SDA Round 1 – Ae Forest

Ae is a staple venue of the Scottish DH and Enduro scenes – granted it’s been raced for over 20 years now – but new faces, new course variations and bikes have always kept the challenge fresh.

This weekend was no different, with the SDA arriving Thursday evening, aided by Drew Carters et all. they dug in some cheeky new sections to keep the 180 racers at this event on their toes.

A clash with the first SES round and PMBA at Grizedale was unfortunate. However, that doesn’t really affect the riders who turned up, as they looked to be having more fun than anyone else all weekend. A myriad of weather conditions added to either the sense of wild fun or trepidation, (depending on your viewpoint of this track) and tyre choice was a mix up between Shorty’s, Magic Mary’s and we even spotted emerging brand Vittoria’s MOTA on more than just team rider James Purvis’s bike.

Adrenaline uplift and Progression bikes were on hand to add some comfort to the uplift while the bikes were securely placed on trailers and dodgy tunes were played on the way up the hill.

The main talking point was weather SDA and Youtube superstar Ben Cathro would keep his “fortress” safe from the marauding world cup riders who had made the trip, or if they would be playing it safe with bigger fish to fry in a weeks time. Other topics discussed at length were line choice on the first off-camber, weather the inside or outside was fastest on the 180 left before the tight yet fast single track section into the finish. Alan Blyth’s dress sense was also another…….

By the looks of the pace on track this week, riders in all categories looked ready to race and keeping it lit was name of the game! With such a positive start to the season, 2018 looks like it will gather momentum heading towards summer and round 2; A British / SDA double header at Fort William.

Thanks to Keith Bremner for the photos.

Full results can be found here…..

With entries at 180, the SDA decided against the classic wagon and bus route and riders instead got to use both Adrenaline Uplift and Progression bikes to provide the uplift. Collaboration at its finest.
Cumbria’s very own gangster squad. Rushton, Brayton, Whyte. Look at Brayton’s hands – that’s how you present a 8lb trout on a fine fishing day.
Youth was a battle of the James’ this weekend. Wilson took second, looking stylish the whole weekend on track.
While Elliot took the win. The lad from Newcastle is developing at a rate of knots and his place on the Madison development team looks well deserved.
Brother and sister on the same turn – Katie and James Purvis. 2nd for Katie, 8th for James.

William Brodie flew in with a 2.20 to win Juvenile. One to watch .
Alan Blyth. Retro AF.
Big up the army boys. Out in force and loving it!
Scenes reminiscent of the 2016 World Cup. Cathro putting some serious G’s through Conti tyres once more.
Brayton will be disappointed with 3rd but he has bigger fish to fry and on current race history was the fastest rider in the field . He usually takes a couple of races to start cooking on full gas, so here’s hoping for a strong showing in Croatia.


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Cathro is fast becoming a legend both on and off screen. Is he faster than he used to be? It’s hard to say but he’s made the SDA series his bread and butter with consistency, speed and a calm approach . To beat both Reece Wilson and Adam Brayton by under a second , and the rest of the Elite field by a considerable margin is no mean feat on a short track like this. Expect a Vlog soon, and make sure you tune into Cathro vision.
Adam Beaty won juniors with a 2.12 and looked effortlessly smooth in the process.
Big up to Drew Carters who helped the SDA tape and cut in new section of the track. He took the expert win with some aggressive and determined riding. Check out that racer stance!


Lastly, Rosy Monaghan deserves a mention here – fastest female overall, still in Junior and flying every time we saw her.

Till next time…..


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Tommy Wilkinson

"I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve" - But I do love bikes.

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