Descent World – Scottish Mountain Biking | Film Production | Photos | Adventure Stories

Red Bull Downforce – Swansea Wales


Winner Rowan Sorrell enjoying a drink of bubbly on the podium

On 4th December, 32 of the UK’s top downhill mountain bike riders descended into Swansea city centre for Red Bull Downforce 2011. Overlooking Swansea Bay, riders were challenged with steps, terraces, narrow archways, grass verges and some of the steepest cobbled streets in the UK. Cheers from the crowds greeted the riders as they crossed the finish line. Each rider had two heats in the qualifying round. The eight riders with the fastest time went through to the final where there was only one chance for glory.

The race started at the Redbull tent up top and finished down in the town in just over 2 minutes

The worthy champion was Rowan Sorrel, 29 from Newport, South Wales, who beat his closest rival Michael Thickens by an outstanding five seconds with the fastest time of 02:15.81. Third place was taken by Nikki Whiles, only a half a second shy of second place. Rowan said, “What an event! Red Bull Downforce brought mountain biking to the centre of Swansea and it was a great buzz for us all to race, especially with so many people out to watch and cheer us on! Its great to take first place.”

Emily Horridge on the wet steps up near the start

Crowds came out in their thousands to enjoy the spectacle and support the riders along the 1.5km course. World Champion siblings Gee, Dan and Rachel Atherton were all in attendance, inspiring the riders and giving advice throughout the day. Gee Atherton said, “It was a really good opportunity to show people what Downhill Mountain biking is all about. It’s normally away in the hills and mountains and this brought it to their doorstep. Literally! They were really impressed.

Team Skenes Ian Bray squeezes through a tight gap after successfully navigating a double set of steps.

Nikki Whiles has time for a bit of showboating for the crowd

The riders looked truly shocked at how challenging and technical the course was. Amazing in an urban environment! It’s awesome that Red Bull gave the opportunity for everyone to get involved as big events like this are often invite only. They were stoked to be part of it.” Keep your eyes peeled for the video coming soon to For more info and interviews, please contact

Pictures by Sam Davies.


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