Qualifying Photo Epic: No Calm Before a Storm - Fort William DH World Cup 2019

Jun 1, 2019
by Dave Trumpore  



Photo Epic presented by Five Ten

Another morning of rain left things pretty wet and wild up on track once again for training, but luckily things let up in time for qualifying runs in the afternoon. Riders finally got a chance to shed their waterproof jackets and extra base layers just in time to race the clock for those all-important qualifying spots and the series points that come with them.

In the Elite Men, Loris Vergier would set the fastest time down the mountain, his time would look untouchable for most of qualifying and only last years winner Amaury Pierron would get within four seconds of his time. Troy Brosnan would cross the line third, only 4.596 seconds off the pace. Reece Wilson would get fourth after putting down a great run, he will look to repeat his breakout performance from last year. Wet weather specialist Danny Hart took the final podium spot just over five seconds behind Vergier. After not qualifying at the first round, Greg Minnaar secured himself a top ten position here in Fort William, a mountain that has treated him very well over the years. On the other side of the coin would be the likes of Aaron Gwin who would nurse his injured ankle down outside the top 20, and Loic Bruni who crashed in a big way during his qualifier. Additionally, Dean Lucas, Charlie Harrison and Laurie Greenland will be thankful they are protected as each had various difficulties during their runs and otherwise would not have qualified.

With current series leader Tahnee Seagrave out with an injury sustained in practice, it was all to play for in the Elite Women's qualifying. Tracey Hannah would make the most of this opportunity and would lead the women by four seconds over Marine Cabirou who put down a great time. Rachel Atherton was up at split one but lost a massive amount by split two, indicating she had some troubles on track during her run. She would slowly make her way down the rest of the course for third but it's safe to say she will have a whole lot more to give during tomorrows final. Nina Hoffmann is having a great season so far and she would get another great result just over 10 seconds back from Hannah, while Kate Weatherly would complete the Elite Women's podium 17.125 seconds off the pace in 5th

In the Juniors, it was no surprise to see Thibaut Daprela and Vali Holl top the standings once again. The Junior Men's field would see some great competition with the top 10 within eight seconds of each other and some fresh faces near the front end of the finish order. In the Junior Women, Mille Johnset would back up her fast timed training result to slide in 15 seconds behind Vali Holl.

By the close of the day things had dried out considerably, and if the rains hold off tomorrows final will go off in prime conditions. However it's a World Cup weekend in Fort William and of course, that means the forecast is calling for more storms, perfectly timed to arrive around the same time that the racing is scheduled to get underway.

Storms were in and out all day but held off for the qualifying runs. Unfortunately it doesn t look like we will be so lucky for tomorrows final.
Storms were in and out all day but held off for the qualifying runs. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we will be so lucky for tomorrows final.

Big views of a big track in the Scottish Highlands.
Big views of a big track in the Scottish Highlands.

Intermittent rain kept things a bit slick during the morning training sessions.
Intermittent rain kept things a bit slick during the morning training sessions.

Loic Bruni and Finn Iles keep the mood light before getting down to more serious business on track.
Loic Bruni and Finn Iles keep the mood light before getting down to more serious business on track.

Mick Hannah going through final bike prep with his mechanic before heading out for qualifying.
Mick Hannah going through final bike prep with his mechanic before heading out for qualifying.

Blue Steel from Dakotah Norton before his run
Blue Steel from Dakotah Norton before his run

The rocks are coming loose in some of the more saturated sections of track. More than a few riders hit the deck after finding one of these grenades hiding in a normally clean racing line.
The rocks are coming loose in some of the more saturated sections of track. More than a few riders hit the deck after finding one of these grenades hiding in a normally clean racing line.

Finn Iles round out the hard way the some new holes had formed in the upper rock garden during one of his training runs.
Finn Iles found out the hard way that some new holes had formed in the upper rock garden during one of his training runs.

Gee Atherton falls foul of the pinball section boulders on the first lap of the day.
Gee Atherton falls foul of the pinball section boulders on the first lap of the day.

The goggles saved his life... pretty much.
The goggles saved his life... pretty much.

Bruce Klein missed the finals by only one second this afternoon.
Bruce Klein missed the finals by only one second this afternoon.

Thibaut Daprela with once again out front in the junior race.
Thibaut Daprela was once again out front in the junior race.

Tracey Hannah took the top spot once again in the women s race.
Tracey Hannah took the top spot in the women's race.

Loris Vergier has been looking comfortable on track and delivered some hardcore evidence to support that today.
Loris Vergier has been looking comfortable on track and delivered some hardcore evidence to support that.

Troy Brosnan floated across the roots and rocks to third today.
Troy Brosnan floated across the roots and rocks to third.

Greg Minnaar inside the top 10. He knows this track very well and could very well be a podium guest tomorrow.
Greg Minnaar inside the top 10. He knows this track very well and could very well be a podium guest.

