Round 3 of the HSBC National Downhill was hosted this weekend at Caersws, Wales. The unseasonably dry and dusty conditions turned the track from its usual Welsh conditions to something that more resembled California than mid-Wales, which proved challenging for many riders, with several having an off at some point in the weekend.
Race day started with clear blue skies and sunny weather; however typical Welsh weather set in with wind building and rain threatening towards the end of the day. Thankfully, this didn't seem to disrupt the riders too much.
The track began with a steep top section leading into dusty berms and rocky, chute descents added to the mix in the lower half of the track. This is a track that the riders love, and with the dust, there was plenty of opportunities for riders to slap turns and create massive dust explosions. Once again, following on from the fantastic support the riders received in the last round in Scotland, the UK Downhill fans were out in force to cheer, heckle and have a good time watching the racing.
In the Male Juvenile, George Madley claimed first place with a solid three-second lead ahead of William Pugh in second and Nathan Diwell-Wilson in third.
The ever-impressive Dom Platt from Atherton Racing was crowned victorious in the Youth category with a round still left to go. Luca Thurlow was in second and Lucas Craik in third.
Bradley Shield's once again claimed the top of the podium in the Master's closely followed by Michael Vickers in second and Sam Wood in third.
There was some fast close racing on show in the Elite Men's field with just one second separating the podium positions. Roger Vieira not only pipped Adam Brayton to first place by just three-tenths of a second, but the Brazilian also took the win in the Elite men's National series. It's been a dominant performance from Roger this year with him taking the win in each of the rounds so far. Can he make it a clean sweep in Round 4? It was a trio of World Cup riders on the podium, with SR Suntour One Vision's Jack Reading following closely in third place.
In the Women's Junior field, Aimi Kenyon stormed to victory with a 9-second lead claiming first place ahead of Anna Craig in second and Nina-Yves Cameron in third. Stacey Fisher took first place in the Women's Elite ahead of Melanie Chappaz in second and Katherine Sharp recovering from her injury at the World Championships and taking home third.