Practice - Red Bull Hardline 2016

Sep 18, 2016 at 1:22
by Simon Nieborak  
Red Bull Hard Line 2016 - Practice

Just two days ago, 22 top-flight World Cup racers tentatively kicked-off the riding here in Mid Wales, but already Dan Atherton and Ollie Davey’s course has cut the wolf pack down to size. Despite best efforts to keep things safe and sensible, the crashes have flowed thick and fast in all kinds of shapes and sizes - predominantly big and ugly. Suffice to say that if you’re at all prone to wearing large, plastic knee-guards outside of your jeans, this really isn’t the track for you.

No need for the joeys out there to beat themselves up just yet though; this is barely a ‘track’ for anyone… It’s goddam gnarly to the core. With a vertical drop almost the same as Fort William covered in about half the distance, it’s mighty steep. It’s also rough, off-camber and contains an ungodly mix of turf, sharp rock, and dark, wet mud. All of this plus the enormous gaps with difficult set-ups that make the course so infamous and unique.

Practice saw riders fixated on surviving re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in windy conditions, super tech and burly linking sections seemed to lay by the wayside, the least of anyone's troubles. But the racing is yet to begin.

Dan Atherton the man of the hour himself.
Dan Atherton, the man of the hour, himself.

Everyone here in Wales is after the plate of a certain Scotsman.
Everyone here in Wales is after the plate of a certain Scotsman.

The pits are a little different to those found at the World Cups.
The pits are a little different to those found at the World Cups.

Adam Brayton getting his Gambler prepped with his mechanic in the early morning.
Adam Brayton getting his Gambler prepped with his mechanic in the early morning.

Red Bull Hard Line 2016 - Practice

Mick Hannah smiles infront of the Redbull wigwams back down at base camp.
Mick Hannah smiles in front of the Red Bull wigwams back down at base camp.

Things have not been easy but Matt Walker with his black eye and fat hand reckons he s gotten away lightly...
Things have not been easy, but Matt Walker with his black eye and fat hand reckons he's gotten away lightly...

Builder of the Hardline track this year is Rachel Atherton s boyfriend Ollie Davey.
Builder of the Hardline track this year is Rachel Atherton's boyfriend, Ollie Davey.

Gee comes to this weekend with a big smile on his face. He s still need not stepped on top of the podium here yet but he s up for a good race. That s for sure
Gee comes to this weekend with a big smile on his face. He's still not stepped on top of the podium here yet, but he's up for a good race. That's for sure!

One of the best ways to get up on top of the track. A very bumpy one but sure most picturesque.
One of the best ways to get up on top of the track. A very bumpy one, but surely the most picturesque.

Unbelievable scenery and a summer weather extension here in the north of Wales.
Unbelievable scenery and a summer weather extension here in the north of Wales.

The uplift convoy on its way to deliver the riders to the top of the hill.
The uplift convoy on its way to deliver the riders to the top of the hill.

The crew unload the Jeep shuttles in the cold wind for the first lap of the day.
The crew unload the Jeep shuttles in the cold wind for the first lap of the day.

Red Bull Hard Line 2016 - Practice

Once out the uplift the riders have a short uphill push to reach the starting platform.
Once out the uplift, the riders have a short uphill push to reach the starting platform.

Smiles all round as the riders gear up to send it down this exciting course.
Smiles all round as the riders gear up to send it down this exciting course.

Riders waiting to drop in for first runs of the day.
Riders waiting to drop in for the first run of the day.

Not a bad place to be posted for the day.
Not a bad place to be posted for the day.

Good guys working hard on the live video feed.
Good guys working hard on the live video feed.

Even the flattest and most mellow section of trail on the mountain is no place to fall lined by tens of solid stumps.
Even the flattest and most mellow section of trail on the mountain is no place to fall, lined by tons of solid stumps.

Gee leading the riders out on their first practice run of the day.
Gee leading the riders out on their first practice run of the day.

Al Bond has been with the race from day one. It s his 3rd Hard Line and he says it s never enough of this track.
Al Bond has been with the race from day one. It's his third Hardline and he says he can never get enough of this track.

Adam Brayton hucks the first significant jump out of the start gate.
Adam Brayton hucks the first significant jump out of the start gate.

