5 Things We Learned at the Fort William DH World Cup 2019

Jun 3, 2019 at 9:56
by Ed Spratt  
Marine Cabirou trucking on towards her second podium of the season.

The second round of the World Cup in Fort William provided some intense racing with plenty of riders leaving the Scottish Highlands with a few bruises, here are five things we noticed from the sidelines:

1. The gap is closing in the junior Women's field

Since she began racing World Cups in Losinj last year, Vali Holl has dominated the Junior Women's field winning every race and seeding until Fort William. After a crash in her race run, Holl would forfeit her 9 win streak and American Anna Newkirk took full advantage.

Looking at the times since both Holl and Newkirk began racing last year, it looks like this was on the cards sooner or later though. At both riders' first World Cup race in Croatia Anna Newkirk would cross the line third, 13% off the pace of Holl, from there the time gaps have only got closer, dropping to about 5% by the end of last year. In Maribor this year, Newkirk got even closer and narrowed the gap to 4.6%. Yes, Vali's crash may have helped Anna finally take the top spot and the Austrian prodigy will undoubtedly still be the favourite at every round, but it seems she's going to have to be looking over her shoulder a bit more for the rest of the year.
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.



2. Pierron's Run was Totally Dominant.


After being disappointed with his performance in Maribor, Pierron came into Fort William determined to show his three win streak in 2018 was no fluke. His second place qualifier may not have set the world alight but his race run certainly did. Pierron was fastest through four of the five splits and had a huge winning margin of more than 3.5 seconds, the largest in four years and the biggest at Fort William since Chris Kovarik's legendary run in 2002.

Since Fort William last year, only Martin Maes has broken the French grip on the top step on the World Cup podium and it's not just the Elite men that are dominating. Thibault Daprela has had a powerful control on the Junior series, winning 7 of the 10 races he has competed in. Marine Cabirou is now also a podium regular and once Myriam Nicole is back from injury there will be two fast French women on the heels of Tracey Hannah, Tahnee Seagrave and Rachel Atherton too.


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.




3. Aaron Gwin races in ear plugs


Both Cathro and Wyn got an interesting tidbit of information out of Aaron Gwin, he races in ear plugs at certain World Cup rounds. This is actually not new for mountain bikers and it used to be a piece of essential equipment for racers in the Mammoth Mountain Kamikazee race back in the day. The idea is simple, the more you deprive your senses, the more you can focus on the track and the job at hand. The downside, as Gwin may have found out, is that you're less likely to notice something like a puncture too, which he suggested may have led to his explosive yard sale in sector 1.


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.




4. Fort William is Still A Track to be Feared.


Although the World Cup has been returning every year to Fort William since 2002, there is always something that catches the riders out. In the previous 2 years it has been the woods section in the middle of the track, but for this year the top section, in combination with some torrid conditions, was the toughest test for riders. The exposed rock gardens and gravel berms are always resurfaced by the Nevis Range trail team each year to try and fill in some of the larger holes but with a few small changes and the washout that was the weather this weekend, it became a real challenge for the worlds best.


Some of the bigger holes have been patched up but it is by no means a smooth ride in Fort William
Tahnee Seagrave, Gee Atherton, Adam Brayton, Finn Iles and Loic Bruni all suffered crashes before the main race and no one was complaining about the familiarity of the track come Sunday.


5. Brook MacDonald is the Motorway King


It's no secret that the Bulldog is built like a brick outhouse but he showed he can put all that power to good use in Fort William as he powered himself down the motorway half a second faster than anyone else. This is the second year in a row that Brook has recorded the fastest motorway split and he was second fastest down there in 2016 as well. We'd love to strap a power meter to his ride and see exactly how much power the Kiwi can generate at full tilt.


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




Previously:
Track Walk: Highlander - Fort William DH World Cup 2019
Results: Timed Training - Fort William DH World Cup 2019
Video: Course Preview with Gee Atherton - Fort William DH World Cup 2019
Social Roundup: Fort William DH World Cup 2019
Practice: Some Scottish Weather - Fort William DH World Cup 2019
Results: Qualifying - Fort William DH World Cup 2019
Qualifying Photo Epic: No Calm Before a Storm - Fort William DH World Cup 2019
Inside The Tape: Wet & Wild Lines at the 2019 Fort William World Cup DH
Final Results: Fort William DH World Cup 2019
Overall Standings: Fort William World Cup DH 2019
Cannondale's Split-Shock DH Bike Explained - Fort William DH World Cup 2019
Finals Photo Epic: All To Play For - Fort William DH World Cup 2019


