Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016

Jun 3, 2016
by Dave Trumpore  



After two years of rough weather, canceled practice sessions, and cold long days on the slopes on Aanoch Mor the sun is finally shining and the dust will surely be flying for this weekend's World Cup in Fort William. While most seasoned racers have ridden these slopes in a plethora of conditions, to many of the young guns and newcomers it might as well be an entirely new venue in its current bone dry and slippery state.

Who will it suit? Well, you'd be hard pressed to bet against the likes of Greg Minnaar and Rachel Atherton who have dominated here in the past. But we've also seen Manon, Gee, Sam Hill, Aaron Gwin and Danny Hart win or come agonizingly close in recent years as well.

And let's not forget who's missing this weekend. Last round's winner and probably the hottest rider of 2016, Loic Bruni, is sidelined with a broken collarbone which could leave the door wide open for a rider like Gwin to capitalize on the points, as well as allow others to move up a spot or two.

Then, of course, there is Stevie Smith. The rider that will hang heavy on the minds of everyone in attendance this year, and a man whose presence will be felt all weekend long. So it is fitting that the first tire tracks on course, and the first beers raised in a toast at the finish line were put down in Stevie's honor today. 70+ riders strong, the best in the world, all together on one run to remember the legacy and acknowledge the passing of one of the greatest riders of a generation, who was a true friend to the entire downhill community.

#LongLiveChainsaw



It s good to be back in Scotland this year. Especially when the weather is shaping up to be the best in recent memory.
It's good to be back in Scotland this year. Especially when the weather is shaping up to be the best in recent memory.

Downtown Fort William... Wetherspoons and the curry house to be visited on alternating evenings.
Downtown Fort William... Wetherspoons and the curry house to be visited on alternating evenings.

The Nevis Range home of the good stuff.
The Nevis Range, home of the good stuff.

When the sun is shining the scenery here is stunning.
When the sun is shining the scenery here is stunning.

Some accommodation really is fit for a king.
Some accommodations really are fit for a king.

Fort William town across the waters Loch Linnhe.
Fort William town across the waters of Loch Linnhe.

Highland refreshments in the making.
Highland refreshments in the making.

The further north you venture in the UK the more gnarly the farm animals become. Like this lamb for example.
The further north you venture in the UK, the more gnarly the farm animals become. Like this lamb for example.

It s a wild wild ride.
It's a wild, wild ride.

Eye on the Highlands. Gee Atherton heads out on track walk.
Eye on the Highlands. Gee Atherton heads out on track walk.

Greg Minnaar and Mark Wallace out of the gate infront of smaller patch of snow than we re used to seeing in recent years.
Greg Minnaar and Mark Wallace out of the gate in front of a smaller patch of snow than we're used to seeing in recent years.

Rocks rocks and more rocks make up the top of the track in Fort William.
Rocks, rocks, and more rocks make up the top of the track in Fort William.

Tahnee is a bog question mark this weekend after dislocating her elbow and spraining some ligaments last weekend.
Tahnee is a big question mark this weekend after dislocating her elbow and spraining some ligaments last weekend.

Wyn Masters is one of many riders sporting commemorative facial hair this weekend.
Wyn Masters is one of many riders sporting commemorative facial hair this weekend.

Boris is in a kilt this weekend and sporting some new ink.
Boris is in a kilt this weekend and sporting some new ink.

In the wet these rocks are no trouble but in the dry as dust gets pulled onto them they are going to be extremely slippery.
In the wet, these rocks are no trouble, but in the dry the dust gets pulled onto them, and they are going to be extremely slippery.

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

What s your line.
What's your line?

The high speed board walk. Same as it ever was.
The high-speed boardwalk. Same as it ever was.

Rachel Atherton takes a look at what will surely be a speedy track this weekend.
Rachel Atherton takes a look at what will surely be a speedy track this weekend.

Plenty of extra dirt is at the ready for track repairs.
Plenty of extra "dirt" is at the ready for track repairs.

