Of all the great many mysteries shrouded deep in the depths of the MTB scene, one surely stands out for any downhill rider above all others as the most elusive: how does a racer really 'make the big time'? How does somebody somehow find themselves at the upper end of the elite field, scrapping it out with the Athertons and the Minnaars of this world, finally getting those massive results they always dreamed of? There has to be some x-factor that takes you to the next level... Qualifying alone is one thing, but to then grace the top 30, the dizzy heights of the top 10... the podium? Well, those guys must be from a whole other planet.
This off-season, Pinbike wanted to know more and could think of no better way to investigate this all-but-unimaginable phenomenon of 'making it' as a WC racer than to pay a visit to Her Majesty's North West and the little town of Keswick. Danny Hart might have stolen the limelight in 2016, but all the while there was another Englishman flying in under the radar, putting big points on the board. After two recent train-wreck seasons and many more before it, struggling for mid-pack positions, a podium finish and 10th overall in the WC series were sure signs something special was going down. There was an under-dog finally on top; the man of a thousand nicknames, Adam Brayton. Maybe 48 hours with 'the Kestrel' himself would shed a little light on a few secret tips for the top...