“One of the hardest races ever” | Fort William World Cup Photo Story.

Ian Lean was shooting like a man possessed at the weekend and has beamed us countless bangers from a wild World Cup in the Highlands of Scotland.

Grab a brew and a biscuit and get your teeth stuck into some golden celluloids from our man Ian Lean who spent the weekend on the hill capturing the World’s fastest doing their thing.

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Photos by Ian Lean.

Forget Minnaar, forget Tracey, the crew at Wideopenmag were buzzing to see Vero Sandler slap an ankle brace on and get herself on the telly. Riding with an injury is never fun, but Vero set about it and came away with a top result.
You would be daft to bet against Minnaar at Fort William. 2 seconds clear of his French team mate in qualis the South African clipped four seconds off that time to pip Jack Moir by three in the finals. A superlative run from the veteran in the race he described as “one of the hardest races ever”
The only female rider to break the 50kph barrier in Fort William, when will we see Manon Carpenter return to the top step where she belongs? A few lie downs saw her off the pace but still in fourth at the end of the day.
Despite being a cool 13 seconds of Rachel Atherton in qualifying, Tracey Hannah was a comfortable 10 ahead of Myriam Nicole in finals, with Atherton out of contention. Her first World Cup win since Pietermaritzburg in 2012 must have felt good!
Young guns flying. Kaos and Kade in tandem but things wouldn’t be this close come Sunday. Kade finished 4th in both runs when it mattered, while Kaos finished 9th on Saturday and the dice were not kind to him on Sunday.
There she is! Vero Sandler entering the final woods section before the motorway. 10th in qualis and 12th in finals had us all losing our nut. The future is bright for this one!
Bulldog slinging her past the ‘big’ wallride. A consistent weekend for the Kiwi with top 20s in speed traps and race runs. We’re hoping the GT Factory Racing pinner can rediscover the magic of Val D’Isere soon.
Cube Global Squad’s Matt Walker throwing a sweet turndown at the top of the motorway. Matt couldn’t capitalise on a 4th through the speed trap in qualis but was happy not to end the weekend in hospital this time around.
Any caption other than “eyes on the prize” is unacceptable in a photo like this. Tracey Hannah within a handful of seconds away from ending a 5 year hiatus from the World Cup top step.
See above. Vero Sandler with two downslopes to catch before finishing a solid weekend everyone at Wideopenmag is proud of.
It was not to be Loris’ weekend, again. Despite getting within sniffing distance of his South African team mate in qualifying, his rear wheel would cack its pants, spoiling any chance of glory.
Our spidey senses detect that Gwin will be out for blood in Leogang. Having cleaned the notorious woods section, a simple front wheel washout would see the American throw away his chance of a win when it was all but his.
Yes, another Vero Sandler shot. Did we mention she killed it at the weekend with a dicky ankle? Fort William is not kind on contact points, so the result is even more amazing with that considered!
Yeah, Vero killed it and got both herself and Wideopenmag on Red Bull TV for the first time.
Healing vibes to Rachel Atherton who dislocated her shoulder in practice on Sunday having demolished the ladies’ field by 13 seconds the previous day. Can anyone catch her?
The Keswick Kestrel just scraped qualifying with a 77th and made good his second chance by coming hope in 17th in finals. It’s not the 4th he’d have wanted but that is still cooking on gas!
Close, but no cigar. Jack Moir looked poised for his first World Cup win but had to contend with watching the King of Fort William go green on the splits from the hot seat. Impressive riding from the young Aussie.
Podium positions mean different things to different people. Gwin had the face of a man chewing a wasp in third, Jack Moir was stoked to be on the box with legends in second and Minnaar, well, this just confirms he’s not going anywhere.
Whenever you think Minnaar is going to start to slow, or the kids are going to get to fast. BOOM. Three seconds faster that Moir into driving rain that only the Syndicate man had to contend with. Pure class.
4 seconds. No wonder Gwin was pissed. Watch out for some very fast gents trying to prove a point in Austria.

What a weekend! For what it’s worth, the woods sure did throw up some exciting racing and it’s still tight at the top.

Keep an eye out for Big Dave’s Leogang World Cup predictions coming soon!