Laurie Greenland rocks the rock drop
© Samantha Saskia Dugon/Red Bull Content Pool
Bike

We knew Red Bull Hardline 2021 would be good, but we weren't ready for this

The seventh edition of the world’s toughest downhill mountain bike race will live long in the memory. Watch highlights and catch up on key moments here.
Written by Charlie Allenby
6 min readPublished on
Part of this story

Red Bull Hardline

Twenty of the world’s best and bravest riders are …

Red Bull Hardline

One of the toughest downhill mountain bike races …

United Kingdom
Red Bull Hardline returned for 2021 with a downhill mountain bike course that set the bar higher than it's ever been before. There were no crowds in Machynlleth in Wales, but that didn't stop 24 of the world's best downhill and freeride mountain bikers putting on a show, and one of the tightest editions of the iconic race. Recap all the action in the links below and scroll down for highlights from the weekend.

Replay the action from Red Bull Hardline 2021

01

Bernard Kerr is on a different planet

Over the years, British rider Bernard Kerr has proven that he’s something of a Red Bull Hardline expert. The Pivot Factory Racing rider has always finished on the podium since he made his debut in the Dyfi Valley [where the Hardline course is located] back in 2015, and went into this year's event as the only person to have won the hardest race in downhill mountain biking twice.
Bernard Kerr races down from a rock drop at Red Bull Hardline 2021.
Bernard Kerr was in the green from top-to-bottom
It was no surprise then that, come race day, he was the man to beat. The last rider down the mountain, it would take a course-record time to make it a hat-trick of wins in Dyfi.
Watch Bernard Kerr's winning run below:
Bike · 4 min
Bernard Kerr's winning run
He was in the green from the first split, edging out his advantage with each time check as he made his way down the track. Not even his foot coming unclipped from his pedal on the massive Road Gap on the course could stop him. Kerr finished more than a second up on second place.
"Experience is definitely on my side," said Kerr after the race. "[Knowing] the jumps definitely helps, so when I come into the week I'm not too scared of them. But [with] the technical bits, I've been here six years now, so it's helping. I kind of know where I'm going. I blew a foot on the Road Gap and I knew I needed it into that next bit, because otherwise I was crashing, but I just got it back in time."
Watch Bernard Kerr's POV course preview:
Bike · 4 min
Course preview with Bernard Kerr
02

Laurie Greenland and Kade Edwards step up

The two former Junior World Champions from Great Britain have both had mixed results at Red Bull Hardline. Despite their promise and World Cup experience, you've always been left with the sense that both riders have kept something in reserve. That wasn't the case in 2021 when both finished on the podium.
Kade Edwards racing at finals at Red Bull Hardline 2021.
Kade Edwards finished on the podium for the first time
Kade Edwards pieced together a super smooth run, showing he's one of the best bike handlers on the planet as he piloted his Trek Session down the course, crossing the line as the then race leader.
Laurie Greenland racing at Red Bull Hardline 2021.
Laurie Greenland put in a blistering run that had him in the hot seat
Laurie Greenland managed to go one better, using his World Cup-winning experience to squash the big features and pump his way through the technical sections on his Mondraker Summum RR, recording a time that only Bernard Kerr could better.
03

Debutants showed no fear

The Red Bull Hardline course is something that takes years of practise, crashes and race runs to master. Try telling that to some of this year's debutants though.
Josh Lowe, Red Bull Hardline 2021
Jose Lowe stepped up to the plate despite being a reserve addition
Matteo Iniguez races at Red Bull Hardline 2021.
Matteo Iniguez's 🔥 run didn't look like it was going to be beaten
Lewis Buchanan, Josh Lowe, Sam Gale and Jim Monro put in storming first-time runs, while Frenchman Matteo Iniguez laid down a marker that only five other riders managed to beat.
04

