Fort William DH 2015: The Bog Walk

Jun 4, 2015
by Dave Trumpore  
In what will be its 14th consecutive season as a host of the World Cup or World Champs, Fort William is second only to Mont St. Anne as the longest running venue on the UCI MTB calendar. With a winner's circle over the years that includes names like Kovarik, Gracia, Peat, Moseley, Jonnier, Atherton, and Minnaar just to name a few, it would be an understatement to say the track is anything short of legendary.

While the ratio of dirt to solid rock has changed over the years on the hills of Aonoch Mor, the basic layout of the track has never changed. High up the ski field, open and exposed to the elements, riders begin their quest for glory on what is easily the longest, continuous high speed section of track on all of the World Cup circuit. Mid way down, with arms burning, riders pass through the deer gate and enter the technical woods which once again have been tapped to be as muddy and awkward as ever. This is also the section of track that has seen most changes over the years to help riders keep their speed through the final split that leads to the infamous motorway.

While many would argue the race is won from the deer gate down, an equal number would agree that it's often lost over the last 30 seconds as riders sprint between massive jumps that lead to the finish area. This section has seen 2 second leads over taken, and seemingly slow runs claim victory in front of what will be the largest and loudest crowd of the season.

The views on the drive to Fort WIllaim are pretty outstanding
  The views on the drive to Fort William are pretty outstanding.

moody weather seems to be the theme of the week here in Scotland
  Moody weather seems to be the theme of the week here in Scotland.

Sun is a bit of a rarity right now but every now and then it does make a sneaky apperarence.
  Sun is a bit of a rarity right now, but every now and then it does make a sneaky appearance.

Coming into the Scottish highlands. It s a land of moody beauty. We couldn t be happier to be here for this fourteenth World Cup at Fort William battling the rain and midges.
  Coming into the Scottish highlands. It's a land of moody beauty. We couldn't be happier to be here for this fourteenth World Cup at Fort William, battling the rain and midges.

The hike up Ben Nevis affords amazing views of the Highlands.
  The hike up Ben Nevis affords amazing views of the Highlands.

Tip top of Ben Nevis it s still full-blown winter up there. However the hike up is well worth it.
  Tip top of Ben Nevis, it's still full-blown winter up there. However, the hike up is well worth it.

The sun has been a fickle mistress here in Fort William but when it shows it is spectacular.
  The sun has been a fickle mistress here in Fort William, but when it shows, it is spectacular.

A lot of darkness and a little light current theme of the highlands.
  A lot of darkness and a little light, current theme of the highlands.

The long rough and legendary upper slopes of Fort William.
  The long, rough and legendary upper slopes of Fort William.

With alomst two weeks of straight rain things are a bit soft on and off track.
  With almost two weeks of straight rain things are a bit soft on and off track.

After 14 years of abuse there is little to no dirt left on the upper slopes of the track.
  After 14 years of abuse there is little to no dirt left on the upper slopes of the track.

Gee Atherton has won here before and it s the round he always wants the most. Expect nothing but his best.
  Gee Atherton has won here before and it's the round he always wants the most. Expect nothing but his best.

Faces of the famous... Rachel Atherton says bonjour to the fans at home.
  Faces of the famous... Rachel Atherton says bonjour to the fans at home.

Last year s champ and the series leader Emmeline Ragot walks the rocks and gestures a small variation on the international hand signal for peace.
  Last year's champ and the series leader Emmeline Ragot walks the rocks and gestures a small variation on the international hand signal for peace.

Aaron Gwin striding out across the highlands looking to lay down some American law on this stretch of Scottish gravel.
  Aaron Gwin striding out across the highlands looking to lay down some American law on this stretch of Scottish gravel.

Konas Connor Fearon and junior series leader Andrew Crimmins with umbrellas against the snow.
  Kona's Connor Fearon and junior series leader, Andrew Crimmins with umbrellas against the snow.

