Racing at it’s finest in the 2nd round of the 2017 UCI MTB worldcup in Fort William. The MS Mondraker team pointed out with some highlights, even the necessary ounce of luck was missing for a good team overall result.
Fort William is apart from Mont Sainte Anne THE classic track in mountain bike world cup downhill racing and this is the 15th worldcup edition on this infamous track. The track is very well know for its characteristics such as length, the woodless and hand build top section as well as the last section called the highway. The venue is also known for that it’s well attended and this year they had to stop ticket pre selling as they were already 15% over the previous year bookings.
The MS Racing program can’t really look back on many top results here in Fort William apart from Brook MacDonald’s 3rd place in 2011 and Emmeline Ragot’s victory in 2012. To keep the track attractive during all the years, the organizers always try to keep us entertained by changing parts of the track very year. The year one of the new sections caused a lot of controversial opinions and not all the riders weren’t happy about how this sector might change during the days.
Apart from this discussion the use or not use of 29” wheel bikes was the dominating topic in the pits. Quite a few teams were working on their version of 29” wheel fitting bikes and they got tested in Fort William in the British Downhill series race 3 weeks before the world cup. With a victory of Danny in the pocket we decided to insert the one bike we have got to keep up in the battle of material with one rider,. Laurie was testing in a different direction with a lock-out shock and Markus kept his current setup, which he felt confident on.
While it was expected that the field will be dominated by a 29” wheeled Laurie shocked the competitors with a time of 4:42:318 1,6 seconds ahead of 2nd place and 2,1 seconds ahead of the first 29er.
Unfortunately after this promising time- which was the fastest of the weekend- things went different than we hoped for. Laurie crashed in his qualifications run, Markus had a puncture and had to repair the tire to be able to finish his qualifying run and Danny simply didn’t had the perfect run you need to finish the qualification in first position.
The finals showed a similar picture: Markus the first to come down struggled in the top part and almost got kicked off the bike. Laurie was a little bit handicapped because of his crash on the day before. He managed to clear the very difficult and controversial wood section and a clean run flushed him into 9th place. Danny came into the wood section with one of the fastest split times, but crashed at the entry of the wood section and another time in the woods- luckless he ended up again in unsatisfying 59th place.
These results set us back to the 7th place in the team overall- we have to buck up now and strike back. Stay tuned for the 3rd round of the 2017 UCi world cup, which takes place in Leogang next weekend.