Photos: Winder // Moonhead

Forest of Dean local lad Charlie Hatton has bagged himself the deal of a lifetime with a full time seat on Trek Factory Racing for next year.

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After a stunning season as a first year elite on Saddleback Intense Factory Racing UK that saw him crowned BDS champion and finished with an 11th place in Val di Sole, Charlie will be making the move to a Factory set up with the Athertons and Kade Edwards - best of all he'll be starting the season with the 26 plate, 17 places higher than team mate Gee!

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Hatton showed up to a recent Biggest Slice of British Pie shoot on the new steed so we pulled him aside for a few words on the move:

How was the Pie shoot?

Good, it was the first day on the new bike so it was pretty wild. I just had to get straight into it and try and put a bit of a show on.

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What were you expecting start of the year last year?

So, start of the year I didn't really have any expectations, I just wanted to try and qualify at every round at World Cups and then top ten BDS, they were my initial goals. Then the first race I did, I was fifth at Nant G and my goals suddenly changed.

It was just a snowball effect from then on - I just bounced from one result to another and it got real good by the end of the season!

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Which result stands out for you as the best?

The standout was probably Fort William qualifying.  In my run I caught someone up and I was stuck behind him for a while and then I burped my tyre at the bottom so I had like 10 psi to the line. I qualified tenth and that was my second ever Elite World Cup. Holy shit. You normally have to have a pinned run to get top ten and somehow I managed to do it with all that going on.

How does it feel to be BDS champion?

Pretty crazy actually! I was junior champion last year and that was pretty sick and now doing it back-to-back is mad. I never really thought it at the start of the year. I'm definitely going to do some BDS next year but I'm not sure I'm going to do the full series. Sometimes I'd feel pretty fatiugued because I'd raced a National beforehand but I'm definitely going to do the first few because they're such a high standard.

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When did Trek first approach you?

It was quite a weird one really. After National Champs they followed me on Instagram so I was like: "oh here we go" and then we didn't hear anything for a while.

When I used to ride for Dirt as a first year junior, Jonesy had sent an email to Dan Brown asking if he had any space and they said no. Then Browny actually replied to that email again from about three years ago saying they'd like to have a chat.

How well do you know the Athertons?

Before this year I'd not really spoken to them. I obviously knew who they were and I'd always watched them growing uo so now to be on the same team is pretty crazy.

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What are they putting in the water in South Wales?

Yeah, it's mad really that there are so many fast people around this area. I ride a lot with Matt [Walker] and when we go practicing it's pretty lethal. We say we'll just take it steady and then third run in we're going absolutely flat out.

I think it's really good becuase if you're riding with people like that all the time, I'm pushing him, he's pushing me and it just makes you go faster, it's ideal.

How's the new bike?

I've got my new downhill bike and I've had a few sneaky practice days where no one was allowed to see me on some pretty secretive tracks that the Athertons have built. I'm still on the 650 but I'd like to try the 29er.

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Did you ever try the Intense 29er?

No, they were pretty slim on the ground! I think Jack Moir had a couple and Dean Lucas and that was it really. I sat on it and it did feel good but for me not being that tall I don't know if it will be beneficial.

What are the goals this year?

My best result last year was 11th so it would be good to creep into that top 10. There's nothing holding me back, all the support is there, all I've got to do is ride my bike!

Also new for this year will be Endura providing kits and Renthal (bars, stems, grips) and Hope (headsets, seatposts, brakes, hubs) also joining the Athertons' sponsor list.