Although it was dry, the weather still played its part

Red Bull Hardline has always had a run-in of some kind with the weather. Usually held towards the end of September, the course is often caked in mud and super slippery after some seasonal Welsh conditions (aka torrential rain and gale-force winds) up the ante on the hardest course in downhill mountain biking.
A windsock shows windy conditions on the 2021 Red Bull Hardline course.
The windsock at the Step Up shows how windy it was at points on the course
Things were looking up for the 2021 edition. Shifted to a summer date so as to not clash with the end of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup season, the course was running dry and resembled Red Bull Rampage-like conditions as Great Britain basked in a heatwave. Come qualifying though, the weather had other ideas. Strong winds battered the mountain throughout the day, making riding unsafe given the exposed nature of some of its biggest features.
Kade Edwards kicks up dirt at Red Bull Hardline 2021 practise
Kade Edwards kicking up some dust on the sunbaked course
Kade Edwards as seen racing at Red Bull Hardline 2021.
The course was running dry througout practice and finals day
Although qualifying was cancelled, it did mean viewers were treated to an extended finals day, with 24 out of 29 riders taking to the course for a bumper edition where everything was riding on their one hot lap.
05

The Step Down is one of the scariest drops ever created

The 2021 Red Bull Hardline course had some notable tweaks to previous editions – the Step Up ramp had been made mellower to help riders carry more speed, the trees had been cut down next to Waterfalls Edge, the iconic Road Gap had been made bigger and longer. But one addition was the talk of the Dyfi Valley from the moment riders stepped foot on-site.
Watch Matt Jones's track walk in the video below:
Bike · 3 min
Track walk with Matt Jones
The Step Down, the Drop, the Cliff Edge. Whatever you want to call it, Dan Atherton has crafted one of the most gut-wrenching drops ever seen on a downhill course. The stats alone are mind-boggling – 60ft gap, 40ft drop in elevation, miniscule case pad, a near-vertical landing, oh, and about two seconds after landing you have to navigate a super-tight left-handed berm.
Kaos Seagrave navigates a step down at Red Bull Hardline 2021.
Riders watch on as Kaos Seagrave sends it on the new Step Down
Brage Vestavik as seen at Red Bull Hardline 2021.
Brage Vestavik's cords bore the brunt of a crash on the new addition
Riders looked visibly scared by it throughout practice. Its soft landing claimed a number of victims – notably Brage Vestavik and his cords – while others somehow managed to escape serious accidents by the skin of their teeth.
06

Jono Jones had the biggest save of the weekend

Matt Jones's identical twin’s debut Red Bull Hardline experience in 2019 was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Pumped up by other riders pulling tricks over the Step Up, Jono attempted a backflip with dire consequences. Halfway through the flip, suspended upside down, he decided to bail. Still clipped into his bike by his feet, the Brit spent what felt like forever flailing in the air before landing in a heap on the ground, suffering a bang to the head that kept him out of the rest of the weekend.
Watch Jono Jones's save from 2:36
Bike · 11 min
Daily show – day 2
Fast forward to the 2021 edition, and he was determined not to repeat the same mistake and aimed to get through to qualifying unscathed. It was all going so well too, until riders took to The Cannon. A 17.3m (57ft) gap with almost zero room for error, it’s a jump that riders tend to overshoot, fearful of coming up short. Not Jones though. Setting off on the ski-slope-like jump, it never looked like he was going to clear the case pad. Instantly bucked off his saddle on impact, he somehow managed to hold on to the handlebars and ride it out.
07

Pit bike racing needs to be at every downhill event

Downhill mountain bikers are a different breed from their cross-country counterparts. While most professional cross-country mountain bike riders might spend their evenings recovering and refuelling after an intense day of practise, downhill racers like to relax in different ways: racing pit bikes.
Watch the carnage unfold from 8:48:
Bike · 11 min
Daily show – day 2
Although some of the tactics were questionable, there's no questioning that this pit bike racing should become a regular fixture at more downhill events.
Red Bull Hardline 2021 pit bike racing.
The red team were victorious in the inaugural pit bike world champs

Red Bull Hardline 2021 results

POSITIONRIDERTIME
1.Bernard Kerr2:33.533
2.Laurie Greenland2:34.648
3.Kade Edwards2:35.782
4.Brage Vestavik2:36.465
5.Brendan Fairclough2:37.086
6.Matteo Iniguez2:37.496
7.Adam Brayton2:38.083
8.Kaos Seagrave2:39.078
9.Theo Erlangsen2:41.658
10.Sam Gale2:41.743
Part of this story

Red Bull Hardline

Twenty of the world’s best and bravest riders are …

Red Bull Hardline

One of the toughest downhill mountain bike races …

United Kingdom