Dusty Old Bones: Qualifying - Fort William DH World Cup 2016

Jun 5, 2016
by Matthew DeLorme  




We can't remember a time when Fort William was this dry. Perhaps that's because last year was so wet and cold and we still can't let go, or perhaps it's because we can't remember when things were this loose here and causing such trouble for the riders. The bare white granite and talc-like dust makes the upper track look like a twisted old spine running down the mountain side. It's slippery stuff. Many of the riders reckon it's slipperier now than when it's wet, and it's actually running slower. There have been plenty of blown corners and plenty of flats.

Today we saw Gee Atherton take first place in qualifying and an amazing run by Eddie Masters who took second place. Aaron Gwin was on the gas moving into third, and we bet he's got more under the hood. Troy Brosnan was hot on his heels and will be a podium contender for sure tomorrow.

Finn Iles is back and healthy and took the top spot in the juniors, while Charlie Hatton took second followed by Matt Walker in third. Rachel Atherton crashed just above the fresh cut section, which lost her considerable time and put her in second, while Manon Carpenter was the fastest woman on the day. Tracey Hannah is following her form in Cairns with the third place spot.

Tomorrow will certainly be some exciting racing especially if things keep on the dry side. For speeds to pick up, a bit of moisture could help out with grip. There is a chance of rain in the afternoon, but we will have to wait and see how mother nature plays out tomorrow.

a mix of sun fog and wind kicked off the day. Maybe to remind us that we are in Scotland after all.
A mix of sun, fog, and wind kicked off the day. Maybe to remind us that we are in Scotland after all.

Fort Bill qualy crowds about to trump your typical finals crowds for most venues.
Fort Bill qualifying crowds about to trump your typical finals crowds for most venues.

Stevie Smith inspiring the next generation.
Stevie Smith inspiring the next generation.

Two words. Get Loco.
Two words. Get Loco.

Matt Delorme doesn t bring a lunch up the hill he catches his own... Local and organic preferred.
Matt Delorme doesn't bring a lunch up the hill, he catches his own... Local and organic preferred.

After missing Cairns due to injury Finn Iles backed up his win in Lourdes as the top junior qualifier here in Fort William.
After missing Cairns due to injury, Finn Iles backed up his win in Lourdes as the top junior qualifier here in Fort William.

2nd place in Juniors went to Great Britain s Charlie Hatton.
2nd place in Juniors went to Great Britain's Charlie Hatton.

Matt Walker took third in qualifying for the juniors today.
Matt Walker took third in qualifying for the juniors today.

Commencal Riding Addiction s Gaetan Vige charging the big berm for eighth and ready to push harder tomorrow
Commencal Riding Addiction's, Gaetan Vige charging the big berm for eighth and ready to push harder tomorrow.

Elliot Heap like a boss for fourth just 2.9 back.
Elliot Heap, like a boss for fourth, just 2.9 back.

As if Rachel Atherton needs to get any faster... Then again if she does come off again tomorrow maybe she ll still have the margin to keep Manon at bay.
As if Rachel Atherton needs to get any faster... Then again, if she does come off again tomorrow maybe she'll still have the margin to keep Manon at bay.

Fighting the effects of food poisoning from last weekend Manon isn t in top form this weekend but she dug deep when it counted and put down the fastest time in qualifying.
Fighting the effects of food poisoning from last weekend, Manon isn't in top form this weekend, but she dug deep when it counted and put down the fastest time in qualifying.

Fast powerful and confident.... Not even a crash in her qualifying run can keep Rachel from putting down a blistering time.
Fast, powerful and confident.... Not even a crash in her qualifying run can keep Rachel from putting down a blistering time.

Tracey Hannah had a solid run to third place today. She s looking good for another visit on the podium tomorrow.
Tracey Hannah had a solid run to third place today. She's looking good for another visit to the podium tomorrow.

Rachel Atherton had a crash on her qualie run that landed her back in second.
Rachel Atherton had a crash in her qualifying run that landed her back in second.

Sad face from Tahnee as she rides the gondola down after only rolling out of the gate in her quali run. Will she race tomorrow We just don t know.
Sad face from Tahnee as she rides the gondola down after only rolling out of the gate in her qualifying run. Will she race tomorrow? We just don't know.

Emilie Siebenthaler hits the extra boost button en route to 5th.
Emilie Siegenthaler hits the extra boost button en route to 5th.

Luca Shaw had a great day to nap 6th in qualifying just a few seconds back from the podium positions.
Luca Shaw had a great day to nab 6th in qualifying, just a few seconds back from the podium positions.

