Practice: Some Scottish Weather - Fort William DH World Cup 2019

May 31, 2019
by Dave Trumpore  




After dodging a bullet the past three years at Fort William with dry mostly dry and sunny weather, that string of good luck just ran out. With near constant rain falling on Thursday during Track Walk, overnight Thursday night and all day on Friday, the track in Fort William has probably received a year's worth of moisture in a brief 48 hour period. There is standing water on the track where we have never seen it in previous years, and many of the upper corners have rivers running across them. In fact, the track is pretty much one big river top to bottom right now. Years of erosion on most of the track actually played in the riders' favor when the monsoon rains hit, as the track is almost completely void of any dirt on its upper slopes and the running water keeps the rocks clean and fairly grippy. The only really exceptional sloppiness being found is in the lower woods where the mud is making a proper mess of things. And if the rain ever does let up it will get even worse below the tree line. As with any wet race, the biggest challenge is with vision as riders try to clear mud with tear off or roll off systems, as well as avoid fogging later in the run as the humidity sets in. Grip on most of the track in Fort William is not an issue, and many sections ride better a bit damp anyway.

Unfortunately, the biggest news of the day is not good news after the women's World Cup leader, Tahnee Seagrave, went down hard and will be out of the running for a few weeks with a shoulder injury. Preliminary reports point to a dislocation at the very least, but she will have further scans over the next two days to access the extent of the damage. And with Myriam Nicole also out with injury, the women's field is now down two of its best racers for the foreseeable future.

As practice went on and the weather began to worsen, many riders began to dial it back a few notches and it was hard to tell who was really standing out from the crowd. Usually, standing trackside, you can get a feel for who is on form, but right now, it seems many are keeping their cards close to their chest. Sure, you could look at Timed Training, but with many riders stopping to check out lines, or rolling through sections slowly, we're not really going to get an accurate snapshot of who is where.

Tomorrow's qualifying runs will be a different story, and we are going to have to wait until then to see who has the pace on this wet and wild Fort William track.


It was a straight up pond up the track.
It was a straight up pond up the track.

Welcome to one of the wettest Fort William rounds ever.
Welcome to one of the wettest Fort William rounds ever.

All kids of rain fog and Scottish weather blew in and out of Fort William today.
All kinds of rain, fog, and Scottish weather blew in and out of Fort William today.

Tahnee pumped on her new zebra themed FOX kit. Though probably less pumped about thrashing in about in the rain and mud.
Tahnee pumped on her new zebra themed FOX kit. Though probably less pumped about thrashing in about in the rain and mud.

The man they are all chasing. Loic Bruni warming up for proceedings this morning.
The man they are all chasing. Loic Bruni warming up for proceedings this morning.

Dean Lucas making some last minute modifications to make his day on the hill that little bit more comfortable.
Dean Lucas making some last minute modifications to make his day on the hill a little bit more comfortable.

After a crash took him out of the running uni Maribor Loris Vergier is looking for redemption here in Fort William.
After a crash took him out of the running in Maribor, Loris Vergier is looking for redemption here in Fort William.

Laurie Greenland never not stoked even though a snorkel would have gone well with the goggles this afternoon.
Laurie Greenland; never not stoked, even though a snorkel would have gone well with the goggles this afternoon.

Sunny Fort William where there plenty of high speed action through the fog and just out of sight
Sunny Fort William, where there is plenty of high-speed action through the fog and just out of sight

There wasn t much to see out the gondola window today but Greg Minnaar isn t exactly a stranger to this place... Fort William is Greg Minnaar s track.
There wasn't much to see out the gondola window today, but Greg Minnaar isn't exactly a stranger to this place... Fort William is Greg Minnaar's track.

Greg Williamson is hungry to right the wrongs of last year s race run which started full of hope and ended in heartbreak.
Greg Williamson is hungry to right the wrongs of last year's race run which started full of hope and ended in heartbreak.

Danny the mudman Hart in the gate and ready to drop into the rain.
Danny 'the Mudman' Hart in the gate and ready to drop into the rain.

No you the man Rachel Atherton.
Rachel Atherton in the start hut.

The strip of granite looks more like a river this year.
The strip of granite looks more like a river this year.

Marine Cabirou on the charge and planning to keep the throttle wide open until Sunday.
Marine Cabirou on the charge and planning to keep the throttle wide open until Sunday.

