The Final Round

Charlie and Veronique take gold at Hopton.

Images & Words by Dan Griffiths

Nestled amongst the rolling hills of Shropshire, with thanks to the guys at Pearce cycles, Hopton was able to see its first national round in over ten years.

This weekend marked the end of an era, as we saw off Si Paton’s British downhill series with one last round.

Despite the demise of the BDS being ultimately down to low entry numbers, Hopton saw a great turnout of riders and loyal fans to send it off.
The short, yet sweet track is packed full of roots, features and tight ruts to keep things interesting.
Of which Maya Atkinson appears to make easy work of.
Plenty of tight, loose turns make for interesting viewing and exciting riding.
Jack Reading getting leant over through the ferns during seeding.
The final turn before the home straight, a fast step down into a flat, slick corner caught so many out in the final seconds of their race runs.
Long, winding rutted turns fill the lower half of the track.
Will Hart prior to a trackside lay down, he'd later go on to place first in the Expert men's field.
Lovin' It.
Full factory, Luke Cockburn takes his 'traccy b's' for a ride.
So began finals... Kaos the free-racer was in the hot-seat for a brief moment, before finally settling for third place. Not bad considering he'd been "on the sesh" till 4 am that morning.
The difference between hungover, and not hungover? Seven seconds apparently, as Joe Breeden demonstrates.
Sporting his newly acquired rainbow stripes, Matt Walker was always going to be one to look out for, as he would prove so in finals, finding a second on Joe, taking first place and clinching the overall title.
In elite women's, a time of 3:05 minutes put Becci Skelton in 3rd place.
Aston Tutt had that little bit more to give, one second in fact, as she claimed herself a 2nd place finish.
Veronique Sandler claimed the biggest winning margin of the day by a respectable fourteen seconds.
Moving onto the elite men's field, CRC's Mike Jones went fifth.
Half a pedal stroke separated One Vision's Jack Reading from 5th place, going a mere 0.09 faster than Mike.
Slugger didn't hang around, finishing the series with a run worthy of a third place.
Going full Gas to Flat into the finish, though not quite enough for Adam Brayton as he goes nearly two seconds back on the leader.
Powering into the finish, Charlie Hatton claims race leader, series winner, and the fastest time of the day, all in one 2:17 minute run.
Confetti showers for Si Paton himself, as he crosses the line, last rider down, and last man to pass under the British Downhill Series finish arch.
Finally, for that all important moment.
Aston Tutt and Veronique Sandler are your third, and second place series leaders. Had Tahnee have made an appearance, we'd see her atop the first place step as the 2017 women's elite champion... her younger brother Kaos had to suffice.
Finally, the elite men series leaders; Brayton, Simmonds, and Hatton finish up on top.
Your 2017 British National Series Champion.
British Downhill Series signing out. Cheers, Si.

You can see the full results here.

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