Fort William 2017: Saturday Qualifying Gallery

by
June 3, 2017

Yesterday we brought you a mega gallery from practice and timed practice up at the 2017 Fort William World Cup, and today we turn our attention to qualifying runs. For practice, we wanted to aim our focus at the top section of the Fort Bill track – probably the most iconic section of trail, due to its open setting and grey rock and track surfacing.

Fort William World Cup 2017
Sending it off the Scotland cliff into the abyss.

Today we moved to the lower section of the track to see how playtime in the woods has treated the riders taking on the slippery serpent of mud, wet roots and sloppy turns. For us mere-mortals, riding trails like these would make even the most confident shiver and shake at the thought. For these guys and girls though, its head down and time to concentrate – carefully navigating a selection of ridiculous trail features that scare the crap out of normal human beings.

Fort William World Cup 2017
#PanShotFriday through the mud.

Let’s paint the picture… We’re hitting some quick, open trails with some sweet jumps and nice big swooping berms. It’s a good time. A quick right hander drops us into the woods, and suddenly out of nowhere, *holy mercy*… yep, that’s the wooded section at Fort William. After 2-to-3minutes of pounding the hard packed rocky sections at the beginning of the track, riders are lured into a false sense of security and dumped front wheel (all being well) first into a hellish section of disaster riddled roots, swamp like peat bog mud and ruts to swallow the biggest of 29in wheels. Rather them than us, that’s what I saw. Let’s take a look at how they got on.

Fort William World Cup 2017
Sam Hill headed into the top 80 qualifying rankings after a decent session off the downhill bike. Can he bring some magic to tomorrow’s race?
Fort William World Cup 2017
A barn of pro downhill riders. That’s not something you see every Saturday.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Loris Vergier goes full buff and hood up, to avoid those pesky fans for asking for photos.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Turbo trainers? Not for Ed Masters and Elliot Heap. They’re about wheelies and stoppies for getting the blood pumping.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Remi Thirion looks pretty calm before racing starts.
Fort William World Cup 2017
It’s all hands on hips at the top of Fort William for Laurie Greenland. Laurie was fastest during Friday’s practice session, but unfortunately crashed out during today’s qualifying session. As a protected rider, he’ll still be on the start line for tomorrow’s big race.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Ed the Master(s) of wheelies. Watch out Hans Rey.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Someone seems to have caught a black mamba up at Fort William.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Off camber roots and plenty of moisture to make them hell, these riders seem to glide over the top like it’s nothing.
Fort William World Cup 2017
The Intense alloy prototype heads through the woods looking all rustic and sweet.
Fort William World Cup 2017
A gentle nose bonk for Minnaar through the woods. The master was at his best today, dissecting the race course with impressive precision, with the fastest qualifying time that’s earned him the last ride of the day tomorrow.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Can(y)on ball off the road gap and into the bottom section of the track.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Pan shot Friday came a day late this week. Our man James Love certainly can handle a camera, and Danny Hart certainly can handle a bike.
Fort William World Cup 2017
We knew there’d be traffic issues at Fort William, we just didn’t expect it to be on the track.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Tahnee Seagrave heads down towards the motorway on her prototype carbon downhill bike. Seagrave finished today’s qualifying in 7th position.
Fort William World Cup 2017
No one will ever argue with someone hanging out of a gondala playing Bob The Builder through a mega phone.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Rachel Atherton sailed her way to a 13 second gap between her and second place. More than impressive, and a strong omen for tomorrow’s race.
Fort William World Cup 2017
BAG OF SNAKES.
Fort William World Cup 2017
‘Magic dust, do you have any magic dust?’
Fort William World Cup 2017
Shimano tape guiding riders through the plethora of slippery obstacles.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Cumbria born and bred Adam Clayton had a couple of cracking crashes today, but ended up in the finish area with a smile on his face.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Representing Australia on his sleeve, Jack Moir sits 3rd after qualifying. The Aussie National Champ isn’t here to mess about.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Laurie Greenland gives it the beans over the wallride jump. Style is a major key.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Because hitting a river gap with a mechanical is never going to be a good idea. Chicken run through the water is the only way.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Luca Shaw was demolishing the track on his V10 29er. Some hefty OTB action saw Luca qualify a long way down the list, which means he’ll be one of the first riders to hit the mountain on race day.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Riding on two wheels for a change, Bernard Kerr of the Pivot Factory Racing team came screaming down this turn towards the end of the racetrack.
Fort William World Cup 2017
The view that’ll greet competitors tomorrow. Not bad at all.

And with that, we tap out for the second last day of action at the Fort William World Cup. Tomorrow brings fourth the final and most important day of the Fort William World Cup. Who will stand on the podium at the close of racing? We’ll just have to wait and see…

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