Nina Hoffmann is still on the hunt for her first podium she s in a strong position heading in to tomorrow.
Nina Hoffmann is still on the hunt for her first podium, she's in a strong position heading into tomorrow.

Melanie Chappaz taking the final qualifying spot in 15th.
Melanie Chappaz taking the final qualifying spot in 15th.

Local ripper Mikayla Parton would unfortunately miss the cut for the finals by one position and just 0.70 seconds.
Local ripper Mikayla Parton would, unfortunately, miss the cut for the finals by one position and just 0.70 seconds.

13th for Dakotah Norton
13th for Dakotah Norton

Marine Cabirou will hope to go one position better tomorrow afternoon.
Marine Cabirou will hope to go one position better tomorrow afternoon.

Sam Dale was on a hell of a run sitting in 10th after the second split before ending up on the deck. It looks like he s picked up an injury too we hope it s nothing too serious and he ll be back ripping soon.
Sam Dale was on a hell of a run sitting in 10th after the second split before ending up on the deck. It looks like he's picked up an injury too, we hope it's nothing too serious and he'll be back ripping soon.

Third for the youngest member of the Atherton racing clan today - Millie Johnset.
Third for the youngest member of the Atherton racing clan - Millie Johnset.

Sandra Rubesam speeds above some rather dreich Scottish bog.
Sandra Rubesam speeds above some rather 'dreich' Scottish bog.

Blenki loves the Bill... 12th today.
Blenki loves the Bill... 12th.

2nd on the day for Amaury Pierron on the track that saw him claim his first World Cup win just one year ago.
2nd on the day for Amaury Pierron on the track that saw him claim his first World Cup win just one year ago.

Eleonora Farina missed the cut during her qualifying run but luckily she is protected for tomorrow s final.
Eleonora Farina missed the cut during her qualifying run, but luckily she is protected for tomorrow's final.

Brook Macdonald always goes well here and today was no different the Bulldog is a strong bet for the podium.
Brook Macdonald always goes well here and today was no different, the Bulldog is a strong bet for the podium.

Second place Junior qualifier Luke Meier-Smith came down later and surprised a few people.
Second place Junior qualifier, Luke Meier-Smith, came down later and surprised a few people.

Danny Hart coming in hot for a convincing 5th place out on the bedrock this afternoon.
Danny Hart coming in hot for a convincing 5th place out on the bedrock this afternoon.

Valie Holl consistent destroyer of the junior women s field.
Vali Holl; consistent destroyer of the junior women's field.

Kade Edwards took a massive over-the-bars first thing this morning at exactly the point Tahnee Seagrave crashed yesterday.
Kade Edwards took a massive over-the-bars first thing this morning at exactly the point Tahnee Seagrave crashed yesterday.

Mariana Salazar beginning the rattle down the avalanche section of the track.
Mariana Salazar beginning the rattle down the avalanche section of the track.

Matt Simmonds qualified strongly in 16th aboard that wild Cannondale prototype.
Matt Simmonds qualified strongly in 16th aboard that wild Cannondale prototype.

Emile Siegenthaler looks to be getting ever closer to being back to her best. She slotted into 6th today and is within touching distance of the podium.
Emile Siegenthaler looks to be getting ever closer to being back to her best. She slotted into 6th today and is within touching distance of the podium.

Eddie the Animal Masters took eighth in qualies.
Eddie the Animal Masters took eighth in qualies.

The last place inside the top 10 belongs to Bernard Kerr.
The last place inside the top 10 belongs to Bernard Kerr.

Could Greg Minnaar take yet another Fort Bill win tomorrow
Could Greg Minnaar take yet another Fort Bill win tomorrow?

Laurie Greenland had a rough qualifying run but is protected for the finals.
Laurie Greenland had a rough qualifying run but is protected for the finals.

Rachel Atherton had a wild ride on her qualifying run and will be hungry to clean it all up for tomorrow.
Rachel Atherton had a wild ride on her qualifying run and will be hungry to clean it all up for tomorrow.

Luca Shaw emerging from the shadows and into 15th.
Luca Shaw emerging from the shadows and into 15th.

Loris Vergier lead out the one two punch of French riders at the top of the qualifying results.
Loris Vergier lead out the one-two punch of French riders at the top of the qualifying results.

If you are wondering how Loic s run went his saddle is all you need to see.
If you are wondering how Loic's run went, his saddle is all you need to see.

Kade Edwards good for 59th in qualies after taking one to the hands near the bottom.
Kade Edwards good for 59th in qualies after taking one to the hands near the bottom.

Rough day for Charlie Harrison who flatted early on. Charlie is protected and will race tomorrow.
Rough day for Charlie Harrison who flatted early on. Charlie is protected and will race tomorrow.

Atherton obliges the fans at close of play.
Atherton obliges the fans at close of play.

