Finals Photo Epic: All To Play For - Fort William DH World Cup 2019

Jun 3, 2019
by Ross Bell  




Photo Epic presented by Five Ten

Every year we come to Fort William and every year we are dished up a weekend full of twists and turns. One of the classic venues on the circuit and one of the tracks that bites back the hardest should you stray onto the wrong side of it, any rider who tames it is thrust into downhill immortality. This is easier said than done.

A scan of the forecast at any point this week painted only one picture, and it was of a particularly bleak one... We'd dodged a few weather bullets in recent years but this year we were hit by every single one. The moisture was only a trivial tribulation in comparison to what befell Tahnee Seagrave on her first practice run - the World Cup leader would crash hard, tearing her AC joint in the process and leaving her to sit on the sidelines and watch the number 1 slip from her grasp. She wasn't the only one to be chewed up by the granite boulders this weekend with names like Bruni, Hrastnik, Brayton, Iles, and Atherton all taking heavy hits.

The season opener in Maribor was a rough ride for several of the big hitters who'd look to hit the reset button in Fort Bill and start afresh. Rachel Atherton had a messy qualifying run which sat her back into the pack a little but come race day she'd got it dialed and laid her claim for the win, going into the hot seat with a sizeable margin. It looked like an ominous time for the rest of the girls at the top to match, none came close until fastest qualifier Tracey Hannah began setting the timing screens alight in the middle of the track. She'd eventually drift 1 and a half seconds back but it was a valiant effort nonetheless do try and dethrone the Queen of Fort Bill. The podium was rounded off by Nina Hoffmann, Marine Cabirou, and Veronika Widmann, the German taking her first podium in fine style.

The men's field was tightly bunched throughout, riders would come and go from the hot seat as the fastest time of the day got chipped away at. That was until Brosnan and subsequently Pierron, absolutely dismantled the previous benchmark, Amaury taking his insurmountable advantage to a monstrous 3 and a half seconds over Troy. Fastest qualifier Loris Vergier was pipped to second by less than a tenth of second, fine margins after 4 and a half minutes of racing. Finn Iles and Danny Hart rounded off the podium spots whilst Minnaar had to settle for sixth. After a topsy turvy opening two races, the leader's jersey changes hands in both the guys and girls, Atherton in place of Seagrave and Brosnan in place of Bruni.

One of the biggest shocks of the day came in the junior women as Vali Holl's reign came to a crashing end as American Anna Newkirk picked up her maiden World Cup win and now leads the series to boot. Thibaut Daprela took another win but was kept honest by two WC debutants, the UK's Luke Mumford in second and Canada's Patrick Laffey in third. Watch out for both of them in the remainder of the season.

Classic conditions for a day of racing on a classic track
Classic conditions for a day of racing on a classic track

The dormant ski lifts lining the hillside of Aonach M r.
The dormant ski lifts lining the hillside of Aonach Mòr.

Timing chips ready to be dished out.
Timing chips ready to be dished out.

Cold temps rain and high wind had all the junior men running fore the same cover to get their warmups in at the top of the hill.
Cold temps, rain, and high winds had all the junior men running for the same cover to get their warmups in at the top of the hill.

Vali Holl trying to stay dry during her warmup as the cold rains began to pour down outside just outside.
Vali Holl trying to stay dry during her warm up as the cold rains began to pour down outside.

The last few moments before Anna Newkirk s maiden World Cup winning run.
The last few moments before Anna Newkirk's maiden World Cup winning run.

Vali Holl power out the start gate but it wasn t to be today for the Austrian her winning streak comes to an end in Fort William.
Vali Holl powering out the start gate but it wasn't to be today for the Austrian, her winning streak comes to an end in Fort William.

Mille Johnset once again 3rd in the junior women s race.
Mille Johnset once again 3rd in the junior women's race.

In his very first World Cup Luke Mumford finished less than a second off the win in second place.
In his very first World Cup Luke Mumford finished less than a second off the win in 2nd place.

USA junior Anna Newkirk crushing it out in the slop to take her first ever WC victory.
USA junior, Anna Newkirk, crushing it out in the slop to take her first ever WC victory.

Patrick Laffey earned his first Junior World Cup podium just two rounds in. Third place for the Canadian.
Patrick Laffey earned his first Junior World Cup podium just two rounds in. Third place for the Canadian.

