Dave, downhilling in Wales

It’s been a while since there has been a downhill event in the UK. The last one was in 2005 up in bonnie Scotland. With a lack of big mountains, ski resorts and differing tastes amongst Britain’s mountainboarders, downhill comps aren’t the easiest things to organise, but the ATBA-UK came close last year. However, through a mixture of confusion over who owned the land, who managed it and some protected moss, the event didn’t happen. This year however things were different.

Roger Swanell and Joe Gatley decided to take an ‘arrange-it-and-they-will-come’ attitude. They went out and found a track (‘Dave’ a couple of miles or so forest road in Wales), spoke to the Forestry Commission, spoke to the ATBAuk and sorted out the permissions and insurance the event needed. They figured out a way timing things without trailing cables everywhere, set the date and Robert’s your father’s brother. Come the last weekend in July there was nothing left to do apart from turn up and see if they would be met in the car park by a load of boarders eager to charge down a forest track in deepest Wales.

I went along to take some pics and tweet like my brain was leaking (and turned up late after getting lost due listening to my satnav). So the chances are you have already seen my thoughts from the day.

This is what the most important people thought about Dave the track for ATBA-UK Downhill comp for 2011:

What was good?
“I thought the track was great, not too technical to stop newcomers from riding it, but with some lovely corners to allow the riders with the technique to put in some mega quick times”

“Cool track, lots of peeps, good uplifts, good amount of runs”

“There were a lot of riders who I haven’t met at freeride meets; so evidently the word went out pretty wide”

“Good choice of track (for all abilities)”

“Timings worked perfectly”

“Well organised and no-one was stood around scratching their heads not knowing what to do”

“Choice of hill great”

“Nice friendly vibes from all!”

“Keeping the event simple and light hearted”

“Excellent track for all levels”

“A fantastic track and ace turnout with many people coming 2/3/4+ hours to be there”

“Was a wicked event, my first time competing and I got 1st place in the Novice category, so pleased with that!”

What could have been better?

“But ultimately any uplift is better than none and I got a total of 6 runs in – which was enough”

“Viewing for public and ourselves”

“Earlier start time”

“Smoke grenades”

Would you go again?
“Yes – but mainly see it as a new mountainboard experience on these kind of tracks”

“Absolutely yes”

“Yes – and it would probably be the only reason for me to join the ATBA as well. It is offering freeriders/DH’ers a reason to join that currently doesn’t exist (barring ATB shop discounts)”

“I would definitely do a downhill comp in the future”

Any other comments?
“It could be good to have a real-time leaderboard at the bottom. It doesn’t have to be complicated – a bit of wood with velcro’d names on would be enough. There was time for results to be calculated and posted up while uplifts were happening – and it makes it a bit more competitive. I had no idea about my times until we got to the pub”

“There was a bit of waiting around while uplifts were going on; it would have been good if there could have been 1 or 2 trips up rather than 4 – or if there was an alternate route back to the top”
“The day felt more like a big meet up/reunion than a competition, and that is a very good thing”

“More of this sort of thing, please!”

And what they said on Facebook

Chris Benstead
“Tiring day to say most of it involved rolling downhill… Came 2nd in the novices though – so woot!”

Jessica Gatley
“is realy chuffed on how well the first downhill comp went this weekend :)”

Mark Childs
“OMG! 1st place masters category, 5th overall;-);-);-)”

Milly Gatley
“Came 1st in the ladies uk downhill mountain board competition :D”

Jason Langdell
“this weekend i will be mainly doing this”

Lawson David
“Great fun UK Mountain Boarding in Wales the longest 3 mins 50 seconds of my life!”

Ed Richardson
“Came 3rd today in the UK downhill comp”

Brennig Hughes
“Awesome time at Dave”


JC – 3.24
Grove Sykes – 3.38
Lawson David – 3.50
Mark Sullivan – 3.59

Josh Campbell – 3.39
Zak Campbell – 3.46
Ed Richardson – 3.39
Tom Lewis – 4.09
Rob Holmes – 4.29
James Morris – 5.32

Milly Gatley – 4.46
Jess Gatley – 5.11

Mark Childs – 3.58
Mark Peck – 4.11
Ade McCordick – 4.34
Martin D’Arcy – 4.47
Lee Campbell – 4.48
Steve Morris – 4.53

Travis Birdsall – 4.07
Chris Bensted – 4.23
Brenning Hughes – 4.27
Jay Langdell – 5.54
Phil Holmes – 8.03

Good Times!
Intro by Smilie and comments collected and editored by Roger Swanell
Photo’s copyright Smilie snaps and Decreate

Originally published on Remolition

A bit of downhill history

Gordan, from Llanwrtyd Wells Events Committee, brought his old Ground Hog board to Dave the downhill competition to show us a bit of mountainboarding history.

Dave Vs. Goliath

Goliath, Wales

Goliath is a big bad downhill track a couple of miles away from Dave. Think we a need a ride-off between Dave and Goliath to see which track is best. Put it on the ‘to do’ list.

Countdown to ‘Dave’, UK Downhill Mountainboarding

Seven days, 120 hours, 7200 minutes. This time next week we’ll be kicking off at ‘Dave’, the first UK downhill Mountainboarding competition since 2005. Everything I’m seeing is telling me that Downhill is coming of age. More people are riding with brakes, and not because they haven’t developed the skills to go fast but because they want to do more on a board than you can without a brake. People are going further, higher, steeper, and longer, and they are doing out there on their own. It’s time to start getting them all together.

This year we have ‘Dave’, a pretty cool little downhill track and comp in it’s own right but essentially a test case and our first attempt at getting all those downhill-orientated people into competition riding. We already have leads on future DH comps in the Lake District and Scotland. All we have to do is get enough people into downhilling to make it worthwhile. So, if you’re thinking about coming to ‘Dave’, take a look at all this and do it.