Finals Photo Epic: Fort William DH World Cup 2022

May 22, 2022 at 18:29
by Nathan Hughes  



Another wet and wild race week drew to a close in Fort William with the crowd treated to another immense day of racing on the slopes of Aonach Mor. Fairly light but consistent rain fell for most of the day but thankfully the conditions were fairly consistent for the whole field. The Junior Men kicked off the action this morning as Jordan Williams and Jackson Goldstone fought over first place once again, the pair would be separated by just 0.038. That really is absolutely nothing after close to five minutes of racing. Remy Meier-Smith rounded out the podium four and a half seconds back, but a time that would also see him close to top 10 in Elite. In the Junior Women, it was once again Canadian, Gracey Hemstreet, who took top honours with another commanding performance, three seconds up on Phoebe Gale who was joined by compatriot and Pinkbike Racing's Aimi Kenyon on the box.

Nina Hoffmann flew somewhat under the radar, dropping earlier than her direct competitors which made for an agonising wait in the hot seat as she watched the rest of the field one by one fail to match her benchmark. She was quite rightly ecstatic as last rider down Camille Balanche went into second nearly four seconds back. Myriam Nicole, Eleonora Farina and Vali Höll completed the podium positions. The home support would've loved dearly for a UK rider to take the top spot and with the fastest two qualifiers being Brits there was room was cautious optimism. That was until the French decided to spoil the party with a smattering of Tricolour lighting up the timing screens once more, Thibaut Daprela laid down a commanding time that looked all but untouchable until his teammate Amaury Pierron decided he wanted to become a three-time Fort William winner. Last man down Laurie Greenland pipped Benoit Coulanges for third with the top four separated by less than a second, Matt Walker insured there were 2 Brits on the podium in 5th. If you were well entertained hold on to your hats for another year - Fort William plays host to World Champs in 2023.

Bodies and bikes take a beating and all in a grinding paste of highland mud.
Bodies and bikes take a beating and all in a grinding paste of highland mud.
Heavy clouds shrowded the upper most part of the track. The winds were howling and rain came down in sheets for a while. Scottish summer at its best.
The winds were howling and rain came down in sheets for a while. Scottish summer at its best.

There was a lot of expectation on this man this weekend.
There was a lot of expectation on this man this weekend.

Pinkbike Racing s very own Aimi Kenyon took home her first podium on home soil.
Pinkbike Racing's very own Aimi Kenyon took home her first podium on home soil.
Remy Meier Smith is really showing up in his second junior year. 3rd place again and equivalent 12th place in elite NB most likely with better conditions .
Remy Meier Smith is really showing up in his second junior year. 3rd place again and equivalent 12th place in Elite (albeit with better track conditions).

Phoebe Gale dehumidifying the track for second.
Phoebe Gale dehumidifying the track for second.

Jordan Williams was very at home with the weather. He d take the win by a very small margin over the current world champ.
Jordan Williams was very at home with the weather. He'd take the win by a very small margin over the current world champ.

Two for two goes Gracey Hemstreet taming whatever is thrown at her so far.
Two for two goes Gracey Hemstreet, taming whatever is thrown at her so far.

Jackson Goldstone had to play second fiddle to Jordan Williams this weekend.
Jackson Goldstone had to play second fiddle to Jordan Williams this weekend.

Junior men of the Highlands.
Junior Men of the Highlands.
Fort Bill 22 fastest Junior women.
Fort Bill '22 fastest Junior Women.

Nina Hoffmann dialling in her lines before her date with destiny.
Nina Hoffmann dialling in her lines before her date with destiny.

Eleonora Farina preparing to face the foul conditions early this morning.
Eleonora Farina preparing to face the foul conditions early this morning.

It seems bleak now but imagine the January version of all this.
It seems bleak now, but imagine the January version of all this.
Thick cloud driven away by powerful gusts and driving rain. Rob from Peter to pay Paul.
Thick cloud driven away by powerful gusts and driving rain. Rob from Peter to pay Paul.

Myriam getting heart and head into race mode from the ski hut.
Myriam getting heart and head into race mode from the ski hut.

Seventh place for Vero Widmann but still a ways back from the winning time of Nina Hoffmann.
Seventh place for Vero Widmann but still a ways back from the winning time of Nina Hoffmann.

Hoffman out the gate and onto the gas towards her second WC win.
Hoffmann out the gate and onto the gas towards her second WC win.
The greasy muddy woods meant zero grip and loss of momentum for most.
The greasy muddy woods meant zero grip and loss of momentum for most.

Hoffman oblierating every split en route to victory.
The female quarter of the Syndicate obliterating every split en route to victory.

Local lass Mikayla Parton doing the business in her home town. 8th place and an experience she ll never forget.
Local lass Mikayla Parton doing the business in her home town. 8th place and an experience she'll never forget.

The moody slopes of Aonoch Mor.
The moody slopes of Aonach Mor.
Mille Johnset prepares to tackle the rough granite rocks and slippery woods that lay in wait.
Mille Johnset prepares to tackle the rough granite rocks and slippery woods that lay in wait.

