Last raced in 2011 for the National Championships, the BDS track team and volunteers have been hard at work over the last month to ensure the track is ready for the UK’s fastest racers. The course itself is widely recognized as the steepest race track in the U.K, hence the several sets of crash netting fixed in the woods at the top of the course. The steep chutes, tight corners and trees soon fade away as the riders cross the fire road and pick up speed as they traverse across the now open hillside high above the finish arena for all to see. Loose and wild switch backs follow next before the riders hit Llangollen’s three closely packed step downs next to the derelict old farmhouse and then fire like a rocket into the long finish field before they cross the finish line.
A full house of 330 riders have qualified to race from Juveniles right through to the Grand Vets and the Pro-Elite categories. UCi points are available as well as a share of the £10,000 series prize money and over £20,000 in prizes.
All eyes will be on the Schwalbe Elite Mens field which really is the cream of the crop for British and World downhill. The current Shimano BDS standings for the top five are listed
Marc Beaumont GT Factory Racing 177 points.
Josh Bryceland Santa Cruz Syndicate 169 points
Danny Hart Giant Factory Off Road Team 166 points
Matt Simmonds Madison Saracen Factory Team 164 points
Gee Atherton GT Factory Racing 160 points
With points available for seeding runs and race runs, every timed run counts at the Shimano BDS. As you can see only 17 points separate the top five means this is the closest fought battle ever of this the World’s most prestigious national series. The top flight will have to hold their nerve as one small slip could mean a quick fall from grace and the all important rankings and bragging rights as to who is series leader.
Marc Beaumont has something to prove, after winning the last round as well as fastest through the speed trap in Scotland. He is on an all time high in front of his team mate Gee Atherton on the leader board and both will be training together on the Saturday practice day, learning the lines and pushing each other along.
Josh Bryceland is now coming of age. His first World Cup win was a long time coming and it finally landed in Leogang. Josh is part of the Santa Cruz Syndicate and has been nurtured from day one by his protégé Steve Peat who has taught him all he knows!
Danny Hart is a late entry to the party, a former World Champion at Champery on a course of similar comparisons to Llangollen. Both super steep and technical. If it starts raining, make sure you place all your money on Danny, he is a master of the wet and slippy conditions.
Matt Simmonds is on the bubble of the big time, a career best of fifth place at last years World Championships in South Africa he has nothing to lose. Originating from Telford some 40 miles away. Matt originally scoped out this venue bringing it to the attention of the race organisers.
This years series is already a nail biter and we are only three rounds in. The Elite title chase has never been closer, even more so with three different winners at each different round so far; Danny Hart, Gee Atherton and Marc Beaumont. Hold fire placing your bets as this will be more than a three horse race with over 50 Elite riders pre-entered, all ready and able to put the run of their lives in and hit that five man podium come Sunday evening.
The Elite Womens field could well be a one horse race. Tahnee Seagrave is away in Europe and the big question is will Rachel Atherton race? She is entered but no decision to date (Tuesday 24/6/14) has been made if she will actually race. Leaving the door wide open for Manon Carpenter to clean up. The current Shimano BDS standings for the top five are listed:
Manon Carpenter Madison Saracen Factory Team 191 points
Tahnee Seagrave FMD Racing 174 points
Katy Curd Rose Bikes 160 points
Fionn Griffiths Alpinestars/Team GR/Zerode 154 points
Jess Greaves Team Skene 110 points
Manon Carpenter will be going in full of confidence this weekend after her recent win at Leogang for the UCi World Cup where she was awarded the women's leaders jersey. She also leads the BDS race series with a win at Ae Forest on her last outing.
Tahnee Seagrave was rewarded on her birthday at Leogang with a personal best of fifth place and her first ever World Cup podium for the former Junior Women's World Champion but will be abscent for this round.
Fionn Griffiths maybe the dark horse here with two World Cup wins under her belt she will thrive on the open fast sections of this course.
Rachel Atherton was unstoppable at BDS round one back in March, winning both seeding and the race run convincingly. Rachel then picked up a virus that has plagued her to this day, will she be able to shake off her health problems and put in an award winning performance, will she even make race registration?