Mike Jones styling out of the gate.
Mike Jones styling out of the gate.

Mariana Salazar up top just before the skies opened up.
Mariana Salazar up top just before the skies opened up.

Eleonora Farina out of the fog.
Eleonora Farina out of the fog.

Connor Fearon slice and dices through the wet rock up top.
Connor Fearon slices and dices through the wet rock up top.

Wyn Master s charging the foggy backdrop.
Wyn Master's charging the foggy backdrop.

Troy Brosnan holding the line into the switch backs high up on the moor.
Troy Brosnan holding the line into the switchbacks high up on the moor.

Gee Atherton loves a wet one and he s done it all before here in the Highlands.
Gee Atherton loves a wet one and he's done it all before here in the Highlands.

Neko Mullaly was one of the last out on track today on the hunt for a top TT in the rain but he blew out a turn halfway and turned into a line scoping mission.
Neko Mullaly was one of the last out on track today on the hunt for a top TT in the rain, but he blew out a turn halfway down and turned it into a line scoping mission.

Laurie Greenland would love nothing more than to crack the Bill infront of the UK crowds.
Laurie Greenland would love nothing more than to crack the Bill in front of the UK crowds.

Unfortunately it was a short day for Tahnee Seagrave on the hill she had a big crash and injured her shoulder. All we can do is wish her a speed recovery whilst we eagerly await news on the severity of the injury.
Unfortunately, it was a short day for Tahnee Seagrave on the hill. She had a big crash and injured her shoulder. All we can do is wish her a speed recovery whilst we eagerly await news on the severity of the injury.

Unfortunately a massive crash early in the day claimed World Cup leader Tahnee Seagrave. She was in a serious amount of pain and the full extent of the injuries is still unknown.
Tahnee Seagrave was in a serious amount of pain and the full extent of the injuries is still unknown.

Tahnee Seagrave got lifted off course after a bad crash early in practice.
Tahnee Seagrave getting lifted off course.

Rachel Atherton smashing rocks and raindrops in Fort William.
Rachel Atherton smashing rocks and raindrops in Fort William.

Mick Hannah splashes through one of the many puddles that have developed down this river of a track.
Mick Hannah splashes through one of the many puddles that have developed down this river of a track.

Aaron Gwin only took a few runs today. Possibly still feeling the effects of his ankle injury and waiting to see what happens as the weather improves slightly the next few days.
Aaron Gwin only took a few runs today. Possibly still feeling the effects of his ankle injury and waiting to see what happens as the weather improves slightly the next few days.

Brook Macdonald having a moment and almost going of tracks as he bounces out of the hole that claimed Tahnee Seagrave.
Brook Macdonald having a moment and almost going of tracks as he bounces out of the hole that claimed Tahnee Seagrave.

Blenki always looks good through the big rock at Fort William.
Blenki always looks good through the big rock at Fort William.

Luca Shaw is back after injury had him side lined in Maribor.
Luca Shaw is back after injury had him sidelined in Maribor.

There can only be one Kade Edwards. Never change.
There can only be one Kade Edwards. Never change.

Adam Brayton looked comfortable in the wet he ll look to lay down another heater like he did a few years ago en-route to his first podium.
Adam Brayton looked comfortable in the wet. He'll look to lay down another heater as he did a few years ago en route to his first podium.

Finn Iles about to rescue one hell of a slide on his way to the fastest time training run.
Finn Iles about to rescue one hell of a slide on his way to the fastest Timed Training run.

Marine Cabirou is riding with confidence and so she should her first win looks to be beckoning.
Marine Cabirou is riding with confidence and so she should, her first win looks to be beckoning.

The riders weren t only getting wet from above.
The riders weren't only getting wet from above.

Amaury Pierron being a gentleman and helping to clear some standing water off the middle part of the track.
Amaury Pierron being a gentleman and helping to clear some standing water off the middle part of the track.

The number 1 plate of Loic Bruni though the rocks.
The number 1 plate of Loic Bruni though the rocks.

Tracey Hannah has been riding aggressively and doesn t seem apt all bothered by all the rain.
Tracey Hannah has been riding aggressively and doesn't seem at all bothered by all the rain.

