MORE than 3,000 spectators from across the country descended on Machynlleth for the world famous Red Bull Hardline last weekend.

The sixth edition of the world famous event, recognised as the toughest downhill event in the racing calendar, took place in the hills of Dyfi Valley with former champion Bernard Kerr topping a podium which also included Mid Wales star Gee Atherton with Joe Smith third.

Kerr led qualifying in 2:50 with defending champion Atherton just two seconds adrift.

The final saw mist and wind descend on the track, offering riders another challenge.

The track remained dry but as finals progressed some of the rocks still posed a slippy obstacle with former World junior champion Kade Edwards, Charlie Hatton and Llanfyllin’s Kaos Seagrave each taking tumbles.

Seagrave nailed two backflips, including at Waterfalls Edge, with one of the narrowest landings on the course before suffering another spill which forced him out of contention.

Gee Atherton, last year’s winner went into the lead with a fast but messy run establishing a 2.5 second lead with just one more rider to drop in.

Last to ride was the fastest qualifier and 2016 winner Bernard Kerr who attacked the course to become the first rider in Red Bull Hardline history to claim the title twice.

Gee Atherton said: “It was a tricky day.

“The rain rolled in, the mist rolled in and we went back to classic Red Bull Hardline with dark, Welsh conditions which always makes for a tough race.

“I enjoyed it, I pushed on I had a few slips on the run, but It wasn’t a bad run.

“When I came in through the last section, I wasn’t sure if I had done enough.

“When it’s dry you tend to have a much better idea of how it’s going, but in the wet, you could come first, you could come tenth because the run is so hard.

Meanwhile champion Kerr expressed his delight at winning the crown again.

Kerr said: “Winning twice is unreal.

“I just really wanted to win so and I broke my hand a few weeks ago so I missed half the season.

“It just makes me feel really good after missing races and knowing I was going quick this year, to come back and win it.

“For some reason, I found it easy to focus. There were a couple of good ruts, there was one turn with a huge hole in it that I almost went over the bars on that everyone hit in practice so that was a bit worse but I dropped in last and I like dropping in last so it was pretty cool.”

The Dyfi Valley course was built by built by local downhill legend Dan Atherton and combines technical downhill features with huge free ride-style jumps while including giant slab rolls, tight wooded sections, the iconic 55ft road gap jump and the final fly off of 65ft.