Ae Forest BDS 2016: Saturday Practice

Photos: Simon Nieborak and Ian Lean
Words: Ian Lean

After heavy rain all through the night, riders woke to overcast but cloudy conditions for the first day of practice. It was all going swimmingly (no pun intended) until after lunch, when familiarity returned with light rain turning to heavy by 5PM. The conditions have meant all teams are spread across the site, so pro pits mingling with privateers has been a refreshing change.

The track resembled a cattle field on the top half, with what looked like chocolate fondue rivers flowing down the ruts, making it hard to recognise any riders or even number plates within a few metres from the start gate.

Making the best of grim conditions were the usual suspects, notably Danny Hart who has looked rapid since his first run. Phil Atwill, Innes Graham and James Purvis among others all looking more than comfortable of their new steeds. With the absence of Rachel Atherton, it will be down to Manon, Tahnee and Katy Curd to fight it out for the Elite Women category. 

At the end of the day, conditions were looking slightly more favourable for Sunday’s race (for the media squids mostly), with cloud cover! Hooray! Not sure if the riders were thinking the same, if that mud begins to dry it’s going to turn from boggy to sticky goodness.

Stay tuned for more!

New team colours really suit Gee Atherton. He was pinned today and he's definitely hungry for the top spot in the finals.
Team Dirt filmer Tommy C loving a bit of slop.
Innes Graham looking confident and very much at home on his new team and bike for 2016.
Loaded up and ready to go up on a hill to be ridden down as fast as their owner only can!
The BDS isn't just for the pros. There is every level of rider, from grassroots up to World Cup winner, represented at Ae.
Katy Curd doesn't have a great number of competitors to race against here. Yet it won't be a walk in the park to step on the highest box.
Peaty's still looking for points for his last season racing World cups, unfortunately this year he won't receive any at a BDS race, but willing to share his knowledge to the SPS clan.
Matt Simmonds.
It's amazing to see how the Ae course has developed over the years - decades - it has been in use as a national-level downhill track. From full natural in the beginning to what is now a quality mix of ruts, roots and man made. And mud.
Tahnée Seagrave looking fast with new bike sponsor.
After another off season in Australia with Sam Hill, will Mike jones of CRC Nukeproof be able to steal the first win of the season?
Mum will always keep you clean, even if it means making use of a jetwash on you!
Gareth Brewin making his first appearance for the Trailhead (shop) team.
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