Yes, the infamous and morbidly fascinating, Redbull Hardline event, has been and gone for another year and guess what? Rowdy wasn't even the word...
Finals day was crunch-time and riders had to make the call in the toss-up between self-preservation and a comfortable last journey home versus going for gold - or more accurately in this case - a big, old, chunk of wood and steel. Of course, some things in professional-level mountain biking can't be done cautiously and suffice to say Hardline is one such example, where hesitation or the slightest lack of commitment could mean... well... going home in a box. Certainly a little severe-sounding, but despite some monstrous crashes over the 3 days of riding, thankfully no one was hurt beyond a couple of 'casual' broken bones and ligaments and Dan Atherton and the riders continue to tune into exactly the right level of 'gnar'.
However high the stakes may have been, those still in the running put on quite a show for the impressive UK crowds. In spite of a nasty over-the-bars leading the practice train on the wet grass, first thing in the morning, Gee Atherton finally put down a race run after 2 years of failed attempts. In the end he would almost steal the show, but was edged of the podium by the Cumbrian in green, the Scottish defending champion and ultimately the 'Stoppie Sunday' specialist himself..
|I was pretty stressed over the weekend... We put a lot of time and effort into this event. For me Red Bull Hardline is about progression in the sport - Dan Atherton|
|My first thought about the track was... "Oh, s%*&t! It's pretty big!" Not really stuff we get to ride on an everyday basis, we're getting out of the comfort zone, but that's kind of cool - Ed Masters|
|Hardline is very cool! Definitely a bit scary, but everything is built really well. It's bigger to what we used to ride, but I think, once you're getting into it, it's actually really fun - Mick Hannah|