Eleonora Farina powering through the puddles on her way to 4th.
Farina powering through the puddles on her way to 4th.

Vali Holl rounded off the podium here at the Fort. She ll have home field advantage in about two weeks time in Leogang.
Vali Hoell rounded off the podium here at the Fort. She'll have home-field advantage in about two weeks' time in Leogang.

Myriam Nicole tucking her way into third.
Myriam Nicole tucking her way into third.
Myriam Nicole is back from her injury and easing right in. Good to see she hasn t lost her edge.
Back from her injury and easing right in. Good to see she hasn't lost her edge.

Series leader Balanche was surely the favourite for this race but had to settle for second 3.6 back from Syndicate rival Hoffman.
Series leader, Balanche, was surely the favourite for this race but had to settle for second, 3.6 back from Syndicate rival, Hoffman.

A wave of emotions hitting all at once Nina realizing she s won her second world cup.
A wave of emotions hitting all at once, Nina realizing she's won her second world cup.
Sportsmanship always prevails at the end of the day. The women take turns checking in on Balanche.
Sportsmanship always prevails at the end of the day. The women take turns checking in on Balanche.

Nina Hoffmann finally takes home that first win after a few close calls over the last couple of years.
Nina Hoffmann takes home her second World Cup win and first at Fort William.

Nina Hoffmann gets her turn on the top step of the podium.
Hoffmann gets her turn on the top step of the podium.

Qualifying was here.
Qualifying was here.
Greg Williamson with a strong ride into 14th at home in the Scottish Highlands.
Greg Williamson with a strong ride into 14th at home in the Scottish Highlands.

Ben Cathro smashing it into 24th
Ben Cathro smashing it into 24th!

Luke Meier-Smith and his younger brother are taking some serious names with full commitment to racing and just about no hype. 9th for Luke.
Luke Meier-Smith and his younger brother are taking some serious names with full commitment to racing and just about no hype. 9th for Luke.

Kade. The man.
Kade Edwards, the man and myth.

Matt Walker keeps it low over the first jump up top.
Matt Walker keeps it low over the first jump up top with a ride to 5th place.

Loris Vergier would have likely been on the podium without his mechanical on the lower portion of the track.
Loris Vergier would have likely been on the podium without his mechanical on the lower portion of the track.

Speed style and all the power. Pierron cutting through the rain in training.
Speed, style and all the power. Pierron cutting through the rain in training.

Pierron coming in hot. He s looked confident all weekend regardless of what mother nature had in store.
Pierron coming in hot. He's looked confident all weekend regardless of what mother nature had in store.

Less then half a second in the green Amaury Pierron sits in the hotseat with only three riders left.
Less than half a second in the green, Amaury Pierron sits in the hotseat with only three riders left.

Benoit Coulanges true to his plate with another 4th place.
Benoit Coulanges true to his plate with another 4th place.

Thibaut Daprela had this one in the bag. He sat on the hotseat until finally dethrowned by his teamate.
Thibaut Daprela had this one in the bag. He sat on the hotseat until finally dethroned by his teammate.
Eyes on the prize Daprela digs deep in the final meters of this track.
Eyes on the prize, Daprela digs deep in the final meters of this track.

Hell of a run for Daprela in the worst conditions.
Hell of a run for Daprela in the worst conditions.

An old school knack for the GOAT down the motorway. Today didn t go as planned for Greg Minnaar once the clock began to tick yet still came away with seventh on this hectic track.
An old school knack for the GOAT down the motorway. Today didn't go as planned for Greg Minnaar once the clock began to tick yet still came away with seventh on this hectic track.

Minnaar looking back at what could have been.
Minnaar looking back at what could have been.

Laurie Greenland seemed more determined and focused than ever before to talk his first Fort William.
Laurie Greenland seemed more determined and focused than ever before to take his first Fort William win.
Laurie didn t seem to implement the unbelievable crown-grabber tuck he practiced most runs probably because he was pedalling like a madman.
Laurie didn't seem to implement the unbelievable crown-grabber tuck he practiced most runs, probably because he was pedalling like a madman.

Nervy moments on the hot seat for Amaury Pierron.
Nervy moments on the hot seat for Amaury Pierron.

Laurie Greenland was on a heater of a run until the third split. Despite mashing the pedals to the finish he could not match the power output of Amaury Pierron.
It was a heater of a run until the third split. Despite mashing the pedals to the finish, he could not match the power output of Amaury Pierron.

Gutted to somehow be pipped by two riders and less than a second in time.
Gutted to somehow be pipped by two riders in such a small window.

Job done. 2 from 2 for Amaury Pierron in 2022.
Job done. 2 from 2 for Amaury Pierron in 2022.
Peaty consoles Laurie Greenland after falling less than a second short of the win.
Peaty consoles Greenland after falling less than a second short of the win.