Aussi junior Remy Morton spent the off season growing a wooly scarf just to stay warm in Fort William.
  Aussi junior, Remy Morton, spent the off season growing a wooly scarf just to stay warm in Fort William.

The TWR boys take refuge from the weather before track walk.
  The TWR boys take refuge from the weather before track walk.

Snow melt and rains have made the ground around the track incredibly soft. If you are a spectator be sure to bring your Wellies.
  Snow melt and rains have made the ground around the track incredibly soft. If you are a spectator, be sure to bring your Wellies.

Laurie Greenland is no stranger here at Fort William and is a favorite for a junior win.
  Laurie Greenland is no stranger here at Fort William and is a favourite for a junior win.

Large bags of dirt are at the ready to fill in holes that might develop when the rains wash away the track.
  Large bags of dirt are at the ready to fill in holes that might develop when the rains wash away the track.

Plenty of work has been done to keep up the integrity of the track. Considering the amount of rain fall they have had here lately it is sorely needed. Question is how long will it last
  Plenty of work has been done to keep up the integrity of the track. Considering the amount of rain fall they have had here lately, it is sorely needed. Question is, how long will it last?

Bren Dog brought another form of magnificent two wheeled transportation to Fort William. The roar of his BMW is sublime.
  Bren Dog brought another form of magnificent two wheeled transportation to Fort William. The roar of his BMW is sublime.

Believe it or not Martin Maes is STILL young enough to be a Junior and is keen to back up his win from last year.
  Believe it or not, Martin Maes is STILL young enough to be a Junior and is keen to back up his win from last year.

Just below the snow line from a few days ago the long walk begins.
  Just below the snow line from a few days ago, the long walk begins.

Beaming with confidence after round one Tracey Hannah can t wait to get on her bike and get down to business this weekend.
  Beaming with confidence after round one, Tracey Hannah can't wait to get on her bike and get down to business this weekend.

Mondraker s Danny Hart does brilliantly at the Fort year on year but unbelievably he is yet to take a win here or any World Cup. Watch this space...
  Mondraker's Danny Hart, does brilliantly at the Fort year on year, but unbelievably he is yet to take a win here or any World Cup. Watch this space...

Giant Factory Racing s Marcello Gutierrez and Alex Marin scope under shelter high up on the moor.
  Giant Factory Racing's Marcello Gutierrez and Alex Marin scope under shelter high up on the moor.

Everything is wet.
  Everything is wet.

Blenki s still got love for love for the Bill after all these years.
  Blenki's still got love for the 'Bill after all these years.

The only section of tech woods has been moved a few meters over and has some interesting tree placement on the main racing line.
  The only section of tech woods has been moved a few meters over and has some interesting tree placement on the main racing line.

The track has been rerouted into this off-camber mud pit this year. The old line is to the left just outside the b-zone tape. It s rough rocky and blown out.
  The track has been rerouted into this off-camber mud pit this year. The old line is to the left, just outside the b-zone tape. It's rough, rocky, and blown out.

Dogs are of course used to test the safety of all features prior to any human attempts by bicycle... Stunt Collie 1 scopes the Hazard Hoofer.
  Dogs are of course used to test the safety of all features prior to any human attempts by bicycle... Stunt Collie 1 scopes the Hazard Hoofer.

The final split. Speeds pick back up from here to the finish.
  The final split. Speeds pick back up from here to the finish.

Scrublife. Brendan Ollie Wilkins and mechanic Ben have been trying to keep the fun alive... Anyone who says something negative about Scotland has to do 20 press-ups.
  Scrublife. Brendan, Ollie Wilkins and mechanic Ben have been trying to keep the fun alive... Anyone who says something negative about Scotland has to do 20 press-ups.

It s a bit slick above this corner and the race organizers have planned ahead with a bit of extra tape just to be safe.
  It's a bit slick above this corner and the race organizers have planned ahead with a bit of extra tape just to be safe.

