Fort William DH World Cup Recap | Presented by SHIMANO

The second round of the 2019 UCI DH World Cup was one of the wettest on record with three days of unrelenting rain hammering down on the Scottish Highlands. The tough climatic conditions amplified the brutality of the race track yet did little to dampen the spirit of the racers. Here is your full race recap.

Greg Minnaar performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Greg Minnaar in full attack mode in the finals at Ft Bill. The GOAT is back and hungrier than ever.

The Track

The 2,8km track drops some 565m and has a combination of rocks, mucky rooted out forest sections, high-speed motorways, big jumps and that classic drop into the finish area. It’s classic Ft Bill, with a new section in the woods which spiced things up considerably. The mostly one-line race track suits riders that can lay down brute power whilst maintaining accuracy the whole way down. Precise line choice, carefully timed braking and clever energy management are most certainly the fundamentals of a podium run at Ft Bill.


Track Talk with Eliot Jackson


Saturday – Vital’s RAW & Qualifying as it happened


Race Summary

In the Elite Women’s Race the Italian Veronika Widmann and German Nina Hoffmann both posted great times in the wet, blustery conditions that swept across the mountain. World champion Rachel Atherton, though, has won six World Cup titles and used her experience to record a superb 5:15.560 with leading qualifier Tracey Hannah last to start. The Australian, Hannah, was up at the third split, but lost time and slipped back at the fourth split. Hannah’s last section was not fast enough to deny Atherton her 38th World Cup victory that puts her within three of the women’s all-time 41 mark set by Anne-Caroline Chausson of France.

Rachel Atherton, 31, said: “That was the most nail-biting thing ever. I am absolutely buzzing – a win at Fort William is special enough without doing it for the first time for Atherton Bikes. That is all I have been thinking about all winter. The weather is really horrific. It is really hard to concentrate on your bike set-up and your line choice. Everyone is covered in mud. It is carnage. It is the worst weather I have ever experienced.”

Tracey Hannah, 30, added: “Rachel is a beast on Fort William, so I had to really have a confident strong mindset from the beginning. I had to go as hard as I possibly could.”

Marine Cabirou performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Marine Cabirou lost time in the first half of the track with some slower corner speed and a few mid turn stalls.
Nina Hoffmann performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Nina Hoffmann rallies through the mid-section of the race track. Another solid and powerful ride by the German Juliana rider has boosted her up into 3rd in the rankings.
Tracey Hannah performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Tracey Hannah was ahead at the halfway mark and continued to grind on to the finish but could not repeat her winning performance from the day before.
Rachel Atherton performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Let’s just say Rachel Atherton put on a clinic. It was a clean and composed race run with clever energy management (lots of tucking) which was very effective.
Marine Cabirou, Tracey Hannah, Rachel Atherton, Nina Hoffmann, Veronika Widmann stand on the podium at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
From left to right: Marine Cabirou, Tracey Hannah, Rachel Atherton, Nina Hoffmann, Veronika Widmann stand on the podium.

Results:

  1. Rachel Atherton (GBR) 5:15.560
  2. Tracey Hannah (AUS) +1.611 secs
  3. Nina Hoffmann (GER) +8.822 secs
  4. Marine Cabirou (FRA) +13.374 secs
  5. Veronika Widmann (ITA) +15.73 secs

In the Elite Men’s Race the Frenchman Bruni posted a great time considering his horrific crash in qualifying on Saturday. His hot seat run came to an end after his teammate Finn Iles put down a calculated run. with patches of sunlight coming through yet the wind still howling it’s near impossible to say whether the track was running faster or if it was just the top seeds who made it seem that way. Brosnan put in an excellent run with smart line choice and precise riding. Brosnan’s inside to inside after the road gap was very ‘Sam Hill’ like and it certainly looked far quicker than the wide-to-wide choice that the majority of the field ran.

Next up was Pierron who drew on his 2018 success to pull out a brilliant run to move into the hot seat with just Vergier on track. Vergier’s run was good enough for third just adrfit of Brosnan.

Pierron, 23, said: “I struggled a lot on the first run and we did some adjustments on the bike so I want to thank my family and team. It is awesome. I felt good on track and had a lot of fun.”

