Pinkbike Primer - Everything You Need to Know Ahead of the Fort William World Cup DH

May 30, 2019 at 16:42
by Sarah Moore  

Round Two, Return to a Classic
Familiar Territory at the Scottish Classic

It's been over a month since we last saw the world's fastest downhill racers convene in Maribor for round one, but finally, the World Cup resumes this weekend at a venue that has been a stalwart on the circuit since 2002. We saw youth triumph at the first round, as Loic Bruni and Tahnee Seagrave took the wins in Slovenia. With a win in Fort William in 2018 for Tahnee and a fifth spot on the podium for Loic, they'll be the favourites going into round two. But let's not forget that Greg Minnaar already has seven wins at the classic venue and Rachel Atherton has three and you can bet they have their sights on the top step of the podium as well.

The track is mostly unchanged, but the weather is sure to play a part in riders' preparation. Let's refresh your memory on what happened in Fort William last year, take a look at the course and the upcoming weather conditions and get primed and ready for the weekend!

Reece Wilson coming in hotter than any Scotsman in Fort William history.

The Track

The track at Aonach Mor remains almost entirely unchanged from 2018. Only a small section of the recently modified woods section in the middle of the run has been adjusted. Instead of using the 'roughly paved' forest section that improved on the bog of years gone by, riders will now hit a soft and wide grass connector to reach the fast open berms above the road gap that have been unused for several years. It's worth noting that a good amount of maintenance work has gone in to freshen the track both high up on the moor and for the motorway jumps en route to the finish area.

You can see the full Track Walk Photo Epic here and watch Ben Cathro's Track Walk here.

Seagrave finally taking the W at the biggest round of the year.

Previous Winners

2018 // Amaury PIERRON // FRA
2017 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2016 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2015 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2014 // Troy BROSNAN // AUS
2013 // Gee ATHERTON // GBR
2012 // Aaron GWIN // USA
2011 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2010 // Gee ATHERTON // GBR
2009 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2008 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2007 // Sam HILL // AUS *
2006 // Sam HILL // AUS
2005 // Steve PEAT // GBR
2004 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2003 // Cedric GRACIA // FRA
2002 // Chris KOVARIK // AUS
2018 // Tahnee SEAGRAVE // GBR
2017 // Tracey HANNAH // AUS
2016 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2015 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2014 // Emmeline RAGOT // FRA
2013 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2012 // Emmeline RAGOT // FRA
2011 // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR
2010 // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA
2009 // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA
2008 // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR
2007 // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA *
2006 // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR
2005 // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR
2004 // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA
2003 // Céline GROS // FRA
2002 // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR

Note, * denotes a race which was a World Championship.

What Happened in 2018

In the Elite Women's race, Tahnee Seagrave was able to clinch that inaugural win on UK soil on the race track everyone wants to dominate most. Rachel Atherton fell foul to a snapped chain and a crash but was able to hold on for third, while Myriam Nicole also had a problem staying upright, but finished second.

The men's race kept the party well alive and the storms held off until the French had taken over the podium. Amaury Pierron took his first ever victory ahead of countrymen Vergier and Bruni, while Reece Wilson experienced what must have been about the best day of his life, becoming the first Scotsman ever to reach the top steps at Fort William. Meanwhile, Troy Brosnan completed the podium and first place qualifier, Luca Shaw and series leader, Aaron Gwin appeared to be flat out of luck, blowing tyres and hitting the deck respectively.

Elite Men

1st. PIERRON Amaury 4:34.452
2nd. VERGIER Loris 4:34.722 +0.27
3rd. BROSNAN Troy 4:34.763 +0.311
4th. WILSON Reece 4:35.775 +1.323
5th. BRUNI Loic 4:37.039 +1.323

Elite Women

1st. SEAGRAVE Tahnee 5:10.960
2nd. NICOLE Myriam 5:19.211 +8.251
3rd. ATHERTON Rachel 5:20.016 +9.056
4th. CABIROU Marine 5:21.782 +10.822
5th. HANNAH Tracey 5:22.744 +13.408

Three french a Scotsman and and Aussie top the podium in Fort William.
The fastest five ladies of the day with first time Fort William winner Tahnee Seagrave on the top step.

