Conceived back in 2011, Red Bull Foxhunt is a mass-start enduro downhill race with a difference. The challenge here is not just for competitors – the ‘hounds’ – to be the first to reach the bottom of the course, but for them to avoid being caught by the ‘fox’, normally one of the super-fast Atherton siblings.
The event has run annually since 2011, beginning with a men’s Foxhunt with Gee Atherton, on the other side of the Irish Sea. Since 2014, Gee’s sister Rachel (who just so happens to be the most dominant female World Cup racer of all time) has stepped up to the mark for a women-only version.
The events have gained in popularity every year, with hundreds of eager hounds now lining up to try to outpace the world’s fastest brother/sister duo. This year, the men’s Foxhunt took place in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, at the weekend while the women’s edition kicked off a week earlier in the Athertons’ homeland of Dyfi, Mid Wales.
Starting from the back of the pack, Rachel managed to pass 113 girls but couldn’t beat them all and finished up in 40th place. “It was as chaotic as ever,” she told us. “I was so busy chatting away to some of the girls at the back of the line that we almost missed the start gun! On course, it’s crazy. You try to ride creative lines to overtake, only to find another rider blocking the way. I was so pumped at the bottom though and proud of everyone!”
Check out the race from her point of view below:
It was a Foxhunt rookie, Katy Wakely, who clinched the win, ahead of Francie Arthur and Stacey Fisher.
The men’s race followed the same format as the women’s, but bumped up the carnage with three pros chasing the 550 riders. Joining Gee were fellow Red Bull racers Loïc Bruni and Greg Callaghan.
Despite the best efforts of this fierce trio of foxes, it was Irishman Colin Ross who crossed the line first, for the fourth year running, cementing his status as the top dog in the pack. Kilian Bron was close behind in second, with Glyn O’Brien third.
Check out Colin’s flat-out winning run here:
Foxhunt dates for 2019 are yet to be announced. Keep your eyes on Red Bull’s MTB page for more info.