82 Comments

  • + 167
 And Pierron showed us the absolute furthest point of the apex that you can still pull back from a massive OTB.
  • + 9
 Has anyone got a good photo of it?
  • + 2
 @whereismal: Just watch the replay Pierron clips a pole on inside of the hip jump, that is cutting as close you can, priceless!
  • + 6
 What an amazing finish to an amazing run. I don't know if there was still much question about his staying power but if there was that run should cement him into that top tier. I thought for sure he was going to roll through that finish line in a broken heap. Very relieved he had the luck, know-how, experience, and unreal strength to pull that back as it would have been a nasty crash with some serious consequences!
  • + 5
 i go otb with far less bonk
  • + 21
 Less friction riding on one wheel. Good way to shave time.
  • + 11
 Definitely glad he stayed upright... but it would have been a pretty incredible way to win a world cup
  • + 2
 @vjunior21: maybe, but less aerodynamic being in a more upright position!
  • + 3
 He would probably would of still won by crashing through the finish line.
  • + 0
 @aljoburr: This is a great video but doesn't show a pole being clipped - just looks like he nose bonks the lip accidentally sending him off balance www.instagram.com/p/ByS4kENi36z
  • + 1
 Amaury MacAskill or Amaury Akrigg...you decide.
  • + 6
 Amaury and Josh are from the same rat family.
  • + 1
 @whereismal: It was either Ben Cathro or Pierron himself who explained what happened. He was still cranking it on the lip instead of taking it in with his legs. Result.
What puzzles me though is, was the save lucky coincidence or skill? If skill, then what do you do in a sh#tstorm like this?
  • + 2
 @aljoburr @whereismal Vergier clipped a pole in the air as well
  • + 2
 @pioterski: he rides a lot of Moto and this can help a lot in this situation. It’s a natural instinct of a moto rider to lean back and hold the throttle wide open. If you look at any of his photos of the finish, look at his right hand. Set in a throttle wide open position
  • + 1
 Do you have to cross the finish line on your bike?
  • + 2
 @lognar: don't quote me on this but I believe you have to cross "with" your bike - can't remember the exact wording but i believe you can't be separated from your "vehicle" ( or something like that ) - so, pushing the bike over the line is good enough
  • + 25
 I'm going to say that after winning 3 World Cup races, absolutely no one on PB thought Amaury was a fluke!
  • + 26
 Surely we also learnt that Greg Minnaar is still very very fast indeed.
  • + 19
 Such a killer race! Ft William has always seemed kind of bland to me in the past, not sure why. This year, I'd say it was one of the best races I've ever seen. Huge drama, close racing, and epic comebacks. Top moments: Loic's hotseat stay with a bloodied face after a huge crash, Gwinn's massive OTB, Pierron's epic run and near disaster finish, Loris's suspense during a good last run, Minnaar's solid finish to prove he's still got it!
  • + 13
 That picture of the bulldog is terrifying. Add that power to the mix and he looks like a killer. Fantasy team favorite
  • + 9
 Things we learned today, PB can't post a world cup report without mentioning Gwin, even if it's only to say he wears ear plugs.
  • + 3
 You’re right - journalists should stop covering him altogether.
  • + 3
 He's a top contender and had a rugged crash, the earplugs were in relation to him maybe not hearing his tyre leak. Of course, he deserves a mention.
  • + 0
 It would be pretty foolish for them NOT to cover one of the best racers in the world that had probably one of the the biggest crashes on Ft Bill in a long time. The reaction of the crowd and other racers when he crashed tells you that a lot of people are curious as to what happened.
  • + 1
 @boardnz: No, it’s obvious we need a news channel where only positive news is reported about our favorite American riders. Any articles or videos would be reviewed by the riders for pre-approval prior to airing. That would make me less upset about the current state of mtb journalism.
  • + 5
 If Aaron Gwin can tell if his tire pressure is up or down 1 PSI, I doubt he wouldn't know if he had a flat. The conditions were slick and he probably hasn't logged to many laps on his Kenda's in this type of weather. Just having some bad luck IMO.
  • + 8
 the key word there might be kenda
  • + 7
 Your view is kenda true though.
  • + 7
 Yeah, I'm kinda of the opinion he just made a tiny but costly error in line choice, especially after watching the slow mo on Cathro's analysis, where you can see his fork go into the hole and instantly bottom out before his rear, then sealant sprays everywhere when the rear hits. I think it's possible it was already flat but either way it was off line, no discredit to Gwin though as he didn't say he wasn't off line. Flat would make it worse for sure though.
  • + 8
 @BrigadierBuege: yeh Cathro's analysis seems on point, the last 3 inches on the edge of the woodwork had no chicken wire, looks like Gwinner pushed his line to the very edge, past the grip wire and slipped off the edge, front wheel first and then back wheel, the sudden loss of speed caused the front to jacknife and send him cartwheeling, wheels aren't designed for heavy direct side impacts so I'd say for sure that the tyre got ripped off on or after the initial impact with the rock slab and wasn't the cause of the crash
  • + 3
 I'm sure he is just mentally trying to deflect it as a mechanical as coping mechanism. He really has to have short term memory and forget about it because the last thing he wants is a crash like that sitting in his head when he has to race this week.
  • + 7
 The wind died down towards the end and visibility was better. Might account for some faster speeds, even though those last guys were hella fast anyways.
  • + 0
 Not to mention the rain stopped falling and the track started to dry out!
  • + 5
 It was clear the track was drying out (getting faster) when the sun came out towards the end of the race.
  • + 12
 When the mud dries out in the woods it's horrible. Best to ride a wet track than a tacky and gloopy one. Many riders stated this also. Plus if the sun came out as you hit the woods. Pitch black!
  • + 3
 Fort William is a funny track... dry does not necessarily mean fast. The top is significantly better in the damp and as the mud dries it becomes ‘peanut butter’ and sticks to everything, clogging and slowing tires. Wet mud is runny and clears much better, and lets the bike run faster without getting stuck
  • + 1
 How close was Minnaar's bottom time to Bulldogs?