Mick Hannah too a DNF after a massive crash up top but he was uninjured and will line up to duke it out in the final.
Mick Hannah took a DNF after a massive crash up top, but he was uninjured and will line up to duke it out in the final.

Sick skills alright. Remember when Ben Cathro smashed out a top ten in a rubber speed suit back in 2008
Sick skills alright. Remember when Ben Cathro smashed out a top ten in a rubber speed suit back in 2008?

Alex Marin was the fastest of the first year Elites in 11th.
Alex Marin was the fastest of the first year Elites in 11th.

Greg Minnaar was up on the second split but suffered a front flat. Don t count him out for a the top spot tomorrow.
Greg Minnaar was up on the second split but suffered a front flat. Don't count him out for the top spot tomorrow.

Loris Vergier pushing hard in the mid section of the course. Vergier qualified 16th today but top ten is well within his reach tomorrow.
Loris Vergier pushing hard in the midsection of the course. Vergier qualified 16th today, but top ten is well within his reach tomorrow.

Gee Atherton was fastest in qualifying today. His month of testing and dialing in his bike has started to pay off.
Gee Atherton was fastest in qualifying today. His month of testing and dialing in his bike has started to pay off.

Mark Wallace settling into the top 20 once again but will be charging hard to climb the ranks and build on his 1 plate tomorrow.
Mark Wallace settling into the top 20 once again, but he will be charging hard to climb the ranks and build on his 13 plate tomorrow.

Man of the match was a tight-fought battle between Masters and Adam Brayton. Brayotn may have only managed fifth but then he isn t as acquainted with the top 30 as Eddie.
Man of the match was a tight-fought battle between Masters and Adam Brayton. Brayton may have 'only' managed fifth, but then he isn't as acquainted with the top 30 as Eddie.

12th for Remi Thirion just a scant six seconds back. With the bone dry track in Fort William this weekend the times are tighter than ever between the top guys.
12th for Remi Thirion, just a scant six seconds back. With the bone dry track in Fort William this weekend the times are tighter than ever between the top guys.

After a top time in training yesterday and top 25 splits in his quail run it was a huge bummer to see Marc Beaumont miss out on the final due to a puncture just above the motorway.
After a top time in training yesterday, and top 25 splits in his quail run, it was a huge bummer to see Marc Beaumont miss out on the final due to a puncture just above the motorway.

Loris Vergier chopping corners as tight as possible when every millisecond counts. An unfortunate puncture ruined his quail run but look for Loris in the top 10 tomorrow.
Loris Vergier chopping corners as tight as possible when every millisecond counts. An unfortunate puncture ruined his quail run, but look for Loris in the top 10 tomorrow.

Sam Hill always has high hopes on the slopes of Aonach Mor but struggled to keep pace with the top guys today.... But don t count him out just yet he is still very much in touch.
Sam Hill always has high hopes on the slopes of Aonach Mor but struggled to keep pace with the top guys today.... But don't count him out just yet, he is still very much in touch.

Flying under radar with deceptive speed Eddie Masters caught everyone off guard by taking his career best qualifier in 2nd place today.
Flying under the radar with deceptive speed, Eddie Masters caught everyone off guard by taking his career best qualifier in 2nd place today.

Laurie Greenland balls to the wall taking another spot inside the top 15.
Laurie Greenland, balls to the wall, taking another spot inside the top 15.

Keegan Wright face down in the brown pow. Second time he nailed. More than can be said for most riders.
Keegan Wright face down in the brown pow. The second time he nailed it.... More than can be said for most riders.

Presenting the Jackson five here to scope the stickiest spot on the hill. Just a few of the many big names who spent the morning puzzling over the awkward boardwalk drop into the polished roots.
Presenting the Jackson five, one of the many bands of riders to spend time puzzling over the awkward boardwalk drop into the polished roots of the new woods section.

All kinds of riders hit the mossy deck in the new woods today no matter how low the number plate or how sharp the tech skills.
All kinds of riders hit the mossy deck in the new woods today, no matter how low the number plate or how sharp the tech skills.

All the dust means things are getting rowdy in a different kind of way as kindly demonstrated here by Brendan Fairclough.
All the dust means things are getting rowdy in a different kind of way, as kindly demonstrated here by Brendan Fairclough.

Brook MacDonald has been looking like his old self out there. The bulldog will be gunning for another Fort William podium tomorrow.
Brook MacDonald has been looking like his old self out there. The bulldog will be gunning for another Fort William podium tomorrow.

Troy Brosnan had a few crashes this weekend in the loose dry conditions but neatened it up for a fourth place run today.
Troy Brosnan had a few crashes this weekend in the loose dry conditions but neatened it up for a fourth place run today.

