6 weeks after the 1st World Cup in South Africa it was time to get to what many of the riders were calling a ‘proper track’. Fort William is always one of the toughest if not the toughest race’s of the year. This year was no exception; the track had its usual rocks, braking bumps, soft spots and technical woods. All of this makes the track incredibly hard on man and machine. Great for spectators though; fans turned up in the thousands to cheer the riders. A few even busting out fancy dress!
Friday saw many riders talking it easy to save energy for the finals; Syndicate guys only did 3 runs and the Trek World racing doing similar. The weather for Saturday’s qualifier didn’t look the best but the forecast never came true and the rain stayed away. Gwin took the men’s race by just under 2 seconds from Gee Atherton and Britain’s Danny Hart definitely surprised a lot of people coming in 3rd which was a great result in itself. Troy Brosnan, Ruaridh Cunningham and Luke Strobel all getting into the top ten. Sam Hill was lurking down in 12th and many were suggesting he was holding a little bit back for the finals. Biggest surprise was Brendan Fairclough failing to qualify. He went off the track and then had to go back up to where he broke the tapes to avoid be disqualified. Once this time had lapsed he missed the qualifying cut and his streak of bad luck continued.
Tracey Moseley set the scene for the British fans narrowly winning the women’s race from Rachel Atherton.
At the beginning of the starting order for the men’s was clearly a few riders who had under performed in qualifying, probably the most notable was Mitch Delfs who enjoyed a good 20 minutes in the hot seat until Mick Hannah turfed him out. Mick stormed the pedalling section which came as no surprise. Mick stayed in the Hot seat until Brook came through.
After a crash in qualifying Brook had a pinned run and took the lead, as he held his breath when riders like Sam Hill,
and Fabien Barel took to the hill none were close.
Then came Greg Minnaar, the guy who has won on this track more than anyone.Slightly down on Brook at the split this made the race even more exciting because the crowd knew he’d be strong on the pedalling section.
Greg took it, Brook was still guaranteed his first World Cup podium and was clearly stoked! Everyone’s eye’s went to the big screen to watch young Brit Danny Hart.
Danny was so fast and loose on the track, having a ball ride just after the first split and then a huge save a couple of corners later still managing to get to the second split quicker than Greg. The home crowd was going crazy at this point. Danny came into the arena 1.2 seconds back from Greg and into 2nd spot. He was absolutely stoked, fist pumping and everything! Next was Gee, fastest to the first split. Slightly back at the second. As he came into the arena with still a very good time you could see his real wheel was all over the place. He was very lucky to even make it to the bottom with at least 10 spokes missing from his wheel. Getting down on that and making the podium has kept him in the chase for the overall without a doubt. Only guy left on the hill was Aaron Gwin and he was absolutely killing it,
5.5 seconds up on Greg at the split. Then crossing one of the streams at the bottom he washed out and crashed. Remounting and still managing an amazing 5th place. Mention has to go to Canada’s Steve Smith, crashing on the same corner that cost him the 07 Junior Worlds title maybe cost him the win this weekend. The Kiwi riders were very dominant on this track, 4 in the top ten. Seems like they are the new Aussies.
Roll on Leogang for more of the same.
3rd Brook Macdonald
14th Luke Strobel
15th Josh Bryceland
44th Harry Heath
54th Wyn Masters
59th Scott Mears
68th Sam Dale
More pics on the Burgtec Facebook page.