Sheer elation. It all came together for Pierron today.

What Happened at the Last Round?

Maribor provided some close racing as the top four men were separated by less than a second. It would be current World Champion Loic Bruni who would take the win on board his new mixed wheel Specialized Demo. Less than half a second back was Danny Hart who was also sporting two wheel sizes and managed to hang onto the hot seat for what felt like most of the race. Troy Brosnan put together a great run that would place him third.

In the Elite Women's race, it was an all-out battle between the two British riders Rachel Atherton and Tahnee Seagrave. In the end, Tahnee would best Rachel by 0.855 seconds but the close split times show that this season is going to be pretty exciting between the two racers. Tracey Hannah couldn't quite match her top qualifying position, finishing third.

Elite Men

1st. Loic Bruni: 2:58.839
2nd. Danny Hart: +0.404
3rd. Troy Brosnan: +0.764
4th. Charlie Harrison: +0.928
5th. Matt Walker: +1.610

Elite Women

1st. Tahnee Seagrave: 3:25.888
2nd. Rachel Atherton: +0.855
3rd. Tracey Hannah: +2.638
4th. Marine Cabirou: +3.542
5th. Monika Hrastnik: +4.325

The current top 5 men in the 2019 World Cup
Fist bumps.

What a contrast to 12 months ago. 1 year ago Loic was hobbling out of a Croatian hospital where as this year he started with the right kind of bang.

The Standings

1st // Loic BRUNI // FRA // 216
2nd // Danny HART // GBR // 160
3rd // Troy BROSNAN // AUS // 160
4th // Charlie HARRISON // USA // 143
5th // Aaron GWIN // USA // 135
6th // Mark WALLACE // CAN // 135
7th // Matt WALKER // GBR // 110
8th // Laurie GREENLAND // GBR // 105
9th // Amaury PIERRON // FRA // 90
10th // Loris VERGIER // FRA // 75

1st // Tahnée SEAGRAVE // GBR // 230
2nd // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR // 200
3rd // Tracey HANNAH // AUS // 190
4th // Monika HRASTNIK // SLO // 130
5th // Marine CABIROU // FRA // 125
6th // Nina HOFFMAN // GER // 120
7th // Eleonora FARINA // ITA // 94
8th // Veronika WIDDMAN // ITA // 75
9th // Sandra RUBESAM // GER // 72
10th // Carina CAPPELLARI // SUI // 71

Weather Forecast

The forecast for this weekend looks like typical Scottish weather with lots of rain on the menu.

It looks like we ll be seeing plenty of this over the weekend.

Friday, May 31 - Timed Training
Rain // 14°C // 100% precipitation, 20mm // wind 12km/h

Saturday, June 1 - Qualifying
Patchy rain // 16°C // 70% precipitation, 2-4mm // wind 18km/h

Sunday, June 2 - Finals
Light rain // 17°C // 90% precipitation, 5-10mm // wind 15km/h

Weather forecast from the Weather Network as of Thursday, May 30.

The Schedule

Loic trying to come to grips with the ever changing track conditions after a night of heavy rainfall.

Friday May 31
• 08:30-11:45 // Official Downhill Training - Group B
• 12:00-15:15 // Official Downhill Training - Group A
• 15:30-17:00 // Downhill Timed Training Session
• 17:00-17:45 // On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - Riders and Teams

Saturday June 1
• 08:30-10:00 // Official Downhill Training - Group B
• 10:15-11:45 // Official Downhill Training - Group A
• 12:15 // Seeding Run - Junior Women
• 12:30 // Qualifying Round - Junior Men
• 13:30 // Qualifying Round - Elite Women
• 14:00 // Qualifying Round - Elite Men
• Followed by // 30 minutes On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - Riders and Teams

Sunday June 2
• 08:15-09:15 // Official Downhill Training - Junior Women, Junior Men, Elite Women
• 09:45 // Final - Junior Women
• 10:15 // Final - Junior Men
• 12:30 // Final - Elite Women
• 13:30 // Final - Elite Men followed by Awards ceremony

Note: All times are local and subject to change by the event organizer.

