BDS Final This Weekend - Hopton Race Preview

Sep 11, 2017 at 14:00
by Simon Paton  
The Kestrel soars in practice before diving in for the win

The HSBC UK National Downhill Series Presented by GT Bicycles rolls into Hopton on Saturday and Sunday the 16th and 17th of September. The venue itself is just two fields down from the famous 11th century Hopton Castle which became notorious during the Civil War between Parliament and King Charles I. Hopton is located between Knighton and Craven Arms, near Ludlow in Shropshire.

We have to look back as far as 18 years ago to 1999 for the last time a National was held a Hopton and it was Tracy Moseley who won the Elite Women with Rich Warner (Rob's younger brother) who won the Elite Men's category. The tried and trusted BDS Team have been working closely with Dave Pearce of Pearce Cycles regards a number of track improvements and general track maintenance to give the series the send off it deserves.

Practice is all day Saturday from 09:30 to 18:00 with practice Sunday morning 08:30 to 11:00 followed by Seeding Runs starting at 11:15 and race runs around 14:15. The last rider down should be around 17:00 with podiums commencing straight after.

Parking and camping are free for everyone, with a spectator fee of £5 per person on the door for those aged 16 or over with those aged 15 or under entering for free.

With Hopton being the series final, the riders near the top of the results will be fighting hard to retain their positions or go even higher up the final rankings. The best four out of five rounds count to racers can drop their worst round from the overall with seeding carrying 50 points for the win and race runs carrying 200 points for the top spot. Check out below to see where the series final standings will be won or lost.

Schwalbe Elite Men

Hatton is the 1st year rookie surprising everyone with his step up from Junior to Elite and leads out BDS regular and last round winner (at Llangollen) Mr. Gas to Flat by only 49 points so it could be anyone's game. Last years series winner Simmonds sits safely in third place whilst Reading on his custom Geomotron will certainly defend his fourth place as Hart will not be making an appearance.

1. Charlie HATTON – Intense Racing UK – 647
2. Adam BRAYTON – Hope Technology – 598
3. Matt SIMMONDS – Madison Saracen Factory Team – 526
4. Jack READING – One Vision Global Racing – 488
5. Danny HART – MS Mondraker – 422

Track live Kyle Hall on course

Schwalbe Elite Women

Seagrave has this one in the bag without even crossing the start line as will Sandler securing 2nd place knowing that Carpenter is now retired.

1. Tahnée SEAGRAVE – FMD Racing – 810
2. Veronique SANDLER – – 525
3. Manon CARPENTER – Radon/Radon Factory DH Racing – 440
4. Aston TUTT – Madison Saracen Development Team – 404
5. Meg WHYTE – Creation Cycles/FoxHead/Hope/Transition Bikes UK – 395

Fabric Expert Men

The man of the moment is Cockburn, this guy is going for Brayton's title when it comes to recklessness on a bike. The guy is dangerous yet still a pleasure to watch as he goes through the motions.

1. Luke COCKBURN – Dole Racing – 722
2. Kieran DAVIES – Crankbrothers/Clif Bar/Decade/Mudhugger/Plushhill Cycles – 506
3. Will HART – Independent Bike Co/ – 450
4. Nils WILLIAMS – CGM Fitness/CGMFitness/StevePeatSyndicate – 445
5. Kris GEMMELL – Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique – 436

Mark Beaumont leads team mate into the woods

DMR Juveniles

So on paper Luffman has this one sealed as long as he stays on. National Champion Smith will be looking to go better than being bridesmaid at the last two BDS rounds. Then we have Irelands O'Callaghan who threw a spanner in the works and won the last round at Llangollen.

1. Dennis LUFFMAN – Bad Ass Bikes – 810
2. Connor SMITH – NX2 – 624
3. Oisin O'CALLAGHAN – Cube IRL/Cube Ireland/Trailrider – 532
4. Logan WILCOX – Danny Hart's Descend Bike Park – 520
5. Dowie EVANS – Pursuit Cycles – 498

Funn Youth Men

National Champion Tyrell makes a welcome return. Let me commend him on taking time out of the racing calendar to rest up after banging his head real hard whilst out in Austria in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis at the very start of August. Edmondson is ruling this category so far and looks like he just can't be caught.