You are here.
You are here.

Dan Atherton dropping in on the vicious donkey-nod drop in the midst of the dark upper woods.
Dan Atherton dropping in on the vicious 'donkey-nod drop' in the midst of the dark upper woods.

Hidden in the middle of the steep woods is this rock drop on any other course this would be considered a big feature at about 3m but this is RedBull Hardline.
Hidden in the middle of the steep woods is this rock drop, on any other course this would be considered a big feature at about 3m, but this is Red Bull Hardline.

Sik Mik hanging out in the tree canopy off the canon jump.
Sik Mik hanging out in the tree canopy off the 'canon' jump.

Out from the darkness Gee appears with massive speed to clear the Renegade jump.
Out from the darkness, Gee appears with massive speed to clear the Renegade jump.

The Renegade jump. This beast is very angry and already being really mean to 3 riders.
The Renegade jump. This beast is very angry and has already been really mean to three riders.

It was awesome to see how Gee and Dan lead the other riders on this very demanding track. As the hosts they were giving a lot of advices to the riders and making sure all is good and as safe as possible.
It was awesome to see how Gee and Dan lead the other riders on this very demanding track. As the hosts, they were giving a lot of advice to the riders and making sure all is good and as safe as possible.

Gee Atherton leading out his band of merry fairly concerned for their safety men.
Gee Atherton leading out his band of 'merry/fairly concerned for their safety' men.

At first practice runs the riders took it easy and cautiously investigated every big obstacle on their way to the bottom.
At first practice runs the riders took it easy and cautiously investigated every big obstacle on their way to the bottom.

 I guess he fell back down... Brannigan and MacDonald in search of train leader Kerr after pioneering the Renegade sender.
'I guess he fell back down...' Brannigan and MacDonald in search of train leader, Kerr, after pioneering the Renegade sender.

Squad views for days...
Squad views for days...

Red Bull Hard Line 2016 - Practice

A split of a second before a disaster struck Mike Jones shoulder. He had a massive crash causing broken bones...
A split of a second before a disaster struck Mike Jones' shoulder. He had a massive crash causing broken bones...

Adam Brayton whipping out as he follows Ruaridh Cunningham into land.
Adam Brayton whipping out as he follows Ruaridh Cunningham into land.

Ruaridh gets comfortable with the biggest jumps on the course.
Ruaridh gets comfortable with the biggest jumps on the course.

Last year s champ Ruaridh Cunningham showing exactly how the Renegade jump should be boosted.
Last year's champ, Ruaridh Cunningham, showing exactly how the Renegade jump should be boosted.

Red Bull Hard Line 2016 - Practice

It wasn t best of Bernard s ideas to hit the eject button mid-air when he was sitting in the front of this powerful train.
It wasn't best of Bernard's ideas to hit the eject button mid-air when he was sitting in the front of this powerful train.

Gee Atherton is injured and waiting for a surgery on his shoulder. Yet he still has got some unfinished business when it comes to this particular race.
Gee Atherton is injured and waiting for a surgery on his shoulder. Yet, he still has got some unfinished business when it comes to this particular race.

Just after the Renegade step up the track drops away even quicker.
Just after the Renegade step up, the track drops away even quicker.

Brook MacDonald following Ed Masters down one of the steep shoots in-between rocks.
Brook MacDonald following Ed Masters down one of the steep shoots in-between rocks.

Teamwork has been key to figuring out how to tame this beast... Masters and MacDonald take on the middle field together.
Teamwork has been key to figuring out how to tame this beast... Masters and MacDonald, take on the middle field together.

Wales is a paradise for mountain bikers and photographers... when the sun is shining.
Wales is a paradise for mountain bikers and photographers... when the sun is shining.

Red Bull Hard Line 2016 - Practice

Dan feels like a fish in the water on this track. From his mind right under his wheels.
Dan feels like a fish in the water on this track. From his mind right under his wheels.

Graeme Mudd tackles the steep tech on the deforested middle section.
Graeme Mudd tackles the steep tech on the deforested middle section.

Judging by Tyler Vernon s riding on this hardcore track he s definitely a dark horse of the race.
Judging by Taylor Vernon's riding on this hardcore track, he's definitely a dark horse of the race.