Follow Along

Enduro prodigy Martin Maes killing the downhill game as a guest rider and hoofing it to a top ten qualie.

Pinkbike will be providing you with the best daily coverage from our team in Fort William this week. Tune in to Pinkbike to catch photo epics, videos and results from Timed Training, Practice, Qualifying and Finals, as well as tech bits and news.

You can also watch the second round of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup free of charge, live or on demand, on The live broadcast starts on Sunday, June 2 at 1:30pm CEST.

Schedule: Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Fort William LIVE on Red Bull TV:

Fort William DHI Women: June 2 Live on Red Bull TV 1:30pm CEST
Fort William DHI Men: June 2 Live on Red Bull TV 2:45pm CEST

(all times CEST, replay available immediately following the races)

Fantasy League

Don't forget to complete your DH Fantasy team before the Elite Women's qualifying starts on Saturday. If you don't know who to pick, check out our 2018 season breakdown and our Form Guide that takes a look at who is looking good coming into the season. Here are all the highlights videos from previous years' races.

The Fantasy Downhill League is Presented by Trek and SRAM.

MENTIONS: @trek / @SramMedia


  • 22 0
 Wonder if a Fox 49 would fit on my 2004 Big Hit....
  • 4 0
 "It's a choppa baby..."
"Who's Choppa is this?"....
  • 5 0
 @pedaldragger: I do belive its Zed's chopper....
  • 6 0
 @rockchomper: "Zed's Dead"
  • 10 0
 Party at mine Sunday night!! Jacks all round! May get rowdy!!! Sorry wife...
  • 11 0
 If I leave now...
  • 7 0
 Greg Minnaar has won it 7 times!!
  • 4 0
 I hope for an epic comeback for win #8
  • 5 1
 Does any one have a clip of when Danny Hart got super loose in a berm near the bottom? He was just in his first year Elites but man it was amazing!
  • 45 7
 I think I know which one you mean
  • 8 1
 @Wincobankchef: Bastard hahaha
  • 3 0
 @OllieCee: he got me too
  • 2 0
 How has that video not got more attention it's so loose
  • 2 0
 It's not the easiest place to build, being mainly 'bog' in places, so would be an epic build, they mix it up every year with new sections and it's a beast to ride, ( if I assume you've ridden it?) Just listen to the riders, they love the place. Enough said!
  • 5 1
 Waiting for timed practice, because it means everything.
  • 3 1
 Am I the only one or after I watch any race, I REALY wanna go down there the next day?
  • 1 0
 The top image... anyone know how that's created? Is it a tracking shot through a group of people with a low depth of field or it a merge of 2 different photos?
  • 2 1
 It looks like either a double exposure (in camera or post) or maybe a slow shutter sync. So quite a slow shutter to create the trails and then the flash fires to freeze Tahnee in place.
  • 2 0
 No trickery other then an amazing slow shutter pan shot. If you click on the photo the EXIF data is on the bottom right: 1/25th shutter at f.20
  • 1 0
 Just a pan shot with people in the way
  • 4 1
 Tahnee and Danny ftw
  • 2 1
 Roll on Sunday, i am expecting fireworks from everyone but especially Brosnan, Bruni ,Hart and Greenland.
  • 3 1
 Go for it Gee! Its gonna be tight racing - again! PUMPED
  • 1 0
 Minaar is the effin GOAT at Ft Bill, would be cool to see him punch out another W
  • 1 1
 Bring this shit on!! I’m hanging... would love to hart or brosnan take the win!
  • 1 0
 The french boys are such nuts Big Grin
  • 3 6
 Please don’t rain
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