Both Manon and Rachel have won here twice at Llangollen so at this time there are no clear favourite on the start list. The track is so steep and technical and if anyone makes a mistake expect an upset for the books.
Llangollen is the highlight of the Shimano BDS series, the perfect venue consists of vast parking and camping areas, the longest finish straight in the country and what many would describe at the most testing and varying track there is. It really is the riders and the spectators number one race destination. Live timing with the 'Works Components' speed trap will be in place thanks to timing provided by Tag Heuer and Sports Timing Services. Toby Parodi the 'Voice of the BDS' is fresh back from commentating the the Fort William World Cup and will be keeping you informed and entertained thanks to Monster Energy's sound system. Who will also be fueling the athletes throughout the race weekend. A large marquee will be onsite along with a caterer, ice cream van and more importantly a licensed bar. There will also be several trade stands displaying and retailing. The Shimano and Hope Technology Service Trucks will be onsite all weekend along with James from J-Tech the suspension specialists. Schedule:
09:30 Open practice for all riders.
18:00 Course Closed.
08:30 Open Practice for all riders.
10:45 Course Closed.
11:00 Timed Seeding Run followed by one timed race run.
17:30 Podium for top five in each category.Directions:
Nearest postcode: LL20 8AR
From Aberdeen Distance: 398.3 miles / Time: 7 hr 32 min
From Birmingham Distance: 78.1 miles / Time: 1 hr 45 min
From Bristol Distance: 142.0 miles / Time: 2 hr 58 min
From Edinburgh Distance: 267.8 miles / Time: 5 hr 3 min
From Fort William Distance: 369.5 miles / Time: 6 hr 58 min
From Glasgow Distance: 265.4 miles / Time: 4 hr 40 min
From Liverpool Distance: 53.6 miles / Time: 1 hr 10 min
From London Distance: 194.8 miles / Time: 3 hr 55 min
From Sheffield Distance: 105.9 miles / Time: 2 hr 20 minFrom the North
Take the A56 to the A483 heading towards Wrexham then turn right on to the A5 the road (Maes mawr Road).From the South
J10a off the M6 onto the M54 until J7 then onto the A5 towards Shrewsbury then head towards Oswestry keep on the A5 untill you see at MacDonald’s on the right hand side turn left still on the A5 towards Llangollen. The road (Maes mawr Road) to the the venue can be found on the left just past the Vale of Llangollen Golf Club. The route will be sign posted off the A5.
From Wrexham on the A539 enter Llangollen and turn left over the bridge at the Bridge End Hotel. Pass through the middle of town and turn left onto the A5 at the traffic lights. Follow the A5 for 1.5 miles and turn right onto Maesmawr Road. Follow the signs for Tyn Dwr Outdoor Activity Centre (UCLAN). Pass the entrance to UCLAN and the event field is ½ mile further on. Car parking if just after the finish field and camping is opposite. We have drinkable water but no open fires please.
Wrexham is the nearest major town. The nearest Motorway junction is Junction 15 of the M56 from the North and J7 of the M54 from the South.
From Oswestry on the A5 head for Llangollen. Pass through the village of Froncysllte and three miles later see the Llangollen Golf Club on the right below the road. After the bends following the golf club take a left turn approximately one mile before Llangollen onto Maesmawr Road. Follow the signs for Tyn Dwr Outdoor Activity Centre (UCLAN). Pass the entrance to UCLAN and the event field is ½ mile further on. Map of the venue.
Car parking if just after the finish field and is £5.00 per vehicle. Racers will not have to pay this charge. Spectating will be free.PLEASE NOTE WE WILL BE RUNNING A ONE WAY SYSTEM IN AND OUT OF THE VENUE
The lanes around the venue are small country lanes which can be tight pleased drive with due care and attention and always respect the local community. There will be a 1 way system implemented, please enter the site using Maes Mawr road this will be sign posted from Friday morning.
For up to date information on this weekends Shimano BDS please checkout the social media sites.Shimano BDS FacebookShimano BDS Twitter