Ruaridh Cunningham is feeling very confident on the track this year. Coming as a former victor of this race he s got a big target on his back. Yet we re sure he won t be slowing down because of this pressure on him.
Ruaridh Cunningham is feeling very confident on the track this year. Coming as a former victor of this race, he's got a big target on his back. Yet, we're sure he won't be slowing down because of this pressure on him.

Adam has had an amazing season. It s time to finish it off with some fireworks now.
Adam has had an amazing season. It's time to finish it off with some fireworks now.

Bernard Kerr getting comfy on the new step-up.
Bernard Kerr getting comfy on the new step-up.

Only the very sickest and most depraved individuals can smile at this kind of stuff...
Only the very sickest and most depraved individuals can smile at this kind of stuff...

The Kiwi train into the new step-up jump.
The Kiwi train into the new step-up jump.

No fear in the eyes of Dan Atherton.
No fear in the eyes of Dan Atherton.

Brannigan about to go deep on the hefty step-down.
Brannigan about to go deep on the hefty step-down.

Sic Mic railing the berm hard.
Sik Mik railing the berm hard.

Hardline survivor Joe Smith throwing all the right shapes in the shadows.
Hardline survivor Joe Smith throwing all the right shapes in the shadows.

Keswick local Adam Brayton is no stranger to a cheeky stone wall huck.
Keswick local, Adam Brayton is no stranger to a cheeky stone wall huck.

Brook Macdonald charging through the track in his very own style.
Brook MacDonald charging through the track in his very own style.

It s a strange phenomenon the way the Wifi seems to dip out whenever the schedule says it s time to ride bikes...
It's a strange phenomenon the way the Wifi seems to dip out whenever the schedule says it's time to ride bikes...

Chill out zone is a perfect area for riders to relax and have a moment to put their thoughts together before the next run.
Chill out zone is a perfect area for riders to relax and have a moment to put their thoughts together before the next run.

Rob Warner is gathering gossip around the pits so he can keep his word-flow interesting and full of puns.
Rob Warner is gathering gossip around the pits, so he can keep his word-flow interesting and full of puns.

Dan Atherton of course the man who started this savagery 3 years ago.
Dan Atherton, of course, the man who started this savagery three years ago.

Ed Masters stopping to admire the view before dropping in to the road gap.
Ed Masters stopping to admire the view before dropping into the road gap.

Sik Mik rolling into the road gap.
Sik Mik rolling into the road gap.

Spectators also have a Hardline to battle the hillside to get a prime viewing position.
Spectators also have a Hardline to battle the hillside to get a prime viewing position.

Gee sending the road gap at the end of practice as the sun starts to set.
Gee sending the road gap at the end of practice as the sun starts to set.

Unfortunately the riders have no time to admire the view as they head towards the infamous road gap.
Unfortunately the riders have no time to admire the view as they head towards the infamous road gap.


