Welcome to Hardline: No mortals allowed

Hardline was built to push the world's best riders to their limits - see how they fared on race day.
By Faye Brozek

Dan Atherton wanted to build a course that pushed the world's best to their limits. So, in a mere six weeks, he took a piece of Welsh hillside, a tonne of man-hours and built one of the most demanding racetracks ever seen.

Cue, gnarly rock gardens, giant slab rolls, tight woods sections, technical natural features and a giant man-made road gap. Add nine of the world's best downhillers and you have the very first Hardline race.

Check out the action captured on race day and see more from the event here.

Pro tip: use your keyboard to jump between photos
This isn't the Alps - Welcome to Wales
Danny Hart on the Hardline track in North Wales
This isn't the Alps - Welcome to Wales Back in September, some of the world’s best mountain bike riders descended on a small part of the Mid-Wales countryside to ride one of the most difficult downhill runs ever created, Red Bull Hardline. © Duncan Philpott
There was no shortage of speed...
Brendan Fairclough on the flat-out fast section
There was no shortage of speed... A mixture of tough technical rock gardens, fast forest sections and huge man made and dirt jumps meant that the track was like nothing the riders had raced on before. © Duncan Philpott
Joe Smith coming out of the dark woods
Joe Smith coming out the dark of the woods
Joe Smith coming out of the dark woods Creating the course had long been a dream of Dan's, who was keen to design and build an event that had absolutely no restrictions. Unlike a regular UCI World Cup event, where more than 250 riders can take part, Red Bull Hardline was an invite only event, reserved for the best riders in the world. © Duncan Philpott
Gee Atherton hitting up the road gap at Hardline
Gee Atherton hitting up the road gap at Hardline
Gee Atherton hitting up the road gap at Hardline Nine world-class riders, including; Brendan Fairclough, Loic Bruni, Mike Jones, Nico Vink, Sam Dale and Danny Hart were invited to take on one of hardest downhill mountain bike courses in the world in Wales, UK. © Duncan Philpott
Danny Hart, foot-out, flat-out!
Danny Hart getting loose on the Hardline track
Danny Hart, foot-out, flat-out! “Only a few riders were invited and I was ecstatic to be one of those! The course was incredible, scary and difficult; usually tracks have average sections linking up the jumps, but Dan did an amazing job of making the sections link together seamlessly and scaring the living daylights out of us!” © Duncan Philpott
It was unusually dry for Wales!
Loic Bruni kicking up a storm at Hardline
It was unusually dry for Wales! Wales was experiencing a rare Indian summer, resulting in the course running incredibly fast, loose and dusty! Here's Frenchman Loic Bruni kicking up a storm… © Duncan Philpott
Course designer, Dan Atherton, riding his creation
Course designer, Dan Atherton, riding his creation
Course designer, Dan Atherton, riding his creation “This is something that me and Gee have dreamt about for years. To see it all come together on the day was an incredible feeling and I think it was a big step forward for mountain biking. I can't wait for next year!" © Duncan Philpott
Brendan Fairclough in no stranger to big jumps
Brendan Fairclough is used to hitting big jumps
Brendan Fairclough in no stranger to big jumps The course, which was designed and built by Dan Atherton, was created to stretch the limits of downhill and challenge riders to race what was essentially a freeride course, in the fastest time possible. © Duncan Philpott
The road gap was as big as it looks...
Danny Hart hitting the road gap at Hardline
The road gap was as big as it looks... The road gap wouldn't look out of place on the cliffs of Rampage, the massive wooden structure could be seen jutting out from the hillside from as far off as the main road. However, course builder Dan Atherton claims that next year the road gap will be even bigger! Watch this space... © Duncan Philpott
A short, bermy respite in the demanding track
Gareth Brewin [rider] helped to dig the course
A short, bermy respite in the demanding track Sandwiched between technical, natural sections was this rare piece of track where you could catch your breath, if only for a second… © Duncan Philpott
Dan Atherton being fired out from the Cannon Jump
Dan Atherton being fired out from the Cannon Jump
Dan Atherton being fired out from the Cannon Jump The wooden sections were crafted by main builder - Olly Davey, who was up on that mountain at all hours and in all weathers! © Duncan Philpott
Natural features were used wherever possible
Brendan Fairclough on the rocks
Natural features were used wherever possible There was nothing on the hillside before Dan Atherton and his crew started building and with just six-weeks to build the track time wasn't on their side. To help ease the build they made the most out of the natural and gnarly Welsh terrain. © Duncan Philpott
Gee was the first person to send the road gap
The road gap was as big as it looks...
Gee was the first person to send the road gap "It was definitely not a track that you could just jump on and blaze down. A combination of how hard the sections were and how many sections were crammed in there back to back that made it so gnarly. It definitely brought out the best in all the riders and pushed us more than we're used to.” © Duncan Philpott
The flying Frenchman, Loic Bruni, on the road gap
The flying Frenchman, Loic Bruni, on the road gap
The flying Frenchman, Loic Bruni, on the road gap Straight off the back of the DH World Championship race in Norway, there was no rest for Loic Bruni as he launched himself into the Hardline race. © Duncan Philpott
The Fly Off - a massive gap jump over rocks
Brendan Fairclough adding style to the final Fly Off
The Fly Off - a massive gap jump over rocks The last obstacle on the course was built by Olly Davey, coming from snowboarding background he likes to go big. For the last jump he built a massive cannon that plenty of riders wouldn't try it until their third or fourth run. But once they had it dialled it was time to add style! © Duncan Philpott
Danny Hart had his eyes on one thing - 1st place
Danny Hart had his eyes on one thing - 1st place
Danny Hart had his eyes on one thing - 1st place 2011 World Champion Danny Hart won the event, in a time of 3 minutes 39 seconds, beating Dan Atherton into second place by 3.1 seconds and Frenchman Loic Bruni into third. © Duncan Philpott
Champagne celebrations at the first ever Hardline
Champagne celebrations for the first ever Hardline event
Champagne celebrations at the first ever Hardline 1st Danny Hart. 2nd Loic Bruni. 3rd Dan Atherton © Duncan Philpott