunas need.
  • + 12
 Brendog...tear off....mid jump..... This is elite tier shit.....
  • + 7
 Does anyone else think there needs to be a Hardline series just like Fest throughout the year? Go to places UCI doesn't dare go to
  • + 3
 the monster/redbull joylinerampageFEST super series featuring absolutely everyone who has competed on a gravity-assisted mountain bike
  • - 1
 Hard-line world series
I get down voted to FK when ever I suggest it Big Grin
  • + 5
 Epic day! What a final run to witness. I'm even more chuffed my daughter and I made it into the podium photo! She's a shredder in the making and has been hugely inspired. Thank you RedBull, thanks Gee and thanks for the great coverage Tristan.
  • + 6
 Didn't even show a camera feed on the big screen at the event, so was left watching a timing screen at the bottom. Will have to watch the 'live stream' tonight even though I was there... Well done red bull
  • + 7
 With you buddy, drove 5 hours Friday, stayed in a hotel, drove 30 mins in the morning to get to the venue, stood in the pissing rain up a mountain during practice and qualifying, then went to watch the finals on the big screen next to the finish straight jump line, but no coverage, just times!! Red bull then announce its better this way! It's a joke, if people pay and make the effort to travel then why can't we watch live video! Yes, we can see a few moments of each rider on the hill, but restricting viewing sucks. Last year it was awesome having the whole crows cheering and watching the tv up to the point where people came out of the trees! Won't be going again!
  • + 4
 They messed up the results/broadcast announcements, but the actual race coverage was awesome. Seems like they were able to cover more of the trail than the world cups. What a cool course and race.
  • + 3
 Because it wasn't live. They recorded footage of the race and then edited it and had Warner/Minnaar pretend they were watching it live... they've done this every year, but it would help if they were honest about it instead of faking it.
  • + 1
 Hardline is epic but everything media around it is f*cking bush league!
Pinkbike, Redbull.tv ... First thing I saw early this morning on Instagram was f*cking Maddogboris posting Gee had won ... have some f*cking brains & some common courtesy please. Wasn't even going to watch it, but I did. It was good but come on media people ... geez!
  • + 4
 Yeah, what would be the point in watching the finals coverage if you already knew the outcome? It's not like there's some amazing riding to watch or anything.
  • + 1
 @Skooks: I like an exhibition of great riding as much as the next guy but this was a "race" & knowing Gee had already won kind made the whole thing anticlimactic. Redbull should stream it live or at least get the media people to delay posting about it til after it airs ... you know media/promotion 101 stuff ... Gezz
  • + 1
 I've always been curious but doesn't the Athertons have the advantage? Since they help create the course I feel like they would get to train on it more often than the other riders.

I could be wrong though and Gee doesn't ride the course until everyone else can.
  • + 2
 Maybe yes, but that’s not really the point. Hardline was conceived as a demonstration of what DH racing could be - World Cup tracks are often criticised. It’s a cool event and the Atherton home track advantage is acknowledged.
  • + 2
 You are right. That coupled with the fact that its an invitational so most of the top 20 riders werent there.
  • + 3
 They do have the advantage but note that this is the first time Gee has won it.
  • + 1
 @aps62: Yes, but it's still a race. It's still a competition.
  • + 1
 @Verbl-Kint: yeah because this time he didn't have a mechanical issue. Would he have won if he didn't have a flat?

No one seems to mind the Athertons having an advantage so it's no big deal. I was just curious if anyone else thought about this.

End of the day its awesome to watch!
  • + 5
 Can't wait to watch this LIVE in just over an hour on RedBull TV!
  • + 4
 Damn the race not meant to start live for another 3hrs? Howd i miss it!
  • + 4
 The entire timing, results and production have been a huge comedy of errors this year for some British reason.
  • + 2
 As we say, it was an omnishambles
  • + 3
 Welsh photographer Marty Gwabbkkwwyyddffbbvvxxzzyyeeeecklicky said it was one of the greatest races ever.
  • + 4
 I'd like to see some of the fest lads get stuck into hardline!
  • + 3
 Yeah whatever. I love you Pinkbike but when it comes to this years Hardline you can kiss my fuckin ass!!!
  • + 3
 But why is it called Hardline??
  • + 4
 must be an ironic name or something, i don't get it either
  • + 4
 Hardline is in reference to one of the worst British porn movies ever made from the 1980's.
  • + 1
 @ShempHoward: exactly, like Tina does Tipton
  • + 3
 That shot of Dave is insane.
  • + 1
 Thanks - he went huge. Wish I could see how far down he’d landed
  • + 1
 Why does it feel that the live race footage at the hardline is so much better than the World Cup?
  • + 1
 Truth
  • + 1
 because its not live..
  • + 0
 @laxguy: yeah I managed to watch it live on the Saturday.. didn’t you know? You americans weren’t informed I see.
  • + 1
 @thetoro: no, its literally not shown live... they record and edit the runs together
  • + 0
 @laxguy: I know some guys who hacked the mainframe and we were able to watch live with a 2 second delay.
  • + 1
 I love how Pinkbike post this the day after it took place and STILL write that it took place today (Sunday).
  • + 1
 I wrote it last night - sorry.
  • + 1
 Correct me if I’m wrong, but did brendog take off a tear off in mid air!?
  • + 1
 a functional one hander! i want to see this.
  • + 0
 I'm done with this Hardgasline bullshit, I can't freaking wait for the fox hunt. Shall be a bloody good show mate full of sores and boners.
  • + 2
 Where's the shot of Ainsley Harriot at the finishing podium!?!
  • + 1
 must be irony or something
  • + 1
 No shot's of Brendog's Backflip ??
  • + 1
 That was on Thursday, I was only onsite Saturday. Sorry! The RedBull photographers will have some I’m sure
  • + 1
 @tris400d: no worries , i saw the vid of it
  • + 1
 Hardline legends! Epic photos,thank you Tristan.
  • + 1
 Thanks, some moisture to combat but we got there in the end! It’s a shame the scheduling mix up is detracting from peoples appreciation of the story..
  • + 1
 Prognarcore.
  • - 1
 Perfect evidence you need a dumbass sanctioning body to have EPIC DH racing!
  • + 1
 Well in Gee.
  • + 1
 Great Shots Tristan!
  • + 2
 Thanks - much appreciated! It wasn’t the easiest of days
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