1. Jamie EDMONDSON – FMD Racing/Transition Bikes/Transition Factory Racing – 900
2. Luke WILLIAMSON – Atherton Academy – 732
3. James ELLIOTT – Madison Saracen Development Team – 563
4. Chris CUMMING – Nukeproof – 525
5. Morgan TYRRELL – – 510

Whip off has been and gone not that Ronan cared

Spank Junior Men

I still can't get over that high-speed jump to manual that can be viewed on Facebook from Breeden. Expect a late charge from Walker for the series title if he gets a great result here as he can drop his bad round at Fort William where a mechanical took him out of the points chase. Who will win the race this weekend? I have absolutely no idea, the quality in this top five is something special and a testament to the BDS breeding ground of future World Cup racers.

1. Joe BREEDEN – Intense Racing UK – 832
2. Matthew WALKER – Madison Saracen Factory Team – 754
3. Henry KERR – Dirt Magazine/Propain Dirt Zelvy – 539
4. Kade EDWARDS – Trek Factory Racing – 455
5. Joe PARFITT – FMD Racing – 444

Shimano Senior Men

Matthews made the welcome return this year after losing his spleen at Innerleithen on the final road crossing a number of years back. He'll need to bring his 'A Game' to the series final as it's neck and neck with only 25 points between him, McBain and Anderson. Farrow is sitting on top of the tree with an 87 point lead.

1. Kyle FARROW – 635
2. Scott RICHARDSON – Steve Peat Syndicate – 547
3. Billy MATTHEWS – NW MTB/Nort West Mountain Bike Centre – 440
4. Calum MCBAIN – Empire Cycles – 405
5. James ANDERSON – MDS Bikes – 405

Did style cost Jamie the 0 00 71 he needed to take the win... worth it.

Dainese Master Men
Neal leads Batey out by 49 points, is that a comfortable lead? Not in downhill, it isn't as anything can happen and it's not over until the fat lady sings.

1. Mark NEAL – Loose Riders Northeast – 697
2. Richard BATEY – CycleBarn/DN1 – 628
3. Michael VICKERS – Steve Peat Syndicate – 593
4. Jason SHILL – Keswick Bikes – 567
5. Peter WALTON – Loose Riders Northeast – 519

NS Bikes Veteran Men

National Champion Titley has been in a close battle all season with Hughes and Mark 'The Claw' Weightman. Hughes called me up today asking me to change the last jump, is that a sign of weakness or nerves as he goes into the last round?

1. Andrew TITLEY – Intense Racing UK – 740
2. Mark WEIGHTMAN – Leisure Lakes – 707
3. Stuart HUGHES – Pinned TV/Transtion Bikes – 610
4. Bill YOUNG – Team Foosh – 412
5. Kris LORD – 405

Conor Smith makes light work of the top double in the early morning sun

Grand Veteran Men

Now, these coffin dodgers should know better at their age. The creeks and groans are not from the bikes, they are from the joints and bones of these 50-year-old legends on course with some of them on their second or even third mid-life crisis!

Ex Power Boat European and World Champion Little almost takes a clean sweep so far, can he hang on and go for the dream season points wise? We will know come Sunday afternoon.

1. Pete LITTLE – Pedalabikeaway/Sprung – 900
2. Paul LE – MAITRE – 675
3. Richard BINNS – Revolution Bikepark – 560
4. Steve FELSTEAD – Global Bike DH Race Team – 495
5. Mark TAYLOR – NX2 – 264

Dexshell Open Women

The Open Women's category boasts all ages from Seniors, Masters and Veteran racers taking to the start gate. Sloan leads this one out with a commanding lead over seasoned veteran Hanley with a safety buffer of 202 points.

1. Abbie SLOAN – Team Empire Cycles – 865
2. Lindsay HANLEY – Tredz – 683
3. Ellie DEWDNEY – Moore Large O'neal Race Team – 635
4. Mikayla PARTON – West Highland Wheelers – 460
5. Emily DEASON – Team Creation Cycles – 90

Rachel Atherton Junior Women

Expect a late challenge to current leader, Atkinson from Norwegian Johnset who has only competed in three BDS events so far this year.

1. Maya ATKINSON – Hammoon/Kore components/Rose Bikes Factory Racing – 703
2. Mille JOHNSET – Atherton Academy – 650
3. Ellen FLEWITT – Aston Hill MTB Club/Team Aston Hill – 615
4. Meghan HARRIS – Team Aston Hill – 539
5. Megan JAMES – T-MO Racing/T-Mo – 500

And if you didn't already know, this will be the last ever BDS after 11 years solid service as I hang up my British Cycling course tape and radio to move onto pastures new with the likes of the Malverns Festival in June 2018. So come along and give the riders your support and the series a big send off.

