Sitting track-side, holding onto a camera, while the elite riders plummet to the bottom of the 2017 Fort William Downhill World Cup track was pretty damn exciting. The whiz of freehubs, and the occasional mouthful of roost as they fly by, is as close to the action as you can get. But although riders are at full tilt on all parts of the track, it’s the finish area where the real magic happens. From a rider’s point of view, the crowd’s track-side presence and the huge noise coming from the finish arena could be completely blanked out, to avoid any unwanted distractions, but for us spectators, it’s the crowd that act as the warning signal for those oncoming riders. The noise of cow-bells, clapping and all the ‘whoops and hollas’ you could ask for, mean some sweet two-wheeled action is coming your way, very soon.
It must be an amazing feeling dropping into that finish area with all the fans going wild. George Brannigan was getting that feeling, right here.
Our man James was down in the finish area, armed with a photograph-creating device, papping away, grabbing those little moments the big TV cameras might not catch, or the high-fives that have been missed by the abundance of spectators waving flags in front of you. Don’t you worry though, we’ve got your back. Let’s head through a truly emotional Sunday afternoon at Fort Bill, down where the party starts, continues, and ends.
Tracey Hannah keeps her body position low and her eyes on the finish line, on her way to a remarkable win, with a gap of 10 seconds between her and second place. What a ride from Tracey!
Eyes on the prize heading to the finish area. Last bit of concentration needed.
The spectators make Fort William. I mean, look at that expression!
Apparently James requires a body guard these days. Not sure that can be claimed back on expenses though, Jim…
Shimano managed to get its message out this weekend, in the shape of many blue and white head dresses.
Nothing will beat the crowd up at Fort William. Even the Telletubbies agree.
Hitting pieces of metal with other pieces of metal to make as much noise as humanly possible. That’s the way of Fort Bill. And we love it.
Bernard Kerr – the only man to get to the bottom of the hill without a rear mech or chain. After it jammed in the top section, Kerr managed to get the chain free, but was unable to pedal for two thirds of the race. Finishing in 13th was an unbelievable achievement.
Cumbrian born and bred Adam Brayton was content with staying on his bike for his race run, and finished with a very respectable 17th place.
The weather wasn’t full Scotland, for the second year in a row. What will next year hold, we wonder?
Mick Hannah may not have finished on the top step, but a brief spell there after a ridiculous suicide no-hander over the jumps on the motorway section was probably enough to keep him happy.
The muddy telltale of a crash in the woods.
Brendan Fairclough had a disapointing run at Fort Bill this year, and he was the first to say so, when he spoke with our top correspondent Ross, post race.
Bruni through the crowds, looking disappointed with his race day performance.
Rupert Chapman had a lesser-spotted front puncture on his race day run, which led to him slipping out of point-grabbing places.
A fist pump for Mulally who nailed his run, but could only finish in 7th overall.
Winner of the last round in Lourdes, Alexandre Fayolle could only manage a 36th place finish at Fort William, after hitting the deck earlier in his run.
Laurie Greenland may have had a big old crash in qualifying, but with him setting the fastest time in practice, he was always racing on the Sunday. He threw down a massive run and finished in 9th place. What a guy.
The crowd know what they want to see.
Steve Peat passes on his expertise to the up and coming generation in the Santacruz Syndicate team – Luca Shaw.
Connor Fearon produced a blinding run down Fort William this year, which rewarded him nicely with an 8th place overall finish.
Top commentary on race day as always, provided by Dan Jarvis.
The support for the UK riders will always be strong at Fort William. Unfortunately, today wasn’t the day for the home nation riders.
Danny Hart had a crash in the woods which left him way down the pecking order. A truly frustrating day for Danny, he headed straight back to the truck.
A quick check back to the time board, before Aaron Gwin takes his seat on the top step.
Troy Brosnan shakes hands with Remi Thirion on the as he gets knocked down a step by the Frenchman.
A truly sportsman like scene from the hot seat. Jack Moir shakes hands with Aaron Gwin, who he has just knocked off top spot.
Nerves were kicking in for Moir, who had to watch two more riders hit the track before he knew his fate. Aarron Gwin watches the big screen to see where his finish will be.
Now that’s a man who’s been waiting for this day, for far too long.
Jack Moir watches the big screen as the last man on course, Greg Minnaar heads down the track.
A mix of emotions indeed. Aaron Gwin was disapointed with his 3rd place finish after making a mistake in the woods, whereas the Intense Factory Racing team cannot get to Jack Moir quick enough to celebrate his 2nd place.
Jeff Steber celebrates with the rest of the Intense Factory Racing team, with Jack Moir bagging himself a 2nd place finish at Fort William.
A true party atmosphere at the Fort William finish line.
It’s hugs and smiles all round for the Syndicate team.
A clearly emotional day for all involved, no more so than the winner himself – Greg Minnaar.
He may not be racing anymore, but Steve Peat is still more than involved with the Santacruz Syndicate team.
A proud moment for Steve, as he watches his good friend smash yet another World Cup win.
Syndicate Team Mum, Kathy Sessler is clearly emotional after another victory for her Syndicate star.
Ex-teammate Steve Peat cannot control his excitement as Greg Minnaar is announced as the 2017 Fort William winner.
Elation for Mr Fort William. Greg Minnaar takes the win for back to back top step results at Fort Bill.
A proper downhill cassette, that. #NotEagle
Jack Moir – one happy man!
Jack Moir celebrates with friends and family after an unbelievable run down the Fort William 2017 track. Big things to come from this lad, that’s for sure.
Kathy Sessler was over the moon with yet another win for her team up at Fort William.
Jack Moir’s 2nd place bike. The Aussie got his first ever podium this weekend up at Fort William.
Luca Shaw looks at his team mate after Minnaar picked up the win here in Fort William this weekend. The Syndicate boys are giving competitors a reason to be worried with results like this.
The winning bike. Greg Minnaar’s 29in wheel equipped Santacruz V10.
A deserved winner! Greg Minnaar makes in 7 wins at Fort William from 15, and a 20th overall World Cup win. What a racer this man is.
7 wins out of 15 at Fort William for Minnaar, and a pounding race from Tracey Hannah saw the Elite Mens and Womens wrap up. With racing more exciting than ever and controversy all over the shop regarding the track, this year at Fort William was off the chain. For more action from our trip to the ‘Best World Cup on the circuit’, head over to
our YouTube channel, to see behind the scenes footage and plenty of chatting with the racers. Another year at Fort William is done. We’ll see you there next year!