Dave Trumpore shaved before his four week European stint but he improvised his Stevie stache well.
Dave Trumpore shaved before his four-week European stint, but he improvised his Stevie stache well.

GT have a large squad here at Fort William. Martin Maes has returned as well and will be running in A group practice.
GT have a large squad here at Fort William. Martin Maes has returned as well, and will be running in A group practice.

Specialized Gravity Republic going over some dry and dusty line choices.
Specialized Gravity Republic going over some dry and dusty line choices.

These rather basic corners are going to be extremely slippery this weekend as the gravel and dust begins to break up and deteriorate.
These rather basic corners are going to be extremely slippery this weekend as the gravel and dust begins to break up and deteriorate.

Laurie Greenland inspects the surface of the track made up of a substance not commonly found in Scotland.
Laurie Greenland inspects the surface of the track, made up of a substance not commonly found in Scotland.

Josh Bryceland drops out of the start gate sporting his new aero haircut.
Josh Bryceland drops out of the start gate sporting his new aero haircut.

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

Gwin and Suarez already starting to feel it high up on track.
Gwin and Suarez already starting to feel it high up on track.

Gee Atherton high on trackwalk life and soon looking to repeat his Fort Bill glory days of 2010 and 2013.
Gee Atherton high on track walk life and soon looking to repeat his Fort Bill glory days of 2010 and 2013.

Where marbles meet wood and wire at high velocity.
Where marbles meet wood and wire at high velocity.

It s been a while since Sam Hill dominated Aanoch Moor... World Champs 2007 to be precise but don t forget his second place in 2014.
It's been a while since Sam Hill dominated Aanoch Moor... World Champs 2007 to be precise, but don't forget his second place in 2014.

Danny Hart is one to watch at Fort William more than usual. A week s riding before and after the BDS round he won here and he s learned so much .
Danny Hart is one to watch at Fort William. A week's riding before and after the BDS round he won here and he's 'learned so much'.

The grey mile.
The grey mile.

WynTV interviews on the classic bedrock.
WynTV interviews on the classic bedrock.

Surprisingly Bryceland has never had much luck at the Fort with only the one podium over the years. Of course with his kind of skills anything is possible.
Surprisingly Bryceland has never had much luck at the Fort, with only the one podium over the years. Of course, with his kind of skills anything is possible.

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

Get off line even by an inch in this high-speed section and you will be in a world of hurt.
Get off line even by an inch in this high-speed section and you will be in a world of hurt.

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

After over a decade of hammering some sections just keep getting rougher and rougher.
After over a decade of hammering, some sections just keep getting rougher and rougher.

When was the last time you saw this in Fort William.
When was the last time you saw this in Fort William?

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

It s a long long way to the bottom on one of the longer tracks on the circuit.
It's a long, long way to the bottom on one of the longer tracks on the circuit.

Here we have the sole of a hiking shoe and tree stump painted yellow. Damned if we can remember which is which.
Here we have the sole of a hiking shoe and tree stump painted yellow. Damned if we can remember which is which.

Goodbye horrific axle-deep bog hello grassy bank into a brand new woods diversion.
Goodbye horrific axle-deep bog, hello grassy bank into a brand new woods' diversion.

We have a new woods section this year littered with stumps and filled with perfect loamy hero dirt.
We have a new woods section this year, littered with stumps and filled with perfect loamy hero dirt.

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

One of the most dubious additions to the track is a road gap with a 3 meter long take off over only a 4 meter gap.
One of the most dubious additions to the track is a 'road gap' with a 3-meter long take off over only a 4-meter gap.

The ones to watch list welcomes an in-form Fort William boss Greg Williamson.
The 'ones to watch' list welcomes an in-form Fort William boss, Greg Williamson.

Absolutely nothing to see in the gap of the Hazard hoofer.
Absolutely nothing to see in the gap of the Hazard hoofer.

Just above the woods the track resembles more of a scree field then a DH track in some spots.
Just above the woods, the track resembles more of a scree field than a DH track.

