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DH Race of the Year Winner

After another long summer of dual-crown race action, over far too soon, it's time for us to pay homage to the very finest of all contests. There's so many factors that make a downhill race great besides the track itself; it could be due to record-setting results, flawless weather, incredible crowds, amazing atmosphere and one more very important, not-to-be-forgotten word, 'drama'. Typically it's the UCI downhill events that bring the best of the action and let's be real, besides well-rehearsed organisation that has a lot to do with the pedigree of the athletes in the contest. It should come as no surprise then that 2016 is no different, with one such World Cup rising to the top.

Not very original you say... Fair enough the 'Bill has been on the schedule since Kovarik took the first win back in 2002 (and quite a win that was), but hold your horses... While this is a venue where we are accustomed to seeing heroes born, this season we saw heroes also 'retired' and remembered too. Not only that, but this time the annual northerly migration of the World Cup circus was a textbook DH event if ever there was one and with more drama than you could shake a 15 can-strong wizard stick at...

Fort William DH World Cup 2016 image

Unbelievable really, that following a decade and a half of racing in the land of whiskey and haggis, the mighty Fort is still able to produce the goods like nowhere else. This year it produced them big time... Those in attendance were treated to astonishingly fine weather without interruption and surely some of the biggest crowds in highlands history. After a sun-stroke inducing trackwalk down through the heather, with the recent passing of the late Stevie Smith still very raw to everyone in the MTB community, #allthelads donned red t-shirts for a full run down the mountain to remember a legend. Later on MTB veteran and hero, Martin Ashton, made his remarkable and truly inspiring lap onboard his specially equipped Sender, before Greg the GOAT did it again out of nowhere to conquer in the loose conditions. Other highlights included Rachel Atherton finally making it a hat-trick of Scottish wins, Adam Brayton going ballistic up on the hill to land on the podium for the first time and Steve Peat racing his last Fort William WC infront of a crowd of (more than) familiar faces. Finally, in the middle of the live-feed, the MTB world fell silent and was moved by the tear-jerking and quite profound memorial run of the sorely missed Canadian Chainsaw.

Steve Peat goes full plaid and argyle for his last WC race in Fort William.
Minnaar This one is for you Stevie.

Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesOne race to rule them all... Fort William 2016 showcased DH racing at its best in nigh-on every respect, while also weighing heavy with emotional and historical significance. A very deserving claimant to the PB awards throne - Nathan Hughes

Author Info:
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Member since Jul 19, 2007
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