Rachel Atherton

I’m inspired by people who have pushed their bodies to the limit

Rachel Atherton rides a trail through the Pentland Hills in Scotland
© Rutger Pauw/Red Bull Content Pool

Hi, my name is Rachel Atherton. My discipline is mountain bike downhill. My friends call me Waynehead. I was born on 6 December 1987 in Wells, UK. My philosophy of life is never ignore your instinct and you can always push harder. My favourite food is sushi and spinach with garlic. My favourite music is Roxette and The Eagles.


Over the years, Rachel Atherton has become a major player in downhill racing. After winning a host of categories in 2005, she was named Times Young Sportswoman of the Year and hasn’t looked back since.

She totally dominated the women’s downhill circuit in 2008, winning the World Cup overall and taking World Championship gold. On her way to the World Cup, overall she took four World Cup wins, and only missed out on a top two finish at one race, in Fort William.

Unfortunately, Rachel was involved in a road accident during pre-season training and took time out to recover, missing the entire 2009 season. But she returned and proved she was worthy of world titles after taking an impressive number of victories in 2010 to leave her in seventh place overall in the UCI Women's Elite downhill ranking.

2011 saw improvement to fourth overall and 1,365 points, only a slender 21 points behind third-placed French rider Myriam Nicole, with victory in her home race at Fort William and in the final event of the season at Windham on the way.

In the last few years, Rachel has done nothing but go from strength to strength. Since 2008, she has taken four UCI World Cup titles (2008, 2012, 2013 and 2015), and three World Champion titles – including a hat-trick of "doing the double". Only overwhelming illness during the 2014 season put Rachel off her game; but she bounced back, and reclaimed the World Cup title in 2015 after consecutively winning six of seven races in the season, followed up by a UCI elite women's World Champion downhill title.

“When you're young titles almost happen more easily, this year means even more to me because of the hard graft that I’ve put in to get here,” she said in 2013 after her double-title victory. 

Rachel looks set to continue to dominate the world’s podiums, proving that she is arguably the best female Downhill Mountain Biker on the planet!

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Career Highlights

  1. 2015
    1. UCI Downhill World Champion

  2. 2015
    1. UCI Downhill World Cup Champion

      Rachel’s fifth consecutive victory earned her the series overall win at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Windham, USA

  3. 2013
    1. UCI Downhill World Champion

    2. UCI Downhill World Cup Champion

    3. British Downhill National Champion

  4. 2012
    1. UCI Downhill World Cup Champion

  5. 2008
    1. UCI Downhill World Champion

    2. UCI Downhill World Cup Champion