GEE Atherton, who made a sensational return from serious injuries to finish fifth at last year’s Red Bull Hardline, is back in the saddle to take on the world’s toughest downhill mountain bike race.
Once a year 30 of the world’s best athletes travel to the Dyfi Valley to see if they can make it down the course, which every year is developed and changed, looking to push the envelope of what’s possible on two wheels.
Last year, Gee, who runs Dyfi Bike Park with siblings Dan and Rachel, only decided to compete at Red Bull Hardline a few weaeks prior to the event but showed huge courage and skill, just missing out on the podium.
Expect technical sections, high speeds and big air, as master course designer Dan Atherton once again challenges the world’s best riders to push themselves – and their sport – to new levels on 15-16 July.
This will be the ninth edition of the iconic race. Usually held in autumn, 2023’s event offers the first opportunity for spectators to be trackside at a summer Red Bull Hardline.
A multiple world champion and World Cup winner and Red Bull Rampage podium finisher, Gee Atherton is one of the greatest MTB riders of his generation.
The middle Atherton sibling has been a sensation in the sport since the age of 15.
In 2004, at the age of 19, he won his first Downhill World Cup on the technically challenging track in the Austrian resort of Schladming. A win at this level may have seemed inevitable after his results in the junior categories, including two World Championship medals, but to gain it at such a young age was outstanding.
That year he also won the National Championships at his first attempt and has gone on to top podiums the world over, finishing in the top five of the World Cup series every year since, most notably taking gold at the 2008 World Championship alongside sister Rachel, and securing the 2010 Mountain Bike World Cup crown.
With second at the inaugural Red Bull Rampage, the toughest of events to be judged on creativity rather than speed, he demonstrated his all-round talent.
Gee placed second at the end of the 2013 World Cup Series, and took the title as British downhill national champion 2013.
He headed into 2014 even more focused and determined, the highlight of his season being the win at the World Championship win at Hafjell. Gee tore into the World Cup competition in Cairns to take the win, but couldn’t find the pace for the podium in a tough field, ultimately finishing his 2014 World Cup season fifth overall.
It was a mixed bag for the Brit in 2015 and 2016, from highs including his Fort William win in the British Downhill Series, to crashing out and badly damaging his shoulder at the same venue during the 2016 World Cup, which hampered his results all year.
Sadly 2017 followed in the same injury-plagued vein, with Gee suffering a dislocated hip, but as one of the fittest and most determined racers on the circuit, he didn’t let that hold him back for long.
He returned to action in 2018 and looked to be getting back to the sort of form he’s known for towards the end of the season, signing off with a silver medal at the World Champs and taking the win at Red Bull Hardline.
The 2019 season saw Gee embark on a new venture with his very own Atherton Bikes brand alongside his sister, Rachel, where he raced and developed their new DH bike on the World Cup circuit, ending the year with another podium performance at the world’s toughest downhill race, Red Bull Hardline, with a strong second place.
The 2020 World Cup season consisted of just two stop due to the pandemic and Gee took part in all four races before after just one stop of the 2021 season a serious injury put Gee out of action again.
Filming his The Knife Edge video near Dinas Mawddwy, Wales, he broke his leg, wrist, ribs, nose and eye socket, as well as suffering concussion.
But far from putting him off from riding risky lines, Gee said during his recovery: “I can honestly say that being injured hasn’t put me off this kind of riding.
“In fact it’s the complete opposite.
“The thought of more of these challenges is the light at the end of the tunnel, the reason I’ve pushed on with physio so early, it’s what helps me face the daily grind of painful rehab.
“It’s my goal. I’m passionate about the projects and I plan to do more as soon as I can.”
Proving his mettle, Gee returned to racing action after his injuries at the toughest downhill race of them all, Red Bull Hardline, in late summer of 2022, impressing his rivals and fans alike with a solid fifth place finish.