Here’s team GB Junior rider Nial Oxley’s race report from Fort Bill this year:
“This weekend I was fortunate enough to be selected to race the Fort William World Cup in Scotland. They had smoothed out the track for this race and, coupled with a few new corners, it was insanely fast. Some people were hitting speeds of 85kph!
We had a tight schedule for practice on Friday and Saturday; with weather coming in we were starting practice at 6:30am to avoid the possibility of the gondola grinding to a halt due to high winds.
My seeding run was really good, I put down a good solid run that landed me in 14th place which was easily enough to secure a qualification spot, although I knew there was more than a few seconds I could make up if I really laid it down in the final on Sunday.
Before my race run, at the top of the track, I started to get really nervous. So when I set off I feel I was a little hasty with my riding, which caused me to mess up the top section of the course: I was blowing out some corners and being too harsh on the brakes.
I began to relax, and I was starting to get into my run when I came into a corner too fast about 1:30s in. I washed out my front wheel, and came down. I was OK though: I got straight back up and carried on but I had to stop a few corners later because my bars were twisted out of line.
It wasn’t all bad though, having to stop to untwist my bars allowed me to catch my breath so I could throw some sketchy whips down the motorway for the crowd! In the end I finished pretty much last, a few minutes back but I had a great learning experience and a good weekend. I can’t wait to get another shot at riding a world cup so I can show what I can do, so watch this space!”
Big thanks to my mum for driving me up and Singletrack Dan for being my mechanic/chief bike washer all weekend, the Singletrack crew for putting up with me and providing pit space, No Fuss events for kit washing and parking, and Five Ten UK for some seriously grippy shoes. Also Santa Cruz UK for providing bike spares I thankfully didn’t need to use, and Matt Letch and Sim Mainey for driving me home/putting up with me!”
Here’s some video of Nial on the rocky section just after the start. He claims he was not at his fastest – he looks pretty speedy to me:
Video by James Love (thanks, James!)