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It's All Downhill From Here!

@theplyguys

Fort William, Scotland

May 2024


Rocks, drops, jumps, crashes (feel for you Minnaar, hope you're okay!!) and huge sends from all the riders rippin down the course at Fort Bill!



The Downhill World Cup at Fort William, Scotland, held from May 3-5, 2024, was an epic showdown of skill, speed, and pure adrenaline at Aonach Mòr, Scotland… only 1hr 40mins from the Farm. This seasons opener for the UCI Downhill World Cup brought the world's best riders to one of the most challenging and thrilling courses on the circuit, delivering unforgettable moments and edge-of-your-seat excitement. Plus being the first in the season, it was midgey free this year too.



Week finished at the farm with some sick builds, the week before Fort Bill we had our first Nissan Interstar build through the Farm, since then we’ve had another and they’re quite a nice platform to work with, so if you’re in the market for a large un they might be worth checking out.

 


Machines off and workshop cleaned down, it was time to pack the vans and get up the road. We were staying at Wildcamp not too far away from the event in Torlundy. They have a shuttle bus to get you to and from the event which is ace, the other shuttles from the car parks in Fort William and Spean Bridge can be riotously busy so this save’s quite a bit of time. Plus…. It’s got a tent and a bar. Yasss.



Rocked up at the campsite around 9pm and instantly bumped into some past and future customers, so was great to share a beer and chat all things vans (and bikes).

 


Morning came and the hanger was dusted off. Time to check out the hill. There had been a good few updates to the track since last year, so we decided to take the gondola up and take the winding walk down to really get a good view of all the features. Bryn the Bernese cross Golden Retriever came too, so if you saw someone struggling down the trackside getting pulled by a small grizzly bear, that would have been me. 

 


New gaps, drops, jumps. I wanted to ride it! But these riders are something else. Seeing practice sessions and then qualifying the speed was mental. 

 


The atmosphere was something else, even on qualifying day. And… the weather, banging.

 


As even it’s amazing to also walk around the paddock, checking out all the teams and bikes. Some lovely shiney clean whips down in those tents. 

 


Bus back to Wildcamp and time to cook up some tea in the van’s before a few beers by the firepit. Roll on race day.



The buzz was nuts. Race day we actually got the gondola up again. I could have really got towed up there by the dog instead but the gondola seemed a bit more appealing. 



The Elite Women's race was up first. Valentina Höll, reigning UCI Downhill World Champion, blazed down the mountain with a time of 4:41.424, narrowly edging out Nina Hoffmann and Tahnee Seagrave. Höll's performance, pulling back time in the fast-flowing bottom half of the course, was a masterclass, these girls are seriously quick. What a win, and close till the very end. 



In the Elite Men's, the legendary Loïc Bruni finally conquered Fort William, smashing down the track in a rediculous 4:04.264. After ten attempts, Bruni's win was nothing short of epic, outpacing rivals Troy Brosnan and Finn Iles, who finished second and third respectively. The intensity and precision of Bruni's run set the bar sky-high for the season.

Dakotah Norton and Luca Shaw rounded out the top five in the Men's competition, while Camille Balanche and Gloria Scarsi completed the Women's podium. Greg Williamson and Reece Wilson also put on strong performances, representing the local talent with pride and determination. Greg Minnaar also had a pretty big smash, which we ended up by chance being right next to. I mean, at that speed it probably would have ended me, so fair play for getting back on it and carry on. Good lad. 



Fort William's track, known for its technical demands and epic atmosphere, once again proved why it's a favourite among riders and fans alike. The combination of challenging terrain and the sheer energy of the crowd made this event a spectacular kick-off to the downhill racing season. Roll on the rest of the races.



Now it’s time for a ride out….
















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