Arainy morning couldn't dampen the spirits of the riders at Red Bull Hardline on finals day. After a few practice runs, spectators headed trackside to watch the full qualifying session which allowed only the top ten riders through to finals. The 2016 winner Bernard Kerr said after his qualifying, "It's kind of messy at the top, but I'm just having fun with it. Happy with my run!"
Gee Atherton put on an incredibly strong qualifying performance reminiscent of his Downhill World Cup season, and qualified in first place. Bernard Kerr has always performed well at Hardline as his riding style flatters the track and today was no different, qualifying in second place.
Junior Downhill World Champion Kade Edwards made his Hardline debut this weekend with an incredible performance, making it into finals. Unfortunately for Kaos Seagrave, a fall in the woods section just after the Road Gap ruined his run and a broken chain ring for Adam Brayton also ended his afternoon (Adam commented on social media that he was essentially "lucky" not to have qualified, such were the conditions on the day).
Rain showers across the afternoon made the top section of the track muddier and gnarlier than even last year's competition, but there was a title to claim and rain wasn't going to stop the riders from giving it their all.
Kade Edwards suffered a broken chain during his finals run, and Gaëtan Vigé made it all the way to the bottom of the course but after coming off the final fly off, he slid and went down.
The battle between the top three was intense, with Trek Factory Racing's Charlie Hatton setting a blinder of a lap time, putting the pressure on Kerr who was to follow him. At each split, Kerr was building up time against Hatton and came in five seconds ahead of him. Gee Atherton was the last man to drop in, and the crowd grew louder and and louder with each split time he set. In the end, Gee took his first ever Red Bull Hardline win.