Aaron Gwin performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Aaron Gwin nursed injuries all weekend only to have one of the biggest wrecks caught on camera which ended in a DNF. Initial reports are it was an injuryfree crash.
Aaron Gwin performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Not so injury free is World Champ Loic Bruni. A massive crash in qualifying which by his own admittance really scared him saw him lineup battered and bruised for Sunday’s finals.
Greg Minnaar performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Whilst a Top 5 was just out of reach for Greg Minnaar he has got to be happy with the way he rode. It was a classic Minnaar show of smooth, powerful riding without risk or bobbles.
Danny Hart performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Danny Hart had some interesting inside lines to go with his calculated race craft. A home win was not to be for the Brit, BUT, the speed is there and it’s surely a matter of time…
Finn Iles performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
In just his second year in the Elite category young gun Finn Iles certainly has some impressive speed and is showing he can be a front runner on a wide variety of tracks.
Loris Vergier performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Another accurate ride from Vergier secured 3rd position.
Amaury Pierron performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019 //
Amaury Pierron tucks into the finish area to take the win with a margin of over 3 seconds.
Finn Iles, Troy Brosnan, Amaury Pierron, Loris Vergier, Danny Hart stand on the podium at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019
Mens podium from Left: Finn Iles, Troy Brosnan, Amaury Pierron, Loris Vergier, Danny Hart.

Results:

  1. Amaury Pierron (FRA) 4:28.578
  2. Troy Brosnan (AUS) +3.582 secs
  3. Loris Vergier (FRA) +3.631 secs
  4. Finn Iles (CAN) +7.203 secs
  5. Danny Hart (GBR) +7.518secs
  6. Greg Minnaar (GBR) +8.315 secs

Watch The Winning Runs


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

THE GOOD: The Frenchies. They have won the last 7 out of 9 World Cup rounds in the men’s race! What’s more the talent pool within the nation is large. If there was ever a DH des Nations on the calendar the Frenchies would walk it. The nation also occupies 3 spots in the top 5 of the points table. On another note the race for a Top 10 in the overall looks like it’s going to be incredibly exciting this year with only 195 points currently separating them. It’s still anybody’s game. Greg Minnaar, 6th place on the day with some incredible splits and speed through the gnarlier sections proving his career is far from over.

THE BAD: Local hero Reece Wilson snapping his chain as he exited the start hut. Rider error or equipment failure? Perhaps the solution is thicker chains – like what Track and BMX racers use.

THE UGLY: Well you can take your pick here. Tahnee Seagrave injured in Friday practise whilst riding the number 1 plate is heartbreaking. Gwin’s race run crash where he appeared to hit a hole and was catapulted off of the race track was just horrid. Had Pierron’s nose heavy float into the finish line gone wrong it probably would not have impacted his time too much and he most likely would still have won, but he would be worse for wear. It’s not over till you cross the finish line MoMo!



Technical analysis

  1. Mostly a one-line race track yet the wet conditions and the new section in the woods proved to be the big differentiator
  2. Loris Vergier chose XTR brakes – likely due to the modulation properties which can reduce the chance of over braking
  3. DH bikes need wider chains to cope with the watts and strain under shifting
  4. Wheelsize wise the Top 10 in the Men’s race was pretty evenly split with 3 all 27.5ers, 3 27.5er & 29er bikes and 4 x 29ers
  5. On bike data recording during practise is proving to be very valuable to improve bike setup, or at least to take away some of the guessing game involved when interpreting rider feel vs. what is actually happening. The teams that are running data systems are getting results in the races.
  6. Staying with data, on track section timing systems are just as valuable to determine the fastest lines
  7. There were some massive crashes by the world’s best this weekend but most of the riders were able to ‘walk away’ and continue racing which is a testament to the efficacy of modern protective gear

Overall Rankings

ELITE WOMEN:

  1. Rachel ATHERTON (GBR) – 430 points
  2. Tracey HANNAH (AUS) – 400 points
  3. Marine CABIROU (FRA) – 290 points
  4. Nina HOFFMANN (GER) – 285 points
  5. Tahnee SEAGRAVE (GBR) – 230 points

ELITE MEN:

  1. Troy BROSNAN (AUS) – 350 points
  2. Amaury PIERRON (FRA) – 330 points
  3. Loic BRUNI (FRA) – 301 points
  4. Danny HART (GBR) – 292 points
  5. Loris VERGIER (FRA) – 215 points
  6. Matt WALKER (GBR) – 214 points
  7. Finn ILES (CAN) – 182 points
  8. Mark Wallace (CAN) – 178 points
  9. Brook MACDONALD (NZL) – 160 points
  10. Laurie GREENLAND (GBR) 155 points

Next Up: Round 3, 8th & 9th June in Leogang, AUSTRIA


With thanks Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull, UCI and Shimano SA / Coolheat.


Loic Bruni performs at UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain on June 2nd, 2019

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *
Name *
Email *
Website