British Downhill Series #2 Fort William – Preview

Fort William BDS 2017

This coming weekend of the 13th and 14th of May is Round 2 of the HSBC UK National Downhill Series, presented by GT Bicycles. The tried and trusted BDS Team return for their 10th year to Fort William with British Cycling’s National Series, billed as a prestigious UCI Class 1 event. This means valuable UCI points for the top 15 fastest racers and a share of £5,000 in prize money.

fort william

There are almost 100 seasoned World Cup riders booked in for some valuable track time before the next World Cup, which is exactly three weeks later on. This weekend’s course will be 90% identical to what they’ll be racing on June the 4th. The differences being a new section after the Deer Gate, the woods section, and the big road gap that will be closed off, exclusively for the World Cup.

fort william bds

Last year’s Elite Men’s winner, MS Mondraker’s Danny Hart, clocked a time of four minutes and 36 seconds which was three seconds faster than his third place at the 2016 World Cup. Danny comes into Fort William with confidence after a successful start to the series where at Nant G he took the win in front of Trek factory Racings Gee Atherton by 1.7 seconds and Madison Saracen’s Matt Simmonds who he beat by 3.2 seconds.

Trek Factory Racing’s Rachel Atherton is on an unbeatable 24 race winning streak. Rachel has not lost a race since the Lourdes World Cup back in May 2015 (second place to Emmeline Ragot), that is if you exclude two Red Bull Foxhunt events. That said, the gap is closing, last year she won by 7:04 seconds in front of Madison Saracen’s Manon Carpenter. At Lourdes, last weekend on a level playing field on a three minute, twenty-second track, the top four were within 6 seconds of Rachel. She still won by a healthy margin but the pressure is on, especially on a track some 5 minutes and 12 seconds long.

The Venue

Nevis Range, Torlundy, Fort Willliam, Inverness-shire. PH33 6SQ. Scotland.

The Course

Length = 2.82km // Start altitude = 655m // Finish altitude = 100m // Vertical descent = 555m // Course rating (1–5 with 5 being very technical): Rating 4.

Spectating

Spectating will be free. Please note there is a fee for spectators to use the Gondola service, tickets are available at Nevis Range directly to purchase on the day. No advance booking is required.

Race Schedule

Saturday
09:30: Open Practice.
18:00: Course Closed.

Sunday
08:30: Open Practice for all riders.
11:15: Timed Seeding Run followed by one timed race run.
17:30: Podium for top five.

Live timing will be available for the whole of practice and race runs for all 320 riders via The Action Sports Timing Website.

Preview Content – Si Paton