Daprella warping over white water.
Daprela warping over white water.

Just in case you were wondering how wet it was out there.
Just in case you were wondering how wet it was out there.

Marine Cabirou trucking on towards her second podium of the season.
Marine Cabirou trucking on towards her second podium of the season.

Tracy Hannah took two of the splits and lost out on the win by only 1.6 seconds.
Tracey Hannah took two of the splits and lost out on the win by only 1.6 seconds.

No amount of rain and wind can dampen the spirits of the Fort William fans.
No amount of rain and wind can dampen the spirits of the Fort William fans.

Rain all night and on and off all day meant the track in Fort William was wet and wild once again today.
Rain all night and on and off all day meant the track in Fort William was wet and wild once again today.

Nina Hoffmann over the final drop at into a 3rd place finish.
Nina Hoffmann over the final drop and into a 3rd place finish.

Veronika Widmann back in the mix and making her first podium appearance of 2019.
Veronika Widmann back in the mix and making her first podium appearance of 2019.

A tight battle between Rachel Atherton and Tracey Hannah over the whole length of the track kept people guessing to the very end. It was Rach who d seize the advantage in the final sectors of the track.
A tight battle between Rachel Atherton and Tracey Hannah over the whole length of the track kept people guessing to the very end. It was Rach who'd seize the advantage in the final sectors of the track.

An ecstatic Nina Hoffmann celebrating her first ever podium appearance at a World Cup.
An ecstatic Nina Hoffmann celebrating her first ever podium appearance at a World Cup.

Tracey Hannah crossed the line in second to Rachel. Yesterday s fastest qualifier was oh so close to that top spot.
Tracey Hannah crossed the line in second to Rachel. Yesterday's fastest qualifier was oh so close to that top spot.

Rachel showing off her Atherton sled. Well done here at the Fort.
Rachel showing off her Atherton sled. Well done here at the Fort.

What a weekend in the Scottish Highlands it has been. As if this track wasn t tough enough already.
What a weekend in the Scottish Highlands it has been. As if this track wasn't tough enough already.

Witness the wetness. It s been moist even by Scottish standards.
Witness the wetness. It's been moist even by Scottish standards.

The rains may have come in hard but keen fans were rewarded with a top-draw show from the World s finest.
The rains may have come in hard but keen fans were rewarded with a top-draw show from the World's finest.

Puts hole in hand in practice. Hand swells over night. Throws massive whips in practice and smashes out a 20th place. Kade Edwards is an animal.
Puts a hole in hand in practice. Hand swells overnight. Throws massive whips in practice and smashes out a 20th place. Kade Edwards is an animal.

Bernard Kerr missed out on the top 10 just pipped by team mate Ed Masters.
Bernard Kerr missed out on the top 10, just pipped by teammate Ed Masters.

Greg Williamson back up where he should be a solid 12th place to build on for the rest of the season.
Greg Williamson back up where he should be, a solid 12th place to build on for the rest of the season.

David Trummer backed up his strong start to the season in 14th.
David Trummer backed up his strong start to the season in 14th.

13th and finding some consistency for Dakotah Norton who is still coming back to form after off-season shoulder surgery.
13th and finding some consistency for Dakotah Norton who is still coming back to form after off-season shoulder surgery.

It looked like Matt Walker might take his second podium in a row but he was pushed back to 7th in the end. I m sure he ll be quietly content with that given a crash on this very track a few weeks prior left him in hospital.
It looked like Matt Walker might take his second podium in a row but he was pushed back to 7th in the end. I'm sure he'll be quietly content with that given a crash on this very track a few weeks prior left him in hospital.

Eddie Masters plunging towards the finish line and into 10th place.
Eddie Masters plunging towards the finish line and into 10th place.

Greg Minnaar will be dropping numbers on his plate after today s run. Sixth place for the legend.
Greg Minnaar will be dropping numbers on his plate after today's run. Sixth place for the legend.

Iles in the zone as he s been all weekend. It was all green lights for him when the clock was ticking.
Iles in the zone, as he's been all weekend. It was all green lights for him when the clock was ticking.