Canyon s Nigel Reeve cleaning the debris out of Mark Wallace s pads. It s a high speed course and those heat up fast.
Canyon's Nigel Reeve cleaning the debris out of Mark Wallace's pads. It's a high-speed course and those heat up fast.

Fresh set of wheels ready for the rain and rocks.
Fresh wheels ready for the rain and rocks of tomorrow's final.

A confident Tracey Hannah is now two for two this season for qualifying run wins.
A confident Tracey Hannah is now two for two this season for qualifying run wins.

It looks like Amaury Pierron is ready to sink his teeth into the 2019 season after a quiet start in Maribor.
It looks like Amaury Pierron is ready to sink his teeth into the 2019 season after a quiet start in Maribor.

Whilst the weather wasn t exactly great today at least we could see the town of Fort William in the distance.
Whilst the weather wasn't exactly great today at least we could see the town of Fort William in the distance. Things may not be so pleasant for tomorrow's race though.



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



Regions in Article
Fort William


42 Comments

  • 104 4
 These photos are seriously incredible. I don't know of any other sport that has such amazing photographers. Gee's and Kade's crash photos capture the carnage perfectly, well done!
  • 15 0
 This is an excellent point that I hadn’t had a revelation about til you said it. We really do have singularly talented folks snapping pics in this sport and culture.
  • 6 5
 F1.
  • 4 0
 I agree on the incredible-ness of the pics. Stunning. Each one very well done. As a just-starting-out-super-amateur photographer, I can now appreciate the quality of the pics above much more. Kudos to those that took them Nice work.
  • 3 9
flag thesharkman (Jun 1, 2019 at 19:58) (Below Threshold)
 @DirtbagMatt: you're saying they only have one single talent? That's an interesting compliment.
  • 3 0
 yeah...not just the carnage...the Sandra Rubesam reflection in the bog...and the hidden nun in habit in Gees rear wheel...
  • 7 0
 Those looks from Dakotah, Loris, and Amaury put Zoolander to shame. As long as the three of them don’t get into a gasoline fight accident, they should be ready for tomorrow.
  • 1 0
 I agree
  • 1 0
 Phone cameras + instagram filters are serious business these days !
  • 1 0
 Check out Gee's instagram, that's one full on crash
  • 2 0
 That photo of Luca Shaw coming out of the forest is primal AF!
  • 1 0
 @es7ebanlv: i love F1 but the photos are dull by comparison to DH photos.. don't you think? (less variables)
  • 30 2
 Good stuff! Love the photo epics! Keep up the excellent work
  • 8 0
 That pinned photo of Pierron! Holy smokes!
  • 6 2
 There’s Gona be carnage! Cow bells ready sirens ready chainsaws ready jacks already pre poured! And sorry to all my neighbours I’ll apologise now!!
  • 4 1
 This is the sort of quality photography and captured atmosphere that has been missing so far from the XC coverage...but, by Huey, PB has a lot to be proud about in its DH coverage.
  • 7 0
 Minnaar!
  • 5 0
 Pierron lookin French-fast pinned. Get em!
  • 6 0
 Hope Loic is ok...
  • 3 0
 Thumbs up for @pinkbike photographers crew, you guys just bring it to a whole new level (y)
Something tells me tomorrow will be epic. Can't wait for it.
  • 4 0
 So, I'm pretty new to this. Can anyone tell me; how can riders be "protected"?
  • 5 0
 Normally, if you don't have a qualifying time that puts you in the top 60 (?) riders, you don't get to race in the finals on Sunday. However, if you're protected, you get a starting spot on Sunday regardless of your qualifying time. How does one become protected? Be in the top 10 in the current standings, or have finished in the top 10 in the previous year. (The details of this may have changed, but you get the idea.)
  • 4 0
 @MtbSince84: Thanks, interesting system!
  • 4 1
 They put on their pads and helmet and say a prayer to the big guy upstairs.. or to the guy who provides virgins. Either way, they are then protected.
  • 1 0
 Top 20 (i think? might be top 10) overall ranked riders are "protected" so no matter where they finish in a Qualifying run, they get to race in the Final. So they are "protected" from mechanical, crash, off pace run, etc.
  • 5 1
 amazing pics! show and give something video does not!
  • 5 2
 Is Kade ok ? It looks like a nasty fall
  • 9 9
 "Local ripper Mikayla Parton would, unfortunately, miss the cut for the finals by one position and just 0.70 seconds."

Missed it by ONE SPOT!
  • 2 0
 hot fucking diggity. That shot of Luca Shaw is unreal.
  • 2 0
 Great snaps! Magazine worthy, every one of them!
  • 1 0
 Love the stills, they make you reflect..
  • 2 1
 Sam Dale was my dark horse for the top 10. Heal up soon!
  • 2 0
 AMAZING PHOTOS!
  • 1 0
 Damn that track looks unforgiving. Awesome photos.
  • 1 0
 Blue Steel!
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