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This weekend is Red Bull Hardline’s ten-year anniversary. It’s a must-watch event for any mountain bikers calendar. Over the years we have watched with awe both the course and the rider's progression.

Set in the iconic Dyfi Valley in Wales the course is designed by Dan Atherton. This year it featured a Canyon Gap (referred aptly to as the Gap of Doom) which was off the charts! 

In the last few days as we have seen with dizzying wonder at the edge of our seats riders practice it (Bernard Kerr and Matt Jones) we have also seen a near-death experience as Jim Monro crashed out. 

So the infamous 70-foot gap feature with over a 100 feet + drop, has now been removed for the actual race!

Instead, the new top section will be used, with the old track linked in with a section that will be fixed for practice.

Although some changes to the take-off have been made it was too late in the day to get a safety net installed so word on the ground is it will be back for next year.

Rampage is a 'freeride' race where riders choose their lines (however insane) and even build them with their dig crew. Hardline is a 'downhill' race where riders can't choose their lines. This is an important distinction. We probably avoided an unnecessary death. Next year, with amendments and a net, it will be dialled but then again, is this a downhill feature or a high jeopardy freeride feature being imposed on a downhill racer? The disciplines are merging. We are probably five years from seeing features like this on the Downhill circuit. We shall see on who decides to run.

So, is this a sensible decision? or is this any different to the type of near-death jeopardy feature we see common at Rampage but just a step too far or too early in expectation for this UK race? Is freeride and downhill merging into one? or maybe it's just an effective publicity stunt? You tell me? 

Published: 29/05//2024
 

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