A slow first split hindered Marcelo but he rallied back to slide into the top 10 just six seconds back.
A slow first split hindered Marcelo but he rallied back to slide into the top ten just six seconds back.

Welcome back to the party Mitch Ropelato. 26th in qualifying after a year and a half absence from the World Cup.
Welcome back to the party Mitch Ropelato, 26th in qualifying after a year and a half absence from the World Cup.

Aaron Gwin wasn t showing his cards until today. He rode to third and has more in the tank for tomorrow.
Aaron Gwin wasn't showing his cards until today. He rode to third and no doubt has more in the tank for tomorrow.

Warp for Wyn qualifying comfortably despite an injured knee.
Warp for Wyn, qualifying comfortably despite an injured knee.

George Brannigan riding rowdy to seventh place in qualifying today.
George Brannigan riding rowdy to seventh place in qualifying today.

Greg Williamson has been on a tear on this season. Today was no different. He qualified sixth.
Greg Williamson has been on a tear on this season. Today was no different. He qualified sixth.

Peaty coming to grips with the fresh woods section. If riders weren t having a tough time on the loose upper sections of the track they were in the fresh woods.
Peaty coming to grips with the fresh woods section. If riders weren't having a tough time on the loose upper sections of the track, they were in the fresh woods.

Fresh ruts burnished roots.
Fresh ruts, burnished roots.

A crash in qualifying will keep Sam Blenkinsop sidelined tomorrow but he was still all smiles while exchanging battle stories with his friends in the pits.
A crash in qualifying will keep Sam Blenkinsop sidelined tomorrow, but he was still all smiles while exchanging battle stories with his friends in the pits.

Eddie Masters 2
Eddie Masters #2

Luca Shaw having an afternoon pick me up after qualifying sixth.
Luca Shaw having an afternoon pick me up after qualifying sixth.

Greg Minnaar and Luca Shaw head up for a late day track walk.
Greg Minnaar and Luca Shaw head up for a late day track walk.

Eddie s brand new rim was looking a little rough after his 2nd place quail run today.
Eddie's brand new rim was looking a little rough after his 2nd place quail run today.

Taylor Vernon resting his shoulder after a tough few days.
Taylor Vernon resting his shoulder after a tough few days.

Some folk go through the wheels a little quicker than others... Any guesses who these are for
Some folk go through the wheels a little quicker than others... Any guesses who these are for?

Specialized Gravity Republic precision wheel tune in progress.
Specialized Gravity Republic precision wheel tune in progress.

These guys walked the pits after qualifiers adding every autograph they could to this very special Canadian flag.
These guys walked the pits after qualifiers adding every autograph they could to this very special Canadian flag.

Finn Iles and his future competition.
Finn Iles and his future competition.

One of those days for Connor Fearon rolling down with a flat but of course it s a bit more chilled when you re a protected rider.
One of those days for Connor Fearon, rolling down with a flat, but of course, it's a bit more chilled when you're a protected rider.

Oblivious Bob Parkin is concentrating so hard he has no idea his brother is cramming a banana in his ear.
Oblivious, Bob Parkin is concentrating so hard he has no idea his brother is cramming a banana in his ear.

Eddy Masters mechanic Kurt giving the Bergamont some love after a wild ride.
Ed Masters' mechanic Kurt giving the Bergamont some love after a wild ride.

Full strip downs at the Madison Saracen corner. Clean means fast and free.
Full strip downs at the Madison Saracen corner. Clean means fast and free.

This guy will likely not shower for a week.
This guy will likely not shower for a week.

Things are looking quite good weather wise for race day. We are looking forward to some dry slipping and sliding.
Things are looking quite good weather wise for race day. We are looking forward to some dry slipping and sliding.


Must Read This Week

49 Comments

  • + 98
 Too stoked for Eddie Masters!
  • + 53
 Gutted for Marc Beaumont. He was on it this weekend.
  • + 6
 Did really well in timed training, too bad this happenned Frown
  • + 1
 @Lookinforit: what happened to him?
  • + 1
 @Lookinforit: nvmd, flat
  • + 3
 Jandals for the win! Spirit of Downhill
  • + 12
 All the GMBN subscribers are longing to see him succeed Smile
  • + 31
 I think the reason Sam Hill isn't very competitive this season is that fugly Leatt helmet! I mean how can you get up in the morning and look forward to riding your bike, if you know that you're going to look like the f*cking predator...

