What could have been – a day of carnage
Words: Jim Smith. Photos: Ian Lean.
Today should have been practice and qualifying for the downhill riders at Fort William World Cup 2015. But instead we were greeted with the sort of weather only an otter and his soggy pockets could love.
Last night we were told to dismantle our pits or face devastation by the 50mph winds and after listening to howling winds all night the signs didn’t look good for any riding today. Rolling into site this morning we found that the busiest action was the queue in the cafe and all the bikes were hidden away in trucks, trailers and vans.
The UCI set an 11am deadline for a decision and with no sign of the wind abating, the decision was made to cancel the days running and run an ultra-early 6.45 practice session on Sunday for junior men, including our very own Charlie Hatton.
“It’s a bit of a shame with the weather conditions, but I’m sure the British fans won’t disappoint! My bike and kit is all custom to fundraiser for a charity so massive boost for me and it’s awesome being able to get the public involved! Buzzing for Sunday.”
“Yeah man, I had a wicked day on Friday! There was so much traction up top and the woods were nice and techy! I banged myself up a bit but it was all good!”
We braved a trip up the gondola to check out the track and the mass of ripped course tape, blown down marker poles and torrents of water pouring down the hill. It’s not surprising it didn’t take the UCI long to decide that it just wasn’t safe for riders, marshals or spectators to be here. It’s a wild old hill sometimes!
“I had a decent day on the hill on Friday. The morning was great then slowly the wind picked up which made the top section challenging – you don’t want to take your wheels off the ground! The woods also got trucker throughout the day so I was battling on down for timed training. It’s the same for everyone though and the weather always plays such a big part here. You’ve just got to take what Fort William throws at you!”
Despite the lack of on-track action there was still plenty going on in the pits. Danny Mac turned up in town with his roadshow and put on a great show for the sodden crowd.
“Yeah man, Friday was wicked! The track wass running amazing till you hit the woods. Then it’s like resident evil! Bodies everywhere and a proper mess! But i love it!”
We also spotted these little rippers, apparently totally unaware of the driving rain and just loving life!
The plan for tomorrow is that we’ll have a super early practice, followed by the start of qualifying at 8.50 and then race runs begin at 11.45 for juniors, 12.45 for ladies and 13.45 for men. Here’s hoping for better weather!