Amaury Pierron is becoming somewhat of a Fort William specialist these days.
Amaury Pierron is becoming somewhat of a Fort William specialist these days.

Your Men s Elite podium - st Amaury Pierron 2nd Thibault Daprela 3rd Laurie Greenland 4th Benoit Coulanges 5th Matt Walker
Your Men's Elite podium - 1st Amaury Pierron, 2nd Thibaut Daprela, 3rd Laurie Greenland, 4th Benoit Coulanges, 5th Matt Walker

The Highlands are always so unkind but still we keep coming back for more. Next time gold silver and bronze will be on the line.
The Highlands are always so unkind, but still we keep coming back for more. Next time gold, silver and bronze will be on the line.



52 Comments

  • 145 0
 That tuck no hander is just so epic.
  • 35 0
 The photo really gives credit to how much he boosted that jump. To the moon!
  • 46 1
 Did he do a no foot can on clip pedals?
  • 20 0
 @leopaul: he tricked every jump on the motorway! So good
  • 14 15
 Agreed and same for Minaar's knack. Imagine throwing that in a WC race and still managing 7th place, absolutely insane.
  • 64 0
 @Gregmurray50: it looks like that was in practice, unless he also swapped his gear for the rainbow stripes in midair just before the finish line.
  • 28 1
 it should really have just been a photo epic of kade's jump line.
  • 6 0
 @leopaul: He unclipped in the flat before the jump
  • 7 1
 @sb666: and all that with probably no practice on those tricks, deciding just before getting there. The man has insane skill. Still would have had him rather finish a good run for the sake of my fantasy team
  • 2 0
 @tbmaddux: I was very confused by the kits. this explains it thanks
  • 49 0
 Came here for Kade.
  • 9 0
 For those that want to rewatch kade. His run is starts between 1:08 and 1:09 min of the feed. His first trick(wall ride) is at 1:09min
  • 28 0
 damn that photo of @luke_ms1 really shows how hard these guys are working
  • 9 0
 Such a dope picture of him.
  • 5 0
 Awesome shot!
  • 3 0
 seriously, great photo
  • 15 0
 Kade trick all jumps on the motorway, but did anyone see how he rode the wallride? That was epic in the wet! How d you even go for a walride in the pouring rain?
  • 5 0
 was hoping to see a picture of that one, what a boss!
  • 12 3
 "Hoffmann out the gate and onto the gas towards her second WC win."
"A wave of emotions hitting all at once, Nina realizing she's won her second world cup."
"Nina Hoffmann finally takes home that first win after a few close calls over the last couple of years."
Whether it's the 1st or the 2nd, congrats and well deserved victory.
  • 7 0
 I think they meant 2nd World Cup win and 1st Fort William win maybe? I don't know. Scorcher of a run anyway.
  • 6 0
 Yeah it's her second worldcup win, first one was in Maribor.
  • 1 0
 Right? Get it right!
  • 12 0
 Kade won
  • 6 0
 Shout out to Nathan, Ross and Andy for these pictures. I can only imagine that was a fairly grim day for them on mountain but the photos are excellent.
  • 6 0
 the sandwich podium : baguettes and bacon .
  • 6 0
 Came too see what picture you used for Kade. Was not disappointed..
  • 7 0
 Sik Mik Approves Kade...
  • 6 0
 Kade Edwars run was the best thing of the weekend.
  • 5 1
 Proper track that, I can't believe the finish splits are so tight after all that chaos!
  • 1 3
 what chaos?
  • 5 0
 @barrysbikes: rain and wind and mud
  • 4 0
 Ok, so how long before we have electronic roll-offs? Surely we need another button on the handlebars.
  • 2 0
 Electronic rolloff with a sensor on the side was tested, it sucks mostly because motor was way too slow and sensor shitty. If there is an innovation with roll off it will come from Mx.
  • 4 0
 incredible set of images! Thank you for sharing
  • 4 0
 Bro that chrome Saracen looks so nice...
  • 1 0
 Pics?
  • 4 0
 Kade Edwards to be sponsored by Mic Hannah!
  • 3 0
 great photos! I enjoyed this collection.
  • 1 0
 Love the photographer in the far right on the Kade Edwards no-hander-shot. He truly sees something more interesting further down the trail Smile
  • 2 0
 A RedbullTV pic when Kade Edwards did another figure www.instagram.com/p/Cd3phfcrEQN
  • 3 0
 How is Matt Walker so darn clean!
  • 2 1
 The photos put me right there. I can almost here the crowd cheering and feel the rain on my face.
  • 3 0
 Not to mention midges on your neck!…and any exposed areas
  • 5 4
 Sweet pics but was hoping to see broken chains along with banged up derailleurs and chainrings.
  • 1 0
 Does anyone know if it was raining when the juniors came down? It looks a little less wet
  • 2 0
 epic.
  • 1 0
 Daprela looks like he could be Dylan Ferrandis' brother lol.
  • 1 0
 Commencal and the French still crushing.
  • 1 0
 I always love these photo epics
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