Special visit by the Redbull Matadors to kick off the festivities.
Special visit by the Redbull Matadors to kick off the festivities.

The rain was on and off today for Elite finals but not enough to change the already saturated track conditions. Tear offs were essential.
The rain was on and off today for Elite finals but not enough to change the already saturated track conditions. Tear-offs were essential.

What a weekend for Aaron Gwin. After 2 practice laps in the morning rain his World Cup came to an end in explosive fashion not far out the gate in finals. Luck seems simply not to be on his side at this point.
What a weekend for Aaron Gwin. After 2 practice laps in the morning rain, his World Cup came to an end in explosive fashion not far out the gate in finals. Luck seems simply not to be on his side at this point.

After a massive crash on Saturday Finn Iles rebounded to fight his way onto the podium in 5th.
After a massive crash on Saturday, Finn Iles rebounded to fight his way onto the podium in 5th.

Brook MacDonald climbed steadily up the rankings through the splits for a top 10 and upgraded plate headed to Austria.
Brook MacDonald climbed steadily up the rankings through the splits for a top 10 and upgraded plate headed to Austria.

A snapped chain off the start spelled bad luck for Reece Wilson. A crash in the woods left him battered and sore at race end.
A snapped chain off the start spelled bad luck for Reece Wilson. A crash in the woods left him battered and sore at race end.

Danny Hart hit the podium again to make it 2 from 2.
Danny Hart hit the podium again to make it 2 from 2.

Loic Bruni took the hot seat but only briefly. It s amazing he could perform so well after the battering his body took over the weekend.
Loic Bruni took the hot seat but only briefly. It's amazing he could perform so well after the battering his body took over the weekend.

Troy Brosnan dug deep down the final minute of the track to make time on his rivals but would still fall just over two seconds short of the win.
Troy Brosnan dug deep down the final minute of the track to make time on his rivals, but would still fall just over two seconds short of the win.

A brusised and battered Loic Bruni watching his countrymen Amaury Pierron and Loris Vergier climb not the podium.
A bruised and battered Loic Bruni watching his countrymen Amaury Pierron and Loris Vergier climb not the podium.

Close but no cigar for the last man down LG.
Close, but no cigar for the last man down.

Loris Vergier was on the top of his game out here but in the end third would have to do. No bad score.
Loris Vergier was on the top of his game out here, but in the end third would have to do.

Amaury Pierron took his first ever World Cup win here last year and wanted to remind everyone that he s still king of the Fort. Message sent and received.
Amaury Pierron took his first ever World Cup win here last year and wanted to remind everyone that he's still king of the Fort. Message sent and received.

That s more like it. That could well be one of Amaury Pierron s finest wins yet.
That's more like it. That could well be one of Amaury Pierron's finest wins yet.

Troy Brosnan on the hunt. He s won here previously and he almost had this one edging out FInn Iles and into second place.
Troy Brosnan on the hunt. He's won here previously and he almost had this one, edging out Finn Iles and into second place.

Your top 3 junior women. 1st Anna Newkirk 2nd Vali Holl 3rd Millie Johnset
Your top 3 junior women. 1st Anna Newkirk 2nd Vali Holl 3rd Millie Johnset

Junior Men s Podium.
Junior Men's Podium.

Rachel Atherton takes top honors in Fort William to give Atherton bikes its first ever WC victory.
Rachel Atherton takes top honors in Fort William to give Atherton bikes its first ever WC victory.

Rachel Atherton embibes just one more bottle of Scottish champers.
Rachel Atherton imbibes just one more bottle of Scottish champers.

Pierron addressing the crowd.
Pierron addressing the crowd.

Your top 5 elite men. 1st Amaury Pierron 2nd Troy Brosnan 3rd Loris Vergier 4th Finn Iles 5th Danny Hart
Your top 5 Elite Men. 1st Amaury Pierron 2nd Troy Brosnan 3rd Loris Vergier 4th Finn Iles 5th Danny Hart

Amaury Pierron takes two in a row in Fort William.
Amaury Pierron takes two in a row in Fort William.

Just about how everyone will remember Fort William 2019.
Just about how everyone will remember Fort William 2019.