Matt Delorme drops in on a crash pad just below the road gap.
Matt Delorme drops in on a crash pad just below the road gap.

And executes a text book Sam Hill inside line through the next corner.
And executes a textbook Sam Hill inside line through the next corner.

The Mondraker team checks out the road gap just below the woods.
The Mondraker team checks out the road gap just below the woods.

The usual dose of airtime to the finish with some enlarged take-offs.
The usual dose of airtime to the finish with some enlarged take-offs.

The perfect stage taking shape.
The perfect stage taking shape.

Peaty s special Scottish D3.
Peaty's special Scottish D3.

Memorial plates adorned all the pros bikes for Stevie s lap.
Memorial plates adorned all the pros' bikes for Stevie's lap.

Rachel s bike cooling off after the first run of the world cup.
Rachel's bike cooling off after the first run of the World Cup.

Procores going in at the squad tent.
Procore going in at the #squad tent.

Mitch Ropelato is back racing World Cups
Mitch Ropelato is back racing World Cups!

SRAMhas special Steve Smith Memorial Boxxer Decals for this weekend.
SRAM has special Steve Smith Memorial Boxxer decals for this weekend.

Gabe Fox and Sam Hill go through Iron on placement.
Gabe Fox and Sam Hill go through iron-on placement.

Long live Chainsaw. You are sorely missed Stevie.
Long live Chainsaw. You are sorely missed Stevie.

Emotions were high here today on the memorial ride.
Emotions were high here today on the memorial ride.

Roots rocks and sublime soil. We are in for a treat at Fort William this year.
Roots, rocks, and sublime soil. We are in for a treat at Fort William this year.

Gabe Fox was more than stoked on this rendition of the Canadian flag.
Gabe Fox was more than stoked on this rendition of the Canadian flag.

Gabe Fox was busy today with the iron in Stevie Memorial patches.
Gabe Fox was busy today with the iron-on Stevie Memorial patches.

A tribute run for Steve Smith was organized for the end of track walk today with almost every top rider making their way down in one long and dusty train.
A tribute run for Steve Smith was organized for the end of track walk today, with almost every top rider making their way down in one long and dusty train.

Minnaar and Blenky sending it on Stevies memorial run.
Minnaar and Blenky sending it on Stevie's memorial run.

Brendog boosting the train on the memorial lap.
Brendog boosting the train on the memorial lap.

Sik Mik equipped with one beautiful tribute stache.
Sik Mik equipped with one beautiful tribute 'stache.

Beers and cheers for all in memory of Stevie.
Beers and cheers for all in memory of Stevie.

Red Bull made Finn Iles a replica of Steve Smith s helmet to pay tribute here in Fort William.
Red Bull made Finn Iles a replica of Steve Smith's helmet to pay tribute here in Fort William.

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

Track Walk - Fort William DH World Cup 2016 images

Dust or better yet Chainsaw fumes hang in the air at the bottom after a mega train in honor of Steve Smith.
Dust, or better yet Chainsaw fumes, hang in the air at the bottom after a mega train in honor of Steve Smith.

As if the drvie up to Fort William wasn t long enough you have to stop the car a bunch on the way up too.
As if the drive up to Fort William wasn't long enough, you have to stop the car a bunch on the way up too.

Stay tuned all weekend for coverage from Fort William.