MENTIONS: @redbullbike / @lunatyk / @natedh9




107 Comments

  • 234 2
 Amazing photography
  • 17 0
 I 2nd this....
  • 16 0
 Soo many wall papers !!
  • 7 0
 That was a sick race to watch! The track is just massive In real life. props to the winner!
  • 5 0
 Some of the best I have seen, the back drop in the shot where a groups of riders are stood with back to the camera on a landing is breath taking, went there last year and spent as much time feeling small in the view as I did watching the riders
  • 1 0
 Indeed. real eye-candy!
(though some a little to HDR'ish imho)
  • 56 0
 That is a huge big air... It is nice to see something extreme not being Redbull Rampage!! And in Europe!!!
  • 2 19
flag Oscar416 (Sep 18, 2016 at 18:59) (Below Threshold)
 Sorry to tell you but Wales is no longer Europe
  • 11 1
 @Oscar416: Yeah it is...just not the EU
  • 9 0
 @Oscar416:
Sorry to tell you be Europe and the European Union are totally different things and on another note, the last time I checked the UK was still in the European Union and it will continue like that for at least another 2 years.
  • 4 0
 @Oscar416: Feel naive and uninformed yet?
  • 43 1
 Who else is having s hard time picking a desktop background?
  • 21 13
 why, the pictures aren't better than the boobs I have on mine Smile
  • 31 1
 @poah: You got the pic of Warner and Peaty too?
  • 9 5
 @Thustlewhumber: not got space of my screen for those two huge tits Razz
  • 3 0
 I have all my fav pics on 5 minute rotation on the desktop , too many great pics to only see one.
  • 1 0
 lol I know I am! I chose Gee Atherton doing the road gap for mine
  • 32 0
 I get nervous just looking at this stuff
  • 25 1
 Since this isnt, uci, will rob be back to his mouthy ways.........lets hope so! Bring back funny rob.
  • 1 9
flag HankBizzle (Sep 19, 2016 at 1:53) (Below Threshold)
 Need to lose Claudio from the commentary at world cups. He's a good guy and all that but his commentary sucks and the chemistry with him and Rob is just not there.
  • 24 0
 Just waiting for Sik Mik to suicide no hander the road gap. Standard procedure these days surely.
  • 6 0
 He did over the last double was crazy
  • 3 0
 Oh he did his famous no handed just not on the road gap but the final finish jump
  • 2 0
 He saved the suey for the last gap!!!
  • 3 0
 bernard did a freaking whip down that beast
  • 27 4
 Saddest sentence ever: "...Rachel Atherton's boyfriend..."
  • 22 31
flag DaFam4mDena (Sep 18, 2016 at 8:34) (Below Threshold)
 Maybe if she fixed that grill
  • 13 22
flag dannygoesmtb (Sep 18, 2016 at 8:58) (Below Threshold)
 @DaFam4mDena: lmao that's funny
  • 21 3
 These stumps in the first section are so DEADLY!!!! Hope there wont be any big accident in the finals, even if these guys " know what they re doing "
  • 18 0
 I see Mick Hannah came with a lot of back up riders.
  • 9 0
 I never really noticed that scar on Dan's head, apparently he's had it at least since 2008, anyone know if it's biking related?
  • 9 0
 That scar on his head is from when he jumped his BMX through a barn door...
  • 42 1
 @Kaspy: it's from when he beat the shit out of Chuck Norris lol
  • 2 1
 @pigman65: Big Grin Twice!
  • 9 1
 Why did they have to put this on at the same weekend as a BDS race?
  • 7 0
 Gee Atherton leading out his band of 'merry/fairly concerned for their safety' men. Best line!
  • 11 2
 That Jeep is ugly AF
  • 7 0
 Good to see a strong kiwi contingent. Sik 'em, bulldog!
  • 4 0
 Such an incredible track... I'd really love to see a course like this raced by the full field of top dh racers like it was a world cup event.
  • 1 0
 I this track open to the public at any time? I'm guessing no....