Neko has put the bad luck of Lourdes behind him and should be one to watch this weekend.
  Neko has put the bad luck of Lourdes behind him, and should be one to watch this weekend.

The corkscrew below the road gap has been changed just a bit this year to resemble more of a wallride then a berm.
  The corkscrew below the road gap has been changed just a bit this year to resemble more of a wall ride, than a berm.

The big plunge into the finish. Come Sunday there will be just about as many spectators in this view as trees.
  The big plunge into the finish. Come Sunday, there will be just about as many spectators in this view as trees.

Team Giant walk the final stretch of the grey mile. The stands are expected to be slightly better populated come Sunday.
  Team Giant walk the final stretch of the grey mile. The stands are expected to be slightly better populated come Sunday.

After trackwalk comes the manual labor. Sam Dale digs the Saracen pitch a drainage system to keep his mechanic s feet dry.
  After track walk comes the manual labor. Sam Dale digs the Saracen pitch a drainage system to keep his mechanic's feet dry.

The first of many many many wheels that will be built through the weekend as the rough Fort William track dishes out abuse.
  The first of many, many, many wheels that will be built through the weekend as the rough Fort William track dishes out abuse.

With no World Cup for almost 2 months the queue for service was quite large this morning.
  With no World Cup for almost 2 months the queue for service was quite large this morning.

As track walk ended the rains moved in and the mechanics began their toil that will last well into the night.
  As track walk ended the rains moved in and the mechanics began their toil that will last well into the night.

We'll be on hand bringing you the goods from Fort William all weekend, so stay tuned.




About the Photographers

Matthew Delorme • Age: 40 • Years Shooting: 8
Matthew DeLorme is just one of Pinkbike’s motley crew of World Cup photographers. He currently lives out of a Ogio bag, and calls the road his home. Delorme works for Trek Bicycle, covering their MTB racing programs. He can usually be found laying in the dirt trackside, cracking jokes and saying things that make little to no sense. He enjoys capturing accessory moments and the journey every bit as much as catching the action shot.


Dave Trumpore • Age: 35 • Years Shooting: 4
Dave spent the bulk of the past 17 years racing professionally before realizing that despite qualifying for the random World Cup final here and there, the next generation was just way too fast and way more talented. Upon hanging up his racing boots in 2010, it would be a few years until Dave picked up a camera and started shooting the odd race here and there as a way to stay in touch with all the friends he had made over the years, and the rest as they say is history. In just a few years time his photos have graced the pages of just about every MTB magazine and major media outlet, while his commercial client list includes a who's who of the cycling industry, and he is lucky enough to shoot regularly with some of the best riders on the planet. Currently at Pinkbike, Dave shoots the Downhill WC and the Enduro World Series as well as contributing to the occasional editorial story.


Nathan Hughes • Age: 28 • Years Shooting: 2
Nathan Hughes was snared as mainstay Pinbike media crew for the 2013 World Cup season and has been trapped behind the lens and the keyboard ever since. In between the biggest bike events of the year Nathan can be found on client shoots, making far-off travel stories and trying to catch a moment to spin the pedals himself. A great appreciation of the wilderness, the fear of a normal life and the quest for the perfect picture will have him hooked and looking to raise the bar for years to come.