MENTIONS: @mdelorme / @davetrump / @natedh9



Must Read This Week

97 Comments

  • + 331
 Fighting against each other on the track but always cheering together. It's rare to see that much of a community amongst the best athletes of a sport and that's what makes downhill so special. With that many standards on a bike, I'm glad we're all sharing the same standard in our minds : love.
  • + 17
 For sure! As sad as its been, it's great to see everyone come together.
  • + 11
 We need the video of that run!
  • + 3
 This really makes the Mountainbike Circuit so special, this down-to-earth mentality and sportsmanship...unlike Moto or other sports.
  • + 4
 @INS4N3: Not true man, not true...Moto had hearthbreaking "ceremonial" for Marco Simoncelli. Same as F1 for Jules Bianchi...Wink
  • + 69
 Mitch Ropelato back on track!
  • + 10
 Mitch is a beast!!!
  • + 10
 Is he on a Santa Cruz now?
  • + 16
 @hollowing2000: yeah he's on the sram/Troy Lee designs team with Luca shaw and walker shaw.
  • + 4
 @hollowing2000: They're all on different bikes tho, Walker is on a Trek
  • + 3
 But where is his 29er !?? Big Grin
  • + 2
 So is Gee and his damn sunbrella.
  • + 68
 It's still unbelievable that Stevie's gone.
  • + 50
 Sick Mick's mo looks a bit too good!! Looks like a Marlboro man ad..
  • + 32
 Looks like an '80's porn star.
  • + 36
 Dry and dusty Aaron Gwins going to be especially fast this weekend!
  • + 2
 ooops hit the little down arrow on accident. My bad, apologies bud!
  • + 22
 Dh wc are always a big event, but get the feeling this will be that little bit bigger.
  • + 22
 Fucking awesome - on every count.
  • + 16
 You else think that UCI should consider Vancouver Island as a new WC venue ?
  • + 2
 would be cool but would imply that mont ste-anne is gone, and i dont think it will happen.
  • + 18
 But Mont St.Anne is in Quebec and Vancouver is in Canada, what seems to be the trouble?
  • + 4
 The UCI is not going to consider anything unless an organizer/venue there submits a bid to hold a race.
  • + 1
 I remember there were 2 rounds in France each year, a couple of years ago (maybe Vouilloz or Barel "era" though...), am I wrong ? :$
  • + 1
 Checking UCI calendars from past years... In 2009 Canada hosted 2 rounds (MSA and Bromont), so it's possible ! Smile
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns: and since when quebec is a country ?
  • + 1
 @Matt-Pau: 2001 - Grouse Mountain & MSA.
  • + 12
 Any Chance to sell this t-shirt for the Foundation ? Would be a good thing if all riders in the world could buy it and donate in the same time !
  • + 1
 Yea I would def like a shirt as well... Great way to show your respect.
  • + 12
 Were emotional just looking at it, imagine what the riders must be feeling. BIG UPS to all the riders pit crews ( especially stevies) and all involved. #chainsaw
  • + 13
 Will there still be a live ghost run for Steve? Or is the memorial run what was decided upon?
  • + 9
 And I want some new boxxer stickers!
  • + 33
 Big Props to Loic Bruni for doing the train in a Wrist Brace!
  • + 7
 @kingfish666: I believe there's still going to be a ghost run. One of my friends is lucky enough to be racing their first world cup there this weekend and witnessed this memorial run, I asked her the exact same question and supposedly the ghost run is still going ahead for everyone to see. Will be great!
  • + 33
 @benjyboy: that's Finn with the wrist brace on haha. Notice the replica helmet of what would have been Steve's, and Loic broke his collar bone, rather than wrist. Not sure if Loic is there spectating this weekend or not, believe he's out til start of July in terms of riding. Wishing him a speedy recovery either way!
  • + 6
 @benjyboy: I think that's Finn.
  • + 11
 @motorcrosser12: The story goes that Finn is a clone of Loic haha
  • - 1
 Please don't tell me that Pinkbike comments matter Big Grin
  • + 2
 @benjyboy: thats finn china
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Only yours ya big fruit cake
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Apparently i didn't study hard enough lol!

