Fort William 2016 | Trackside Gallery

June 7th, 2016

By Andrew Dodd in Features

Fort William 2016 – track side action through our eyes!

Despite the fact that you can be in the Alps in a similar amount of time, the huge journey to Fort William for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is an extraordinary draw for fans – and this year was no different.

Unlike last year’s wash out with the weather, this year saw perfect weather – blue skies and searing heat. This made the track dry, fast and treacherous – claiming several victims over the weekend’s racing.

Here’s some of the shots through our eyes from our weekend up on the mountain – we’ll be putting a full gallery on our Facebook page too, so be sure to check it out!

Although a little hazy on Saturday, it opened up on Sunday for clear views and blistering heat. We saw several heat stroke casualties over the weekend – which although is common place at any music festival, isn’t exactly the sort of thing you expect in Fort Bill!

Fort William 2016 was a special one.

Fort William 2016 - Finn Illes on track

Finn Illes was on it in the Junior mens, putting in a clean run to finish 3 seconds clear of his nearest competitor. Smart riding and an effortless style to watch – expect big things from the young Canadian star.

Katy Curd was all smiles when we caught up with her before her run – she’s been training hard, and despite some bad luck to date was more than ready for Fort William 2016. We had a good feeling for her, and once the red mist had descended – she proved us right.

Minnaar and Gwin both spent some time before their runs double checking some lines and getting their heads in the right place. Whilst Gwin had a purposeful gaze about him, Greg seemed far calmer – we’d be lying if we said we didn’t have our fingers crossed for the honorary Brit.

Fort William 2016 - panshot

Some riders made a clean get away out the start gate up top – barely touching the ground and being unaffected by the slippery turns that were deep in dust. But others weren’t so lucky and had run ending crashes just meters in to their runs.

We feel the pain of crashing out right at the start of a run – this rider was gutted.  Some riders were on it from the off, and others decided that Fort William 2016 was better tackled with a steady in approach. Predictable clothing was out in force, of course.

Fort William 2016 - Rachel Atherton

What can you say about Rachel Atherton that hasn’t already been said? 9 runs in a row is bloody amazing. Solid performance from the best out there.

Manon Carpenter was riding well, but an unlucky crash lower down in the woods put the brilliant rider just out of reach of the top. A third place for her is a great result – but we all know she has the speed to challenge Rachel.

 

Fort William 2016 - Gee Atherton

Gee Atherton is one hell of a rider, and his top qualifying time must have been on everyone’s minds. A rare, unlucky crash up top ruined his chance of taking the win – but he’s lucky enough to have ridden away from it. There aren’t many riders as tough as Gee – Fort William 2016 will only fuel his fire for the next round…

Fort William 2016 - Brendan Fairclough

Brendan Fairclough was looking rad up on the track and making little effort of the slippery turns. He looked flat out everywhere we saw him, and although his time of 4.46.104 was fast enough for 14th place – was a way off Greg Minnaar’s phenomenal time.

Fort William 2016 - Katy Curd

Our mate Kate did good! We’re over the moon for Katy Curd getting 4th place – she works so hard and loves what she does. It’s great to see her hard work paying off!

There was lots of loving for Stevie Smith out on track, with banners, chainsaws and moustaches being branded by many. Fort William 2016 – as usual – was also home to a whole load of random fancy dress antics. We saw unicorns; nuns; monks; triathletes  and some very drunk people!

Fort William 2016 - Mark Wallace

Mark Wallace faced a tough race at Fort William 2016. The loss of his team mate Stevie Smith must have been at the back of his mind, and an unlucky mistake saw him off the pace. The crowd gave him an enormous welcome though – showing their support and encouragement.

Fort William 2016 - Steve Peat

There’s simply nothing louder than a cheer for Steve Peat – and with Fort William 2016 being his last Fort William World Cup, the roof was blown off! Everyone screamed themselves hoarse as the big man smashed it down the iconic track one last time.

The new wooded section seemed to catch everyone out – no bad thing for spectators! The woods were the loudest part of the track away from the main arena, and had all the feel of the famous heckler’s rock in Whistler. Slow, fast, good line, bad line, crash – it didn’t matter! The crowd were going berserk up there!

Fort William 2016 - Steve Peat

We just arrived in the finish area in time to see Steve Peat come flying in to the arena one last time – and it was without a doubt the loudest we’d ever heard. Even louder than 2005 we reckon.

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