A break in the rain Kinda. No respite from the cruel wind though.
A break in the rain? Kinda. No respite from the cruel wind though.

Sadly Brendan is out of the game with a shoulder he injured filming. Healing vibes to the dawg.
Sadly Brendan is out of the game with a shoulder he injured filming. Healing vibes to the 'dawg.

Bernard Kerr was going hard today taking 6th in the TT.
Bernard Kerr was going hard today, taking 6th in the TT.

The rain was relentless all day.
The rain was relentless all day.

Howling winds from 9 to 5 today.
Howling winds from 9 to 5 today.

Delightful conditions on track.
Delightful conditions on track.

Remi Thirion cracking on unfazed by the Scottish deluge.
Remi Thirion cracking on unfazed by the Scottish deluge.

Aaron Gwin with Neko Mulally in tow.
Aaron Gwin with Neko Mulally in tow.

Monika Hrastnik getting stuck into her first practice run down the lengthy Aonach M r track.
Monika Hrastnik getting stuck into her first practice run down the lengthy Aonach Mòr track.

Charlie Harrison in the green room. This kid is fast real fast.
Charlie Harrison in the green room. This kid is fast, real fast.

No amount of rain could dampen Kaos Seagrave s style.
No amount of rain could dampen Kaos Seagrave's style.

Danny Hart finding room in the throttle. He s been hungry for a top spot and will be one to watch come Sunday.
Danny Hart finding room in the throttle. He's been hungry for a top spot and will be one to watch come Sunday.

Danny Hart finding grip on the wet rocks
Danny Hart finding grip on the wet rocks

It doesn t look like Matt Walker s big crash a few weeks ago at the British National slowed him down much.
It doesn't look like Matt Walker's big crash a few weeks ago at the British National slowed him down much.

When you hit a big hole at high speed and go over the bar...
When you hit a big hole at high speed and go over the bar...

Sometimes it claims your shoe.
Sometimes it claims your shoe.

Lets hope things dry out a bit before Sunday.
Let's hope things dry out a bit before Sunday.

Drainage trenches were feverishly made when the skies opened up this morning and water came rushing into the pits.
Drainage trenches feverishly being made after practice while the rain continued to pour down. Hopefully, the pits don't wash away overnight tonight.

MacDonald hits the showers. Highlands style.
Macdonald hits the showers. Highlands style.

Close of play. Time to get dry. Somehow.
Close of play. Time to get dry. Somehow.



61 Comments

  • + 87
 Laundry day at the Syndicate forces Loris to sneak in and steal Tahnee's trousers
  • + 33
 Sounds like the start of a porno
  • - 12
flag mtnrush666 (May 31, 2019 at 18:27) (Below Threshold)
 Why not... there were a high number of guys commenting about buying a Juliana bike in the Pinkbike Staff Rides article....perhaps BLT riders are an emerging segment of the sport.
  • + 2
 @mtnrush666: your a tool
  • + 21
 @mtnrush666: mmmmm. Bacon lettuce tomato riders.
  • - 6
flag dtm1 (May 31, 2019 at 20:34) (Below Threshold)
 @mkotowski1: lmao and you’re an overly-sensitive twat rocket
  • + 9
 I'll take those flannel zebra jammies, secondhand and rock that motherfucker
  • - 2
 @dtm1: I am stealing TwatRocket. @BrianPark expect this to make it into an article!
  • - 2
 @Snugs: watch where you squirt your mayonaise.
  • - 1
 @Boardlife69: ah yes, the dreaded egg allergy. Epipen's at the ready!
  • + 1
 Zebra has always looked like shit on the german ski team and will continue to look like shit in DH MTB.
  • - 1
 @ClintTrahan: you are like a middle schooler
  • + 2
 @mkotowski1: could be, but I know the difference between your and you're.

