Madison Saracen 2014 - World Championships: Hafjell, Norway

Sep 8, 2014 at 9:10
by Saracen Bikes  
Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships
Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

We had to let Manon do the honors here. Becoming World Champion, in her own words…

We were heading into World Champs off the back of Meribel World Cup, where each of us had wrapped up our best World Cup season ever, which is a pretty good situation to be in! None of us had anything to prove but a good result at Worlds’ would finish off a successful years racing very nicely. We’d had a week at home to recover from the excitement, relax with family and friends and regroup ready for the biggest race of the year.

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Norway is an amazing place to be! Flying into Oslo airport the view down the wing of the plane is incredible, with tree-covered hills running into lakes or ‘Fjords’ to form a beautiful clean landscape. The race venue in Hafjell is much the same, set in a gentle valley with green hills either side, separated by a wide fjord. The Bike Park itself is also very special, with multiple tracks built into the hill and a dirt jump park at the bottom for smaller bikes to play on! It’s sad and surprising to think that it may still be closed down due to a change of ownership – I think everyone who has been would recommend it as a very worthy holiday destination for mountain bikers.

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

The race track tests riders in so many ways, with very different sections as you make your way down the hill, so it is the perfect place to fight it out to be the World Number one. Leaving the start gate you get eased into the track with a couple of mellow jumps (that soon become very hectic when you hit them at race pace) then make a right turn, straight into the first, (extremely rocky) rock garden. Briefly out into the open again before going back into the woods for a flat out straight that exits onto a flat section through split 1, this fires you quickly into the high speed bobsleigh section! We found out this weekend that the guy who built the race track also builds bobsleigh tracks, which makes a lot of sense when you see the perfectly groomed, steep sided berms swooping down through the trees. Next up is the ‘Rock Jungle’, the longest of the rock sections with multiple line choices and a section where a lot of time can be lost if not executed well. Then it’s into the open again, through a few rougher berms and into a long grassy left-hander that gives you a bit of respite before the last rock garden, where again previous races have been won and lost. Once through there, it’s just a matter of making it to the finish line and hoping that your best has been enough!

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

After two days of practice to try out some lines and get up to speed it was time to see who was on pace and who had some rethinking to do. Wanting to have confidence going into race day we each aimed to put down solid runs and try out the lines we thought suited us best.

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

The results showed what we hoped for. Sam knew his run hadn’t quite gone to plan and recounted his sketchy moments to us with plenty of animation and Matt was happy with his 11th place. After a huge crash in the top rocks the day before left him with a bad back and walking like a 90 year old man! Kazu ended up 57th, which was a good start to his weekend. I had a few seconds to make up but I knew where I had lost time during my run so after a team track walk and pep talk from GB Coach ‘Jelly Bean’ we were all confident and raring to go for the finals.

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Having not been totally happy with his race runs from the last two World Cups, Sam was keen to put in a run that showed what he was capable of. Getting off to a great start Sam was on pace all the way down the track and looked to be on pace to set the fastest time. He lost just a bit of speed through the last rock section and when he came through the finish line he just missed out on the hot seat, going into second place. His time held well as the top 20 riders came down and he ended up just outside the top ten in 11th position. Not the podium result he was aiming for but in the super close men’s race he proved he has the pace of the best.

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

After the season Matt has had, getting faster and faster throughout the year, and with a top 10 result in Hafjell last year, I know his sights were on the podium coming into the weekend. Leaving the start hut he looked strong and getting through the top rocks smoothly this time he set off towards the first split. A fraction of a second off the leading time it looked like it was going to be close. Matt looked in control and fast through the middle rocks and it was tense watching from the bottom. Through the last woods and out into the open we watched and waited… Coming through the line he slotted into 5th position, eventually getting pushed back to 9th. Not what he had come for but after the beating he took in his crash on Friday I think he was happy. Top 10 at World Champs is definitely not to be sniffed at!

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Kazu pulled on his Japanese National jersey and had the ride of his season. Going for it and getting a little out of shape, he put in a solid ride for 57th place. His first top 60 ride of the international season.

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

I didn’t feel particularly nervous at the start of my run, I’d woken up with a good feeling and warming up for practice I knew my head was where I wanted it to be. I’d built into the weekend slowly, not feeling great on the first day of practice, but I was glad I’d finally made it up to speed! All of the girls had been looking so fast during the week and you could tell everyone was fully committed and flat out. All of the girls were back from injury and apart from Emmeline who had unfortunately broken her hand the day before, it was going to be a fair fight!

