Fort William 2017: Track Walk

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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.

Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
The perfect stage indeed. Just try not to clip your head as you pass through.

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.

Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
The new section is well marked, thankfully, for the riders.

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.

Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Old grey track, turns into new sandy freshness.

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.

Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Fort Bill has some of the most recognisable trails on the downhill circuit. It’s remembering each of them that’s the problem.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
See, it doesn’t look too bad from here…right?
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
It’s all in the details. Grip provided by purposely placed chicken wire.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
The recognisable board walk out of the start gate at the top of the mountain. Shrouded in mist on Thursday afternoon.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
And the bone shakery begins now.

Tweet, ‘gram within 3 miles of the event village and your post will appear in our live feed – or use the hashtag #stwfortbill

Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
See that over there? Yep, that’s the line we’ll be taking.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Our man Ross taking the new section for a spin. Reckon you can hit that big booter on the left?
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
That fresh top coat may not last too long if the weather deteriorates.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
The mist set in today, while riders tried to scope out the hot-ticket lines.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Punch bags, you really want to avoid.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
The new section is well marked, thankfully, for the riders.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Watch out for those stumps, and their slippery roots.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
New track, means new drainage…or is that the old track?
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Fresh dirt should give the riders something extra to think about on their race runs.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Darting through the trees, winding through the ribbon of tape.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
A few seconds of sanctuary before the rough stuff continues.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
It’s not a walkers game, this Fort Bill stuff.

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Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Line choices are paramount when it comes to the wooded sections. Choose carefully we say.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Indeed, unless you’re reading this sign.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
The hot-ticket tips.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Woodland road gaps, landing onto slippery roots separates the pros from the weekend heroes.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
A ‘small’ river gap leads riders into the last wooded section of Fort Bill.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
The last wall ride before dropping onto the motorway section.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
Descending under the chairlift and down into the arena.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
It’s only a quick section to grab your breath before it’s back into the trees.
Fort William World Cup - Track Walk
The Scottish fans do it right.
Fort William World Cup 2017
Down into the finish arena. Let’s hope these flags aren’t blowing all too much come race day.

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.

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