Rich Thomas’ Fort William World Cup round up

Rich Thomas spills the beans on his Fort William weekend and best ever World Cup result. Hit him up @richthomas24 

So Val Di Sole was laid to rest and we hopped in Berny Kerr’s fun-bus for the long drive up to Fort William, BK trucked it out and we aimed to be the first guys to Fort William, 3.30pm Tuesday we arrived, no stress! #buslife!

The weather report again looked messy and the midge forecast was even worse, I love Fort William, but if there is one thing I hate, it’s those little bastards!

The next few days would be relatively steady, some nice weather actually to our surprise and some good light riding with Hannah Barnes, no pun intended, there is some top banana trail riding around the Fort and we got the grand tour. On Thursday it was business time, time to walk the track and get sign on dealt with. The track looked real smart, some interesting new jumps and cool wooded section, and still the weather was holding off so it was bone dry! To say the least, I couldn’t wait to get amongst it on the first day of practice…

So Friday morning came in and the weather was still decent for the first day of riding. The track was running so smooth if a little loose, as Gwin found out for himself. I felt good straight away and just had some fun during practice smashing some runs with BK and Elliot Jackson, everything was swell.

Quail day came round and still the rain held off. The track was getting more and more beat up by now so I knew quails would just be a ‘playing it safe’ deal, no crashes, no punctures or mechanicals. I had a good few hours of practice then did exactly as I wanted, nice and steady, solid run, I came down in 32nd which is awesome nowadays and I was buzzing to place that high with a safe run! Confidence up, it was to bed early and thinking about race day!

I spent the early hours of Sunday morning wide awake as the rain was hammering on the roof of the van. It was going to be an epic one. I started practice early, roll offs on and waterproof jacket on. I did a few steady ones on the wet but surprisingly very grippy track. After that I put some Lana Del Ray on the mp3 and put my feet up! I was game for it, I love all that epic wet weather stuff, everybody hides in their vans but I think it makes for good racing.

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Come race-run time everything went into autopilot and I just took it as standard. I got my pusher, went to the top with videographer Tim Lake, warmed up, rode the sucker down, pulled some roll offs, pedalled and had a bloody good time with all the British supporters going mental. I had a proper good solid run, weather and track conditions considered, finishing up in 25th, my best World Cup result to date, beating a 30th at Champery in 2010! STOKED!

So a massive thanks to all the sponsors especially Aaron Hay from Fox Europe for looking after me good and proper over the race weekend!!

All the best – I’m off the states now to race Windham and Mont St Anne. Look out for some epic coverage from over there!



Rich would also like to thank the guys at Hutton Moor for helping him out with his training:

All images here by Jacob Gibbins – cheers Milkpro!