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

My race run was exactly how I’d wanted it to feel, aggressive and committed. I wasn’t holding anything back, I wanted to get to the bottom knowing I’d done everything I could have and done myself justice. Everything was going to plan, I hit all the lines I wanted to apart from a slight detour offline in the middle rock garden and I was cracking on. Coming into the finish arena I was satisfied, I’d done all I could and if it wasn’t enough to win then I just wasn’t fast enough. 3 seconds up on Tahnée who’d had an amazing run to guarantee herself a medal, I just had to sit and wait…

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Rach Atherton was up by a second at the 1st split and I was sat watching the screen, waiting to see what was going to happen. Split two and she hadn't made any more time on me, still only a second up. I know I always have good bottom section and Rach didn't look super smooth on the screen and it was getting pretty tense! Coming over the bridge she had ten seconds left, and I knew it was about ten from the bridge.... I was thinking I was going to just miss out by a fraction but the time kept ticking... Coming through the line the green light switched to red and I couldn't believe it! I hadn't even thought how I'd feel if I won, or what I'd do, I didn't want to dare. I'd just done the Double!

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

It wasn't until after the interviews that I clocked on to that fact that I'd be wearing the rainbow jersey the whole of next year... I knew I'd just won World Champs but my brain wasn't quite functioning... I'd just earned the right to the Rainbow Stripes... Forever!

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

So that was that. World Champs done and dusted, and the season all but wrapped up. All that was left was the after party! I think I can safely say we have all had a great week staying with Team GB and there are so many people to thank who have made it so good. Sponsors, mechanics, team managers, team- mates, family and friends. And photographers for capturing it all so well.

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Now onto the last UK National Round at Bike Park Wales in chase of one more title and the season is over. Then it's time for some well-earned rest and some off-season adventures!

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships

Madison Saracen at the 2014 World Championships



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Author Info:
SaracenBikes avatar

Member since Sep 19, 2011
102 articles

20 Comments
  • 38 0
 Mega props to the photographer.
  • 4 0
 Same as i thought. Fantastic pics that tellin us the story of norway.
  • 12 1
 Thank you Saracen for posting a picture of a Danish flag. Norway was a part of the danish empire when vikings ruled, but i think you got the wrong one. Wink
  • 6 0
 Brilliant... whatever you do, don't show a picture of 'St Georges Cross' at Fort William !!
  • 2 0
 and unless the river is called Fjord(it isn't), i doubt that it is separated by one Smile FYI a lake is not a fjord! nice pictures though
  • 9 0
 This was the best race ever, so excited, still talking about it. Gee, Neko, Sam, Rat boy, Brook and so many other off the hook moments. Only draw back is waiting for next year.
  • 5 0
 Awesome report, theyre always good. I think Madison Saracen has probably been the team of the season for me, every single member has had their best season yet, all getting solid results every event. And of course Manon storming through the whole year has been ciing on the cake. I remember about three years ago first putting Manon on my Dirt Fantasy Team, amazing to see how far she has come in that time. A great group of people it seems, and they seem have found some kind of winning formula. Roll on 2015!
  • 4 0
 Well done Manon a well deserved win. I said after Pietermaritzburg last year you would be world champ one day I didn't quite expect it to be the very next world champs and with a fully fit Rachel and such a demanding course it is a solid victory!
  • 5 0
 Well done Saracen .you guys and gals absolutely smashed it,makes me proud to be British,Congrats
  • 2 0
 I'm new man, cut me some slack! I just wanted to see that rotor, but then the rest of the pics spoke for themselves....noooo!!!! It's all good though, I've just been getting my stuff through the red bull tv app and hafjell dh ain't up yet. That being said, I'm stoked Manon one, she's such a sweet thing.
  • 5 0
 Well done Manon Big Grin great write up!
  • 4 0
 Great end to a fantastic year for all the Saracen team well done
  • 1 0
 Madison Saracen always makes the best reports, Congrats to the team for the amazing season!
  • 1 0
 id like to find out what fox shock that is haha
  • 1 0
 What shoes are Gee and she wearing? (4th last photo)
  • 1 0
 Shimano AM45
  • 1 0
 Shimano AM45
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