beautiful scenery and some gnar! I'm sure I'd skip most of the bigger features as they are probably horrifying in person, but would be rad to give some of this a go
  • 5 0
 Mega props to kerr, he road that shit like a boss!
  • 4 0
 is Wallace with black - red Wilson? new rear frame?
  • 1 0
 one frame down anyway!
  • 1 0
 No Marks bike is all silver. i think thats Braggy on the two tone wilson.
  • 1 0
 @Yarlezy: braggy and muddy in the same kind too
  • 4 0
 PB would be interesting to see a Bike check please!
  • 6 0
 Seems like most guys are on their worlds bikes aside from Brayton. Would be interesting to know how they run their bikes on a track like this though. It seems difficult to find a balance between settings that are good on the jumps as well as the technical sections.
  • 5 2
 If only Redbull tv was as smooth as Brayton i might actually b able to watch it..
  • 3 0
 Soooooo Ex-ci-ted!
and clearly don't ever want to wear cleats (see Mike Jones's crash picture... Ohh ohhh)
  • 4 0
 That race an live stream was thee ultimate shit...sick shit!
  • 5 0
 A shame Pinkbike didn't showcase the event more! One of the most riveting races of the year, sick riding, sick course and no crashes nor mechanicals in the final!
  • 4 0
 What a fantasic event, the coverage was great this year.... Roll on 2017
  • 3 0
 Is there a redbull live stream for this?
  • 1 0
 It says it will be shown "Live" in 3hrs, but that would be 7pm UK time?! Can't be Live. I am in Singapore btw...
  • 1 0
 @MTB-Colada: think it's not live. Does it work for you? I see only Broadcast will start soon...
  • 2 0
 I know the road gap is not new - but watching Gees POV and that seeing pic above it....sh*t that's big!
  • 1 0
 loved it yesterday! what and epic day. seriously bet Gee thought no one was going to catch him, he was so quick in that 1st section. even got a pic with DAN DA MAN!
  • 1 0
 not surprised the riders made it down the mnt. i am surprised those god-forsaken Jeeps made it out of the dealership repair bay. FIAT
  • 2 0
 I wonder how Sam Hill would do on this track.
  • 1 0
 It's like, 'Yeah, man, we all got the same gopro footage, ask any rider to get it, not much difference' WHY?
  • 1 0
 so, this track probly isn't a good representation of the public access riding in Wales...right?
  • 2 0
 You can tell it was a tough course by the number of riders with moustaches
  • 1 0
 This is gnarly beyond comparison!!!
  • 1 0
 I'm just surprised to see so many brown down jeeps on the trail in the UK
  • 1 0
 How do they determine the starting order? Is there a seeding run?
  • 1 0
 Yea there was seeding this AM I believe. I think I saw somewhere that for some it's been there first full run!
  • 2 0
 Crazy
  • 2 0
 go SIKMIK !!!
  • 1 0
 This must be a hard trail.
  • 1 0
 What can I say pinkbike.com and redbull.com
  • 3 2
 Are there no women who could hit this course?
  • 1 1
 Maybe Casey?
  • 1 1
 They should have an open invite to the women... If they are brave enough to hit it they can enter. Would be amazeballs to see.
  • 1 0
 Is Laurie Greenland riding this?
  • 1 0
 OMG, this jumps and drops are MASSIVE!!!
  • 1 0
 I was shaking looking at these photos. Intense!!!
  • 1 0
 Come on pinkbike lets get some bike checks done!!
  • 1 0
 haha!erase me again!!!still!!!get ur finger out ur ass!!!!
  • 1 0
 Just a bit homesick looking at these....
  • 1 0
 Just got back! What an awesome weekend!
  • 2 1
 Would love to see a WC race rhere
  • 2 0
 Wheres Danny HartLine?
  • 1 0
 I would like to see Cody kellly ride this
  • 1 0
 Computer wallpaper for days!
  • 1 0
 Oh boy, I love this :-)
  • 2 2
 Why is Brendog not there???
  • 1 0
 He's got a broken ankle or twisted knee or something I think
  • 5 0
 He hasn't broken his ankle, he twinged his knee at Vallnord but it's all good know. Probably keeping himself healthy for Rampage in October.
  • 1 2
 this should be right after rampage so riders from rampage can give it a go!
  • 1 0
 Nah. Rampage is the qualifier for this.... you just need 10 months to grow bigger balls. Joking. . Different kind if event. Both are mad.
  • 1 0
 Go big or go home!
  • 1 1
 Liking Dan's two brothers and a sister symbols on his jersey.
  • 1 0
 'ello boiiiiis
  • 3 5
 "Dan Atherton, of course, the man who started this savagery three years ago"

first RB hardline was 2014 TBF
  • 9 1
 Right so raced it 2014, raced it 2015, and now racing it for a 3rd time in 2016.
  • 4 11
flag poah (Sep 18, 2016 at 6:47) (Below Threshold)
 @kmayHD: now do some mental arithmatic, how many years ago was 2014?
  • 4 0
 @poah: but he started building it earlier
  • 5 0
 @poah: Pfft... haven't you heart of TIME TRAVEL!! The scar on his forehead is for the temporal tracking chip and integrated TV remote.
  • 3 0
 @poah: I'm pretty sure he started building this thing WAY before the first event in 2014 - so he would have been building it in 2103 for sure, hence "started ... three years ago".
  • 9 0
 I know somebody, who knows somebody, who robbed somebody, who told me that in 2013 it all started with Dan sending a formal letter stating: "Dear Mr R. Bull, I want Hardline. Send me a shovel. K? K. Best, Dan & the other Athertons."
  • 1 2
 Is Joe Smith riding a specialized demo rather than the nukeproof?
  • 1 3
 Kerr, Cunningham and brayton 1,2, & 3
  • 2 5
 Taylor get your finger out your ass!
  • 1 0
 Guess where my fingers are...
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