Gee Atherton wins MBUK Eliminator

Brian Lopes loses out in nail-biting final at BikeRadar Live

British downhiller Gee Atherton has just been crowned as the Mountain Biking UK dual slalom pro champion after a thrilling final run showdown with US 4X star Brian Lopes at BikeRadar Live.

Third place went to France's Romain Saladini (Sunn), while Britain's Scott Beaumont (Rocky Mountain) came a close fourth. After a crash in practice, Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) had decided to bow out of the competition rather than risk injury and lose his lead in the World Cup.

After his win, Atherton (Animal Commencal) said: "It feels good to ride in front of a home crowd so I was always on the cards for a win, but with Lopes, Salidini, all the fast boys, it was always going to be a good race.

 "I tried to take it easy in practice because I knew it was going to be a really long evening. The first run [in the finals] was super close so on the second run I tried to relax and just  get stuck in."

An initial field of 32 qualifiers was whittled down through five two-race rounds (riders swapped lanes after the first run in each moto), with most of the big names, including World Cup downhill champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Aussie powerhouse Chris Kovarik (ChainReactionCycles Intense) making it through to the final stages.

Marc Beaumont (L) and Lewis Lacey jostle for the lead

The races were not without incident however, with a particularly dramatic crash between Tom Dowie (Spank) and Danny Hart (Lapierrre) on the finish line and plenty of other wince-inducing collisions.

In the third round, Atherton knocked out Matt Simmonds (ChainReactionCycles Intense), Salidini won against Minnaar, Lopes ended Kovarik's hopes and Scott Beaumont took out Mark Beaumont (GT).

Brian Lopes (L) beat Chris Kovarik to earn a place in the finals

Fastest qualifier Atherton then beat Salidini to face Lopes in the finals, where he won both final motos, elliciting a huge roar from the home crowd and sparking a night of partying.

Fourth place went to Beaumont, who was pleased with his performance, saying: "I'm full of cold at the moment so 10 runs down there and I'm hanging! I'm stoked though."

Greg Minnaar was knocked out in the third round by French rider Romain Salidini

Results

1 Gee Atherton 0:00:28.965
2 Brian Lopes 0:00:29.772
3 Romain Salidini 0:00:29.540
4 Scott Beaumont 0:00:29.074
5 Chris Kovarik 0:00:29.319
6 Greg Minnaar 0:00:29.326
7 Matt Simmonds 0:00:30.329
8 Marc Beaumont 0:00:30.417
9 Lewis Lacey 0:00:29.839
10 Josh Bryceland 0:00:30.371
11 Rich Batey 0:00:30.486
12 Tom Dowie 0:00:30.565
13 Jordan Gould 0:00:30.747
14 Ruaridh Cunningham 0:00:30.759
15 Pat Campbell-Jenner 0:00:30.837
16 Dale Russell 0:00:30.954
17 Neil Donoghue 0:00:30.960
18 Bernard Kerr 0:00:31.238
19 Sam Dale 0:00:31.305
20 Richard Cunningham 0:00:31.311
21 Danny Hart 0:00:31.433
22 Jamie Goldman 0:00:31.562
23 Kieron McAvoy 0:00:31.595
24 Alex Dick 0:00:31.762
25 Duncan Ferris 0:00:31.944
26 Stephen Simms 0:00:32.002
27 James Wilson 0:00:32.092
28 Liam Munn 0:00:32.503
29 Stefan Garlicki 0:00:32.792
30 Jason Egan 0:00:33.016
31 AJ Boardman 0:00:34.954
32 Ollie Jones 0:00:35.407
33 Philip Evans 0:00:35.533
34 Alex Metcalf 0:00:36.702
35 Mike Yard 0:00:36.878
36 Simon Scruby 0:00:38.355
37 Joe Kennedy 0:00:39.453
38 Chris Kellet 0:00:40.138
39 Peter Newman 0:00:41.596

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