Also... not so sure number 1 is true. We'll see next weekend. If they're within 3 seconds both running clean runs then I'll agree with it... until then, I still see a pretty big game. Holl had a 5 second lead through just over 2 clips before she went down and managed to be slightly quicker once she got rolling again. She probably wins that by 9 seconds if she runs clean.
  • + 1
 I would like to see Greg and Brooke on an XCO lap at Novo Mesto.
  • + 3
 Most exciting race I've seen for a while. Just shows although it's been on the circuit for so long it still provides the goods.
  • + 5
 A "brick outhouse" hahaha
  • + 2
 I'm not sure I would take that as a compliment if someone said that about me!
  • + 32
 @Rubberelli: "built like a brick shithouse" is a reasonably common and reasonably complementary phrase in NZ (and assumedly AUS and UK too)
  • + 2
 Since you have the strength of a metal crapper @Preachey, I'll take your word for it!
  • + 4
 @Preachey: I'd say it's also pretty common in america, apparently not everywhere though. At least where I'm from (north east) I hear it often.
  • + 3
 @Rubberelli: The Commodores sang ‘Brick House’ leaving a pause for ‘shit’ so I assumed it was fairly common in the US too. Seems not.
  • + 1
 @dubod22: I never knew that song was about a muscular woman!
  • + 2
 What a race. I dare say we could see some French podium domination this year with Pierron, Bruni and Vergier looking in top form when they stay on their bikes. Love to see Gwin back in form too.
  • + 4
 Proper race. DH as it should be.
  • + 3
 Bringing back the nose manual finish!
  • + 4
 Ha Ha. Except these days the really cool kids do it before the line.
  • + 2
 @iamamodel: and without touching the front brake.
  • + 1
 6. It's not cool to mention your Fantasy League after news of a rider's injury. Some people should have learned that earlier.
  • + 1
 Well... Tahnee mentioned Fantasy League in her own social media posts about her injury!
  • + 3
 Damn! I need some remote handlebar activated ear plugs!
  • + 2
 So enduro!
  • + 2
 Just as the gummy bears from Sagan went, every mountain biker will now be riding with earplugs...
  • + 1
 Pierron almost went OTB on his winning run
  • + 1
 All I know is I can’t wait for the release of that new alpine helmet
  • + 1
 Brosnan's inside drift slide through the drop section was perfection.
  • + 0
 Sam Hill won the worlds in 2007 with ober 8 Seconds ober 2nd place when i'm right
  • + 3
 FT Bill 2007 W. Champs DH Sam Hill n1 4,52,01 F. Barel n2 4,52,65 Tight race!
  • + 0
 The first sentence is spot on. The racing was INTENSE, for some.
  • - 3
 Interesting, I thought I was going nuts when Warner kept shouting about it being Pierron's first world cup win. He won a bunch last year!
  • + 4
 Fort William 2018 was where Pierron won his 1st World Cup race.
  • - 6
flag sam264 (Jun 4, 2019 at 13:31) (Below Threshold)
 @Malky79:
But Warner was shouting that between Pierron and Shaw somebody was about to get their first world cup win. Which was not true!
  • + 19
 @sam264: at no point was Shaw about to win this race. Did you accidentally watch last years race?
  • + 2
 @kleinblake: hahaha this is gold!
  • + 1
 @kleinblake: Haha, very likely. This almost happened to me too because I had to watch the replay and half covered my eyes when googling it in order not to spoil the fun in case of Red Bull posting the results...
  • + 2
 @kleinblake: Holy f*ck I'm a dumbass...
  • + 1
 @sam264: At least you have the 2019 race still to watch - it's a good one!
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.049000
Mobile Version of Website