The summer has somehow swung around again, and now it’s time for Fort William to host the second round of the 2017 UCI Downhill World Cup. Fort William is one of the biggest and most anticipated rounds on the downhill circuit, yet for the last few years, the brutal bike-breaking and arm pumping track has only seen a few minor changes to the course, mostly down to maintenance more than anything else.
This year though things are different. Track designers have taken to the hill, to bring us a fresh new ribbon of trail, built around half way down the mountain, just after the well known ‘deer gate’. From the fast and rock-filled top section, riders turn right, rather than left and dive into a new rhythm style section, before dropping into the woods. With a series of wide and ‘railable’ berms, a bunch of crazy sized gaps, and some equally crazy tech-sections, this new strip of man-made downhill wizardry should prove popular with the riders waiting to hit the track over the course of the weekend.
With timed practice taking place on Friday, before qualifying on Saturday and then the big race day on Sunday, many (if not all) of the elite and team riders took to the hill on Thursday, to scope out lines and see what this new section of track had to offer.
We performed our best ‘look like a downhill pro’ blending in effort, and eased into one of the famous gondalas, taking us to the top of the UCI Fort William track. From there, a swift (hour or so) slip ‘n’ slide hike down the mountain, gave us the chance to bring you some of the best parts, of what is going to prove to be an exciting track and race for 2017.
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We’ll be bringing you plenty more coverage from the 2017 UCI Fort William World Cup over the weekend. Keep up to date across all our social media by searching for @singletrackmag and head over to our YouTube channel to catch up on the latest Video Logs from the event – search Singletrack Magazine and click subscribe, for plenty more exciting content to come.