However Mark my words "Joshua Button" FAST!!!!
  • + 7
 Has anyone heard whether the 'Chainsaw' T-shirts, Boxxer decals and iron on Stevie patch will be available to buy?
I'm sure there will be plenty of people like myself who'd like to purchase them in remembrance of Stevie.
Proceeds or part proceeds could go towards the foundation Stevie's mum wants to set up in honor of her boy Smile
  • + 12
 #LONGLIVECHAINSAW
  • + 7
 Amazing as always! I read that Stevie's mom will create a fund to develop a program for young riders, so given how awesome that red shirt is, I believe selling it could help a little. I'm sure LOTS of people would proudly wear it!
  • + 2
 I was hoping they'd be available, and having the proceeds go to a cause like that would be awesome. I came away from watching 'Seasons' the first time amazed at how dedicated she was in helping Stevie become a champion.
  • + 8
 Peaty's last Fort Bill and last World Cup race - all the best, Sir!
  • + 3
 Didn't know it was also his last WC !
  • + 3
 * at Fort William
  • + 4
 People think a wet climate makes for the best riders but riding that dusty, marbly shit scares me more than anything else. Gwin and Lopes are both great examples dusty bitches who ride fast as hell.
  • + 1
 both are gnarly!
  • + 8
 #longlivechainsaw!
  • + 4
 Escocia parece terriblemente seco, con los estanques por la mitad. El cambio climático no es una broma.
  • + 2
 not sure who it is, but on the picture from the front with the train coming down over the finish jump there is some serious boost action going on!
  • + 1
 White t shirt is Minnar, and behind him is Blenki. As one of the pictures says.
  • + 2
 the second to last picture speaks more than a thousand words (in my opinion). Very nice collection of pictures, the next 2 races are going to be emotional.
  • + 2
 Rachel Atherton has only won two Fort Bill world cups. It's probably the only track she hasn't dominated on!

(Don't get me wrong though, she's still red hot favourite.)
  • + 1
 I didn't know Seagrave was injured til i read this article - messed up my phantasy entry
  • + 3
 you take the high line, and I'll take the low line... and I'll be in Scotland before yeeeeee...... #longlivechainsaw
  • + 3
 So sad to see. You can really tell from the pictures Gabe Fox lost a good buddy. Stay strong Gabe! #longlivechainsaw
  • + 2
 To have been in that crowd for that toast to Stevie must have been something special. Hope they put those shirts and patches up for sale!
  • + 4
 the quads of the Bulldog are ridiculous (no homo)
  • + 4
 Hill looks serious
  • + 5
 He's good in the slippery wet precisely because he rides a lot of slippery, dusty, pea gravel back home so i reckon he's gonna be quick here if it stays this dry... (+ EWS fitness proven obviously!)
  • + 1
 ...and fit.
  • + 1
 @Unscathed: excellent point
  • + 3
 I'm crying
  • + 2
 #longlivechainsaw
  • + 1
 Did the ladies get to do a memorial run too? Did they come down after the men? I hope they get to honour stevie too!
  • + 1
 They were in the memorial train,Rach,Tracy and Tahnee for sure.
  • + 2
 @rideonjon: ahh cool thanks mate didnt realize. Ta
  • + 2
 I wonder if Gwin did the memorial ride
  • + 4
 He did.
  • + 1
 @rideonjon: awesome! I would have cried being a part of that
  • + 1
 @rideonjon: He Gram'd it
  • + 1
 @WayneParsons: Yah me to.
  • + 2
 where can we get those shirts and 4 steevie Patch
  • + 0
 if they didnt brush all the loose stuff at the top of the track sam would have killed it
  • + 1
 Why is the tribute number plate 6? Isn't Stevie ranked 12?
  • + 1
 I swear as a Scotsman my heart beats best in Fort William.
  • + 1
 I hope someone posts videos of that train. It'd be epic.
  • + 1
 Please please please a bike check of all the rigs would be mad!
  • + 1
 where is the official video of the DH train for Steve ????
  • + 1
 That shows the biking community at it´s best.
  • - 2
 If his event wasn't so far from the last, we might not of had to have a memorial run.
Minnarr didn't get the Stevie Tshirt memo?

#longlivechainsaw
  • + 11
 He is wearing a Steve shirt. Just not red
  • + 10
 minnar had a custom stevie shirt on.
  • + 3
 Oh cool, thanks! I'd love to get a few of the T's.... Currently only supporting the tribute Moustache
  • + 1
 Where was Gwin?
  • - 1
 That Seagrave's a bog question mark; LOLsies.

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