MENTIONS: @natedh9 @davetrumpore @mdelorme @andy9 @rossbellphoto @FiveTen



Regions in Article
Fort William


71 Comments

  • + 69
 Does Pierron have his phone in his pocket in that finish line shot?
  • + 29
 Nope, he's just excited to win
  • + 78
 Strava...
  • + 12
 Have to Strava it...haha
  • + 26
 If it wasn’t on strava it didn’t happen
  • + 6
 Got to update that insta.
  • + 3
 @dobermon: he has an amazing light style, lots of air time, even though he has slowly but surely transformed into a Bulldog like creature. Saw him do jt in person in VDS. Mental. I think he can be called a Kangaroo...
  • + 3
 Exactly what I was thinking as well. Maybe he gets paid for it :-D
  • + 1
 Everything for Instagram bro.... :-)
  • + 1
 anyone know if thats a litpro coverd with tape on pierrons visor?
  • + 3
 Gotta use Trail forks to find the trail.
  • + 1
 Conspiracy theory: He's rocking bluetooth headset in the helmet and is in communication with his team about split times..
  • + 35
 Really was hoping to see that nose dive Amaury saved. Awesome race!
  • + 1
 Anywhere we can see the entire run? Apparently he did a wicked drift at the top as well.
  • + 2
 @Lewis-pick: Nice. Thanks.
  • + 25
 4/5 podium finishers are signed to Monster. Think it's kind of fitting after it was said that RedBull would only allow their bevies on the podium. ????
  • + 3
 My thoughts exactly! Red Bull's got be fuming about that... lol
  • + 25
 Patrick Laffey! Way to go buddy! 1st year Junior, first ever World Cup...Watch out for him in the future!
  • + 1
 who is patrick laffey? hometown? local mtn? sponsors? face pic? mystery man?
  • + 5
 there was a 17 year old aussie junior in 4th. first wc ever aswell. Watch out for him
  • + 0
 Yeah local boy
  • + 1
 @stacykohut: Cumberland bc mount Washington bc. face pic is on podium pic on the right.
  • + 3
 @finnbuckley: Luke Meier-Smith Crankworx Whistler where he finished 1st in Garbanzo DH, 2nd in Dual Slalom, 3rd in A line and 4th in Canadian open DH.
  • + 16
 Epic er stuff pinkbike, but... where is the Pierron OTB pic?

That´s epic.
  • + 13
 We get Friday Fails but no photos of Pierron's nose dive or Gwin launching into the wet green of the highlands? Am dissapoint.
  • + 10
 What happened to Gwin anyway? The tyre exploded and caused the crash, or the crash caused the tyre to explode? Or the two year old prototype rim that shouldn't have been on his bike anyway broke?
  • + 3
 @jaame: I thought he just went into a hole and got highsided? The tyre then got pulled off the rim with the sideways force expelling the sealant.
  • + 2
 Cathro met the guys with cell footage of it but they wouldn't left him record it. Weird that it hasn't surfaced yet. I mean, you can't sell it can you.? Nobody would offer money for it would they?
  • + 12
 Pinkbike, your WC coverage this year is outstanding. Keep up the great work!
  • + 12
 Pretty sure Minnaar is still king of the Fort, but Pierron had a helluva run.
  • + 12
 Photo Epics are Epic, but Wet Photo Epics are Epic-er!
  • + 5
 Pinkbike has a lot of types of great content, but the Photo Epics allow me to, in 10 minutes, get the idea of what happened on the day. And _so much better_ than having to do it via Instagram stories (which are fine, just not the content I'm looking for).
  • + 3
 @Lanebobane: Those shots deserve to be seen on big screens, not some tiny mobile devices...
  • + 6
 In case you were wondering where Anna Newkirk hails from - despite being on the USA Cycling Team, she actually lives in Riehen, Switzerland. She and her family are originally from Utah where she was quite good at BMX racing. I'm not sure how the whole team thing works, but living in Switzerland is a great place to build DH skills!
  • + 2
 We don't have that many decent DH trails in the Basel area. There is a local association which maintains a few trails locally. On one of the last build days Anna was pitching in too.
  • + 2
 @korev: About how long of a drive is it to the resorts and mountains with DH trails?
  • + 2
 @PHeller: Lac Blanc in France is probably the nearest, it's about an hour in the car. Other places like Lenzerheide are within day trip distance.
  • + 8
 Holy shit, the amount of POD material in this set is insane. Great work PB photographers!
  • + 6
 The first few photos of many Ft Bill epics remind me of Macbeth with M Fassbender, just breezy and dark and grey and deep as. No better environment to focus the mind and conjure demons and witches.
  • + 9
 Surprised Reece Wilson didn't take the tree down, what a hit!
  • + 6
 Epic Stuff! The guys are probably only just going to sleep in Scotland and I can't wait for next weekend! Hope everyone heals up nice and fast
  • + 2
 Its crazy to think that, based on World champs and these first two races, the Specialized Demo seems to be the best performing frame and Ohlins suspension seems to actually be very good. Both things opposite from what internet reading has me thinking.
  • + 1
 Sadly neither of those is production item. You can't go and buy them - shut up and take my money won't do it. All heavily customized, pretty much logo/company is just for marketing purposes at this point. That being said, it should trickle down to the shopfloor models eventually, there are (used to be? old memories) rules regarding prototypes used at WC - that items have to be made available to public within a year.