Hill went from the best dressed rider on the circuit to the worst and it's showing in his results!
  • + 13
 Good analysis, you might be onto something.
  • + 1
 if this logic is reversible, I would ride great in a new kit. right?
  • + 1
 Yeah, except looking like the Predator would be so sick (but not as sick as Alien... RIP Giger forever)
  • + 31
 ENVE recall: our fancy flatless strip doesn't work.
  • + 4
 "Pre-production" I'm sure will be the company line. Like every other bit of garbage that enve has claimed and then had immediately fail.
  • + 39
 To be fair, it may have had nothing to do with the rim strip. Could've been a torn sidewall or something. Even if it did fail, heaven forbid companies try to find solutions to flats without us complaining about it. Out of all the junk the industry tries to sell us, the last thing we should moan about are attempts to reduce flats. I can't believe that with all the advances in biking, flats are still such a big factor in these races.
  • + 1
 I feel like unless a solution for flats is created that doesn't add weight, they will always be a factor as riders weigh the risk vs weight savings of running certain compounds/thicknesses/sidewalls/pressures etc. I mean as is you could run double thick DH tubes and a ghetto tubeless setup on top, and you would have 0% chance of puncturing.... you wouldn't win though, so....
  • + 26
 Luca Shaw and Greg Minnaar having a wee course walk... with a spot opening on the Syndicate next season and Luca already riding a V10 it makes you go hmmmm...
  • + 28
 Not tall enough
  • + 15
 @elpsstoffo: I'm 6'4" do you think I can qualify? Lol
  • + 4
 @pigit77: Me too!!!!
  • + 14
 Holy Crap those were some of the best and most creative pics. So many eyeballs!
  • + 10
 I don't follow any other sports but their photography can't be this good!
  • + 5
 hmmmm...could we be looking at the future syndicate rider in these pictures that will likely take the place of S.Peat? perhaps Luca Shaw or Mitch Ropelato?
  • + 6
 seriously well made photographs chums, well captured indeed
  • + 3
 yes, excellent work from the photographers

keep up the great articles PB : !
  • + 5
 So many people I'd like to see on the top step! Can't wait for the race!
  • + 4
 Pb is killin me with this coverage. Soooo want to be there!!
  • + 0
 Eddie Masters in a Hayes team is running Magura brakes. I knew they were doing this kind of stuff with tyres (and Atherton was running Intense bikes as if they were from Muddy Fox but then at least they could have markered that neon yellow to a typical Hayes colour. Yes I've seen the Answer bar and Manitou forks.
  • + 2
 Manitou belongs to Hayes and the team has Magura as their brake-sponsor. So everything is fine. I think they run a vivid because the frame gets developed around this more popular shock.
  • + 1
 @tabletop84: Alright clear. I thought Hayes was part of Answer/Manitou (which got me wondering why you'd call your team Hayes if you don't run their brakes) though indeed it seems to be the other way around. I also just noticed they also own Sun-Ringle (rims and hubs) and Wheelsmith (spokes) so if they also turn the PeteSpeed gearbox patent into a commercial product, they could offer an OEM package just as complete as SRAM does.
  • + 5
 Ben Cathro, god damn.
  • + 2
 did anyone know that Rachel Atherton crashed???
  • + 3
 Where's the Rat?
  • + 19
 he cut his hair off so now he is slow.
  • + 1
 Lol danny harts timed training run be faster then gee
  • + 1
 WOOHOOO GREG MINNAAR!!!!!
  • + 1
 I hope Steve Peat comes to Crankworx Whistler this year!
  • + 1
 Was that real chainsaw in that kids hands ?
  • + 7
 It's a plastic toy. My kid has one too. It rumbles when you pull the cord, and the chain rotates when you pull the trigger. Pretty sweet.
  • + 1
 How come Mick Hannah can get a DNF and still race in the finals?
  • - 1
 I thought a DNF counted as the slowest time
  • + 5
 @sampolicky: DNF stands for "did not finish" the top 20 DHers of the ranking are "protected" that means that they don't need to qualify to compete on the finals, the qualifications gives them points and the order of start, that's why they all take qualis pretty seriously. If a rider get's to the final because he is protected he will drop in 20th from the fastest guy.
  • + 3
 @sampolicky: Hannah is a protected rider, so all he had to do was leave the start gate to qualify
  • + 1
 @JoseBravo: Thanks. How many points do the qualifications give compared to the finals?
  • + 1
 @sampolicky: I don't really remember, it's way less tho, like less than a half of the race
  • + 1
 top 3 qualies 50, 40, 30 top 3 race 200, 160, 140 as they get farther away from the podium the point gap gets more little
  • + 2
 Cathro stylin! Nice!
  • - 3
 BULL DOG
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