Pros check out the dual slalom course at BikeRadar Live

Rub shoulders with the world's best riders at Donington Park

A rogue’s gallery of the world’s best mountain bike riders gathered at Donington Park this afternoon to check out the course for the MBUK Eliminator dual slalom.


Among the first to to take a run down the BikeRadar Live track were UK 4X champ Scott Beaumont (Rocky Mountain) and Team ChainReactionCycles-Intense downhillers Chris Kovarik and Matt Simmonds.

They were soon joined by US racing legend Brian Lopes (Ibis), world champion downhiller Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) – whose injured brother Dan and sister Rachel were on the sidelines – and a host of other top riders, while World Cup downhill champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) could be seen at the top of the start ramp surveying the course.

The track, built by Will Longden, got the thumbs-up, although there were concerns that the wind could knock riders off course, especially on the huge first double jump.

The riders posed for a group photo – check it out in next month’s edition of Mountain Biking UK magazine – before sessioning the track.

Riders gather before checking out the course:
Oli Woodman/BikeRadar

Beaumont said: “The course is really smooth, the jumps are good and the start ramp is huge. The only problem is the cross-wind, but that’s dying down now so by tomorrow night it should be fine. I’m really looking forward to the racing.”

While Minnaar, who had just arrived on site, seemed impressed by what he had seen so far of BikeRadar Live, Lopes was weighing up whether to attempt the first double as he was buffeted by the wind at the top of the start ramp.

“There’s just a few jumps that seem too abrupt and a bit too ‘dirt jump-y’ for racing,” he said. “The last little rhythm section is really deep and close together so it’s pretty technical, in terms of it being really hard to go fast through it.”

That didn’t put off Aussie powerhouse Kovarik as he motored his way down the course. He said: “We’ve just got here after racing the World Cups in France and Andorra. For the last week or so we’ve been getting our Tazers [Intense’s 4X bike] ready for the race – we’ve put a longer fork on the front and it’s feeling really good.”

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Oli Woodman/BikeRadar

Saturday’s the big day

The action will kick off at 10.30am on Saturday (30 May), with a two-hour practice session. You’ll be able to see the pros close-up in the ‘Rider Paddock’ making their final adjustments.

Qualifying is from 2pm, and the fastest 62 riders will go head-to-head until just half remain to ride in the floodlit final, which starts at 8.30pm.

The course has been designed by 4X stars Will Longden and Dave Wardell, and will test even the most experienced riders. It features a 20ft-high tower start gate and a huge 25ft water jump.

There will be massive digital timing displays with split times, a giant finish bowl with great viewing areas and on hand to talk you through the action will be World Champs commentator Chris Ferber, downhill world champ Rachel Atherton and Team GT’s Dave Wardell.

Prizes for first, second and third are a share of a £5,000 cash prize. The winner will be crowned as the MBUK dual slalom pro champion and will receive a huge trophy.

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Oli Woodman/BikeRadar

Confirmed riders:

  • Dan Atherton
  • Gee Atherton
  • Steve Atkins
  • Paddy Baker
  • Rich Batey
  • Marc Beaumont
  • Scott Beaumont
  • Josh Bryceland
  • Patrick Campbell-Jenner
  • Dylan Clayton
  • Richard Cunningham
  • Ruaridh Cunningham
  • Sam Dale
  • Alex Dick
  • Neil Donoghue
  • Tom Dowie
  • Jason Egan
  • Duncan Ferris
  • Nick Geoghegan
  • Jordan Gould
  • Mick Hannah
  • Danny Hart
  • Christian Hatcher
  • Richard Holroyd
  • Ollie Jones
  • Chris Kellet
  • Bernard Kerr
  • Chris Kovarik
  • Lewis Lacey
  • Max Lenthall
  • Brian Lopes
  • Lucas Mechura
  • Alex Metcalf
  • Greg Minnaar
  • Liam Munn
  • James Norton
  • Martin Ogden
  • Steve Peat
  • Charlie Philips
  • Liam Philips
  • Nathan Rennie
  • Dale Russell
  • Romain Salidini
  • Matt Simmonds
  • Elliott Simmons
  • Stephen Simms
  • Steve Taylor
  • Ross Tricker
  • Dave Wardell
  • James Wilson

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About BikeRadar Live

BikeRadar Live is the biggest ever mass-participation cycling event to hit the UK, and will take place on the weekend of 30–31 May 2009 at Donington Park in Leicestershire.

The weekend will be packed full of races and challenges, with something for everyone, whether you want to compete, watch your friends and family or just check out some of the world’s best riders.

Entry into any of the events gives you full access to the festival’s many attractions including spectacular all-weather stunt displays, invitational dirt jump and dual slalom comps, a cycling film festival, live big top entertainment and the Scott Sunset DJ Sessions. Test yourself against pro and celebrity riders in the Procycling Hot Laps, post a time in the Wattbike comp or take the kids along to the CycleActive skills school. A purpose-built bikes and accessories expo will give festival-goers the chance to ride the latest bikes from leading brands and grab show-only deals on bikes and accessories.

Events include the Cycling Plus Sportive supported by Pacific Outdoor Equipment (100km & 100 mile), MBUK night-time enduros (12hr & 4hr), MBUK eliminator dual-slalom and the Devil Takes the Hindmost circuit race. Click here to sign up.

BikeRadar Live’s world-class facilities include on-site camping with a kids and family area, secure bike lock-up, showers, bike wash, workshop, picnic area, medical centre, viewing stands and food and drink market.


BikeRadar Live is brought to you by Future, the makers of MBUK, Cycling Plus,, What Mountain Bike, and Procycling.