What makes me sad is that seeing a stock linkage on any race bike is a rarity - most riders run more progressive links to fine tune suspension - and they fine tune shocks to get along that. You as a pure mortal have no way to do that, despite buying the same thing. Now surely mortals/bikepark riders do not ride as hard as WC racers and perhaps WC race setup is not something anyone of us could handle well, but there is plenty of national level racers who want to break trough and get gud. At least those few should have options to go hard.
  • + 3
 @johny88: its everything custom made for the rider and for the track ... just have the same parts dont help you much. And those parts don't make -30 seconds ... Get in the time of the top 100 without them (or ride the track without chain with only 20sec behind the best), and then you can think for more Wink
  • + 2
 @johny88:
This rule would stop small companies to experiment with new technology. I think if you are talented enough and have the ability to ride like a pro you will also find somebody who fine tunes your suspension and make custom linkages
  • + 1
 @outfaced: exactly. with stock parts frames top 40 no problem
  • + 2
 Does anybody know what kind of body armour these pros are wearing? Helmet and back protector of course, but apart from that I'm having difficulties to see whether knees, elbows, shoulders and chest also also behind a foam/D3o/whatever protection?
  • + 2
 @teamkr: Thank you! So in the case of Finn, standard knee guards, light elbow guards and nothing to protect the shoulders.
Given the speed of the pros and the crashes they are likely to suffer in practice and in the races, I'd call that a minimalist kit, even though I think it's not uncommon.
  • + 5
 The Top 5 Elite men pic... Monster 4, Red Bull 1.
  • + 4
 Again and again remarkable with which consistency Brosnan drives 2. and 3. places back home!
  • + 5
 No photo of Amaury Pierron doing front manual?
  • + 2
 Bummed for Reece. How many broken chains have we seen coming out of the start hut at Fort Bill? Too many. Lots of torque plus chain growth in that first compression equals a chainless run.
  • + 4
 That photo of the tear-off with a muddy tire track through it ... captures the weekend competition perfectly.
  • + 1
 Great shot. Not wanting to be "that guy", but I just hope the photog picked up the tear off before walking away.

"Leave nothing but tyre treads, take nothing but memories ...and a thick coating of liquid loam all over bike and riding kit" - Some dude on the internet
  • + 1
 @ROOTminus1: Yeah I couldn't help but think that during the race.
  • + 1
 @ROOTminus1: When will UCI just ban them like in Aussie motocrosss...
  • + 3
 Great to see uci has let skin suits back into the wc dh seen.... now to bring back the cannonball helmet. Smile
  • + 3
 great photos but quite a few mistakes with the results
  • + 2
 amazing shots! such good photogs, such good stuff to shoot with all that much and moody fog... Smile What a race!
  • + 3
 What a race!
  • + 3
 DH Scuba diving!
  • + 1
 amazing pics! Thanks PB!
  • + 2
 brilliant pictures :-)
  • + 1
 Pierron through the pinball section was next level...
  • + 1
 Just curious, was it dry when the juniors came down? looks to be..
  • + 2
 The drama was unreal
  • + 0
 What happened to Vali?
How is Gwin doing? Any injuries?
Thanks
  • + 1
 Vali crashed. Not sure how.

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