I look forward to seeing you all trackside as I'll be inside the tapes!

Pictures by Tristan Tinn.

MENTIONS: @si-paton / @GTBicycles


  • + 12
 Best of luck to Si and all of the BDS team for the final round. Thanks for everything you have done for British downhill racing over your tenure.
  • + 5
 Best of luck for the future Si. 10 great years of racing pushing the UK to become one of the top Downhill Nations in the world. Top job!
  • + 1
 Yea good work Si. I remember racing in the NPS national points league back in the day and you wear involved there too if I remember. Do you still have that number plate SI BMX
  • + 1
 Well done Si and team over the years, brilliantly run series. Helped put UK DH at the top of world stage, interesting to see who can carry on the success. Good luck in your future ventures!!
  • - 1
 I think it's pretty disrespectful to talk of "track improvements" - Dave and Lindsey have built a more popular and successful
race series than the BDS could ever hope to be, and all off their own backs and with fewer resources. I imagine Dave could teach most builders a thing or two about building awesome DH tracks.
  • - 1
 Think it's you that's being disrespectful, a better series than the BDS, jog on
  • + 4
 Even the best track can be tweaked and improved. The Hopton track is superb and Pearce put on amazing races, but Dave isn't one to rest on his laurels so I'm sure he's happy to tidy things up where needed.
  • + 1
 I think you are over-reacting a little to the comment, It sounded to me more like a respectful mention of Dave and Lindsey as they are the people behind this place.
  • + 2
 @pigman65: Entry numbers dont agree with you.
  • + 2
 @DH7Abbie is gonna smash it for the Empire team this weekend!
  • + 2
 Is this £5 per spectator a new thing?
  • + 0
 I think its something that they have done before but I find it utterly ridiculous - Thats £20.00 for a family of 4 to go and watch people they know, their kid etc race.

£5.00 per car to park - I could sign up for that - the race needs more spectators, not less.
  • + 5
 @Racer951: We charge spectators as we have duty of care for them as well as having to provide for them: An additional hire of a field for parking, more toilets, a bigger skip, more rubbish to pick up, ensuring a spectator route is cut as well as taping the course with spectator zones and clearings to ensure they are safe.

To ensure the spectators a great view of the bottom section we even cut down loads of branches giving them a good view of the track and riders. That includes high branches using a Silky Pole Saw (not cheap to buy!)

As well as managing them through the BDS Team, Marshals and appropriate signage onsite as well as on the website. All that costs ££££ hence the charge. As said children 15 or under enter for free.
Also note we have the best safety record within BC with the BDS over the last 11 years. i.e You are in safe hands.

I find it utterly ridiculous that spectator management is not high on everyone's agenda. Safety should be paramount, hopefully that may make you think that responsible event organisers are not just pocketing the cash for no outlay or responsibility.
  • + 1
 @si-paton: Im sorry Si, I agree things need to be safe and rubbish needs to be collected but this kind of charge will just put people off watching races, surely?

You say about trimming etc and providing spectator areas but what about when races are conducted at the bike parks bike BPW, Revolution, Antur etc?

I came to watch at antur a few years ago and I watched people walk away from the race due to the charge with many people just walking 100 yards around the metal fence and entering for free anyway - Once inside there was no way to tell between who had paid and who hadnt? There was no parking provided either, we all 'illegally' parked on the pavement in order to watch.

The biggest point I will make about the spectator fee is that I seem to remember spectators being asked to collect tape / poles too when the race had ended - £5.00 to watch and then we helped do the organisers job?
  • + 1
 @Racer951: The three bike parks you have mentioned have groomed trails but there's still no spectator route at these places which is what takes the time. Watching world class athletes for a fiver i can deal with, the next step up from BDS for spectating in the UK is Fort bill, that's not cheap!

At the end of the day, its hardly breaking the bank. The family of four you referenced would more likely cost a tenner as id assume the two children would be under 16. Sure, a smaller DH race would be free but do you get to see multiple World Cup and World Champs race winners? No is the answer there goose.

Thanks for everything you've done for the sport Si.
  • + 0
 Charging to spectate seems like another money making call to me another way to kill the sport !

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