The five-race British Cycling MTB Downhill Series (BDS), sponsored by Shimano, is one of the most prestigious national downhill series in the world. The top 300 riders in the UK take part, as well as some of the best of the rest from around the world, attracted by the prospect of winning UCI points and £30,000 worth of prizes.
At each race, Saturday is practice day with riders learning the best lines over the rugged terrain. This is followed on Sunday by a timed seeding run and then one race run, with riders firing out of the start hut every 30 seconds. Racing is done in age categories for both female and male riders, and finishes with the Pro Elite category.
In 2013, 13 out of 14 of the UCI’s Elite teams took part in at least one round, and many of the world’s best riders, including Josh Bryceland, Steve Smith, Greg Minnaar, Loic Bruni and Cedric Gracia, made an appearance. In the men’s category, races were won by Gee Atherton (twice), Danny Hart, Adam Brayton and Steve Peat. For the women, Rachel Atherton won three of the five races.
In 2014, the BDS begins at the Antur Stiniog Mountain Bike Centre, Wales, the first time the venue has hosted a race at national level. The series then moves on to the legendary Fort William World Cup track and the Ae Forest in Scotland, before returning to Wales to finish at Llangollen and Bike Park Wales.