The Fort William Downhill Endurance was staged annually between 2008 and 2012 on the internationally renowned track at Nevis Range. Riders had six hours to complete as many runs of the 2.82 km track as they could, using their physical strength and stamina, reflexes, bike control and eye for the right line.
The course is a full-on, flat-out, no-compromise charge down the face of Aonach Mor, the ninth highest mountain in the UK. A succession of big jumps and bumps, berms, drop-offs, rock slabs and technical natural sections provided plenty of challenges for the riders, all the way from the top gondola station at 655m to the magnificent finish section above the Nevis Range car park.
Unlike normal downhill races, in which riders race individually against the clock, the Fort William Downhill Endurance used a Le Mans-style mass start. After a short run to the top of the first descent, riders raced as fast as possible to the bottom where they caught the gondola to the traditional start of the track. From there it was simple – as many descents as possible in six hours on one bike.
In 2008, six riders managed to complete an incredible 18 runs of the stamina-draining track, with the title of fastest overall going to local Fergus Lamb. Other winners over the years included veteran Alastair Maclennan, who took the 2011 edition as one of seven riders who completed 12 laps. In 2012, the last time the race was contested, the overall win went to James Shirley.