Hardline – Taming the beast

It's beginning to get rowdy.

Photos and Words by Dan Griffiths.

Over the past few days, a few brave souls have been set the task of taming the beast that is Hardline.

Taking things one monster feature at a time, riders are beginning to appear more and more comfortable with the unforgiving, brute of a course.

Let’s take a look at how they’ve been getting on.

Most days at Hardline begin and end beside the comforting warmth of the fires.
Athy, keen to face his own demons for the second day.
Whereas Brayton comes to the horrifying realization that another day of Hardline awaits.
"Waheey, that's a punch in the arm, Matt".
Well, better get this over with then.
Kaos eases into the day with a mellow ten-foot drop to flat.
The invite list for this year sports such a varied field of riders, Sam Reynolds doing it for the free-riders.
Feeling he has something else up his sleeve...
Dumpin' it in for the boys.
Leading into the step up, Kaos drops in towards a sweeping left-hander.
Fayolle leads a train of keen contenders, hungry for more.
Oh, just some effortless style from David McMillan.
Still, one feature remains and it's a big one.
Gee emerges from the woods at Mach 10... you need some serious speed to get over the former 'Renegade' step-up, thus the 'Cannonball' was erected.
It's big, though Bruce appears to make easy work of it.
It doesn't take long before things begin to get rowdy, Muddy has a lucky escape.
McMillan just doesn't appear phased by the sheer size of some of these gaps.
And he wonders why we keep calling him a free-racer...
Fayolle seems to be doing a pretty good job of taming this gnarly course.
Lights out for Bondy, Hardline is tough on the body and mind.
As the rain sets in, under the safety of the marquee, it's feet up by the fire for most.
Meanwhile, some riders just have too much energy to burn, indoor session it is.
The man behind Hardline, apparently also knows how to build a decent skatepark.
While still in the building stages, Athy's put together the perfect wet-weather cave.
I think he's ridden here before... proceeding to concern us all as he sends it to the near-roof.
Kaos keeps it sensible and sideways.
"Look, mum, no hands".
Drilled into the center of these logs, pieces of paper revealing the riders starting positions for the race, one by one we find out who's going when.
The next day begins with some Sven Martin words of wisdom for the riders.
Feeling they needed more practice, riders took Saturday morning to re-session the step-up.
Hatton came up short, resulting in an OTB and a bike to the back of the dome. A trip to the hospital will conclude whether he races tomorrow.
We mustn't forget the sections between the main features, off-cambers and jagged rocks look to catch riders off guard.
Jerome Caroli getting elevated before the break.
Lunch and they're up again for more.
The top section is also home to a couple of step-ups, Kaos tests the wind before getting into them.
The Welsh elements prove too strong from the top jumps this time around, Brayton and Klein among the rest of the riders calling them off.
Jumps or not, this track will always find a way to catch you out.
As the afternoon begins to draw to an end, the boys put down their final practice runs before the awaited race day tomorrow.
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