MENTIONS: @natedh9 / @mdelorme / @davetrump




54 Comments

  • + 54
 There's been a disturbing lack of Claudio in the run up to this weekend.. :-/
  • + 16
 I have been checking back every half hour.
  • + 24
 clau..... di......o clau..... di......o clau..... di......o clau..... di......o Clau.....Di.....o Clau...Di...O CLau..Di..O CLAU.Di.O CLAUDIO!
  • + 39
 Knock Knock
Who's there?
Not Claudio
:'(
  • + 9
 Not Claudio Who?
  • + 3
 Not Clau- Wait, yes! It's up!
  • + 24
 I wonder who will break their hands first trying to squeeze through that tree section!
  • + 5
 No 800mm bars for anyone who wants to get through there...
  • + 20
 Oh dear what happens if the riders get wet?
  • + 15
 They release Danny heart (www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqYgAX6D43Q if you missed it)
  • + 1
 Danny 3
  • + 32
 i miss drunk warner. *sigh*.
  • + 2
 Pretty much what Bill Hicks wanted about his music,I want my DH commentators dead, youtu.be/I-vmbA3Cmsg?t=89
*you might want to lower the volume before playing the video
  • + 3
 video from the commentary box. just as good as the popular video www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KZV7zfMGTg
  • + 1
 The monkeys take over the castle. Rider remnants are boxed and shipped back to Kansas.
  • + 11
 Summer has finally hit Scotland!

Jokes aside, this should be flippin' amazing Smile
  • + 9
 OH. MAH. GAWD. CAN'T WAIT. Started my Scotch drinking 5 minutes ago. I hope I make it to Sunday.
  • + 8
 @natedh9 @mdelorme @davetrump Thank you guys, these pictures are incredible.
  • + 6
 Soo... many... boxxers... you could buy like a 2007 ford exploder with all those!
  • + 3
 I wish they sold cars over here with such cool names
  • + 1
 Haha that was actually a diss to the "ford explorer", their engines were known for a lotta issues and they were coined the term ford exploder, at least by my boss who was a former owner of one.
  • + 1
 U-haul actually has it specifically in their rental agreement that you can't tow their trailers with an Explorer. No joke.
  • + 6
 Where the hell is claudio
  • + 6
 Some amazing photography.
  • + 2
 Hiking for a week around Fort William last September finally made me appreciate in full the majestic nature of this location. Absolutely amazing place to be for any outdoor enthusiast. I can't even imagine what its like with all the cheering crowds. Hope for an amazing race, as usual in Bill
  • + 5
 love all the racers but....is anyone hungrier than SMITH?

p.s. go Tracey!
  • + 2
 amazing shots there, such a beautiful place. Q: what is the grey aggregate used for the track surface? is it quarry waste/granite waste? its quite distinctive, always wondered how grippy it really is..
  • + 2
 beautiful catalog of photos and description of course....can't wait to wake up super early Sunday PST to watch.
  • + 3
 Nice shots Dave. Can't wait to see the photo epic.
  • + 2
 They make him sound so old, Blenky "after all these years" He has only just got rid of the braces!
  • + 1
 I love that beat down BMW bike, something about haggard old school motorcycles speaks to me
  • + 1
 sick, bring it on! I cant believe how little coverage there has been so far sheesh! I am stewing....
  • + 2
 Stay on your bike Danny! Lets watch that wet weather!
  • + 2
 Track Walks are so beaten down. Why not have fat bike rolls?
  • + 2
 Makes looks like a 49 yr old accountant
  • + 2
 Maes
  • + 14
 And Danny Hart looks like an old lesbian. Doesn't mean he ain't fast
  • + 1
 Beautiful pics, great coverage..Thanks!
  • + 1
 where is Patrol Mountain FJC Team?
  • + 2
 Fairclough
  • + 0
 Sunday can't come soon enough.
  • + 1
 AND its an f1 weekend in Canada! (Maybe best grid girls around/Monaco had grid boys)
  • + 1
 Epic.
  • + 1
 Pussy weather !
  • + 1
 RAIN!
  • + 1
 can not wait!
  • - 1
 Oh I see the legacy now: Aggy->Miles->Morton
  • - 3
 MAES WILL WIN
  • + 1
 Fingers x-ed Smile
  • - 3
 BMW wasn't even ridden to site, was pulled out of a van - More like Brenpussy
  • + 1
 Sick pit bike!
  • + 0
 Leave the Dog alone lol
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.031121
Mobile Version of Website