Besos.
  • + 1
 @ClintTrahan: bravo, you have basic English skills!
  • + 50
 Some photo of the year contenders right there. Great work in those conditions.
  • + 1
 agreed.
  • + 29
 Fucking Epic work gents - it looks miserably awesome to get this much content in those conditions. Kudos.
  • + 1
 Seriously. PB always delivers on the photo epics!
  • + 15
 POY contenders everywhere. My vote goes to the one with Kade Edwards. Oh, and hope that all the injured riders heal up soon.
  • + 6
 Hart's b/w is my favourite
  • + 17
 Love that picture of Finn Iles. Proper Scottish roost.
  • + 12
 I got wet by just looking at those pictures!
  • + 1
 To be fair it’s not summer for a few weeks.
  • + 10
 Long story short with not too much said but i can fell the day on my skin. Good job pinkbike (and the tough photographers)
  • + 6
 Fantastic photography, captures the essence of the day. That of photo of number 20 going OTB ohh my, capture beautifully the moment when you go oh F&!@ this is going to hurt! Kate Edwards and Kaos photos full of style, but Finn lies is the day it self. Great job pink bike, thank you so much !!!
  • + 4
 Question : why don't they use a wee bit more protection, at least for practice !? Does it restrict the movements too much !?

I believe it's only a matter of time before more plastic becomes mandatory, specially if all them top-guns keep being taken out of contention due to crashes;

Also, great pictures - what phone does he have !?
  • + 1
 Forcing pro riders to wear extra gear through added regulations? And for why? Sounds like a shitty future that I want no part in.
  • + 3
 You think a piece of plastic is gonna do much when diving into a rock at 40kph?
  • + 3
 As far as collar bones are concerned I don't know if there's any armour that protects them well enough to prevent breakages.
  • + 0
 Decades ago, many pro DH racers used to wear upper body protection (shoulder, chest and spine) as well as elbow pads. I'm not sure when it became un-cool to wear this stuff but, I just don't get it. Why not?
  • + 1
 @dingus: There is, it just isn't released into the bike world yet.
  • + 5
 To be fair we have had great weather up here recently. We knew we would pay for it. Unfortunately we are paying for it this weekend. Oh well...... beer tent it is then ????
  • + 2
 Its amazing how little riders in the B Practice get no exposure, no interviews or cameras on them This includes the likes of Minnaar and Shaw this year, might inspire some folk to fight for the riders who arent in the top 60, but often ride for the love of riding. Still holding thumbs for Minnaar, survive qualifying then aim at the podium, no press pressure thats for sure
  • + 2
 Big props to all photogs that went all out to get a greats photos for us and for free. Great job you guys, you’re a bad ass.
  • + 2
 which rider/s are running a coil fork? Because Jordi is most definitely putting a coil spring in some "special" person's fork!
  • + 2
 Condolences to Tahnee, but that evac setup looks rad--clever Brits. What does Finn have taped to his downtube? Looks like a flotation device.
  • + 1
 PB PJ's have really stepped it up it a notch. Epic images and special thanks to all of you for sharing 'photo details' I noticed Sterling Lorence never talks about it?
  • + 4
 Amazing shots!!
  • + 2
 All that rain made these pics amazing. Props to the photographers for getting the shots, despite it all.
  • + 3
 Tahnee has a shoulder separation not dislocation..
  • + 2
 Nobody seems to know the (big) difference between these.
  • + 0
 Not to be a PB troll but the dude's last name is Masters. Not Master's. why do people think 's means plural in the first place
  • - 9
flag CaliCol (May 31, 2019 at 18:09) (Below Threshold)
 We’re not all as smart as you I suppose but maybe a lot of us don’t really give a crap about a typo or someone’s failing of the English language as much as you do.
  • - 2
 Several caption seem to have singular/plural issue. It like English is his 5th languages or somethings
  • + 2
 according to Gwinstagram, Aaron reinjured his ankle....
  • + 2
 Gwinstagram haha!
  • + 2
 Shoe off. No school on Monday
  • + 2
 Where is Gwinn?

Oh yeah, Bruni stole his bike so he can't race.
  • + 0
 Those photos and captions make it seem as if that bit of rain is some natural disaster of epic proportions.
  • + 1
 Thats an unreal photo set. So many bangers!
  • + 1
 Just WOW!!! Photos are all more beautiful than each other! Two thumbs up
  • + 1
 oh god this is about to be a SIIIIICK race!
  • + 1
 Who is more likely go top 10...Gwin or Minaar?
  • + 2
 Och! Aye!
  • + 1
 There’s some really beautiful photographs in this article.
  • + 1
 I can feel the the rain in fort bill great shots PB
  • + 1
 You know it’s gotta be really wet for Blenki to wear gloves
  • + 1
 Great images!!
  • - 1
 Any 4x practice etc...?

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