All the action from Josh, Greg and Peaty at Fort William from the lens of John Lawlor. Enjoy!
Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Josh Bryceland had confidence all week and carried it through to his final race run taking the fifth spot on the podium at the third round of the UCI World Cup Downhill Series. Greg Minnaar came 6th and Steve Peat was 77th as he attempted a race run after suffering a badly torn hamstring muscle the day before.
Fort William was dry and dusty all week and the midges were out in full force! Fans were as enthusiastic as ever and crowds swarmed the hill as much as the midges. The mechanics had the Shimano/Fox equipped V-10’s dialed each day for practice and the boys were training and getting up to speed together. They had fun on the track walk when Peaty had a BBQ up on the track for a feature for “This Is Peaty”. The week was unfolding well.
Qualifier day spirits were high, but on the last training run Steve had a crash and injured himself. His front wheel washed out and when it slid his legs spread apart and he felt a pop. Rolling to the bottom of the hill Steve couldn’t walk into the medical tent so he rolled on in. Upon examination it was determined that he had a bad tear of his left hamstring. Wanting to keep the possibility of racing open he chose to do the qualifier by just rolling out of the start gate (which is all he needed to do as a top 20 protected rider to qualify). Greg ended up qualifying 6th knowing he could make more time and Josh’s form netted him a 7th place qualifier.
Not having had any rain in six weeks it was no surprise that race day would be the day to rain! Steve didn’t practice in the morning while waiting to see if he would be up for the challenge of the race. He got a good taping from first aid and with pain meds onboard he decided to race. Out of the gate he was going for it giving it a proper go and feeling fast. Then he went down on a wet bridge and had to walk back up to get his bike. He carried on, but wanted to stay out of the way of the next few riders so he cruised from there. Josh took to the course and riding very well and moved into the 3-man hot seat to wait. Greg started off attacking the top and managed to hit a rock and damage his chain ring, thus inhibiting his effort for the rest of the run. He gave it the best he had but the chain was off by the bottom where he could have put the hammer down and just missed the podium by .08 seconds, but was stoked for teammate Bryceland as he was 5th scoring his second career UCI World Cup podium!
Greg says, “ I’m obviously disappointed with finishing 6th but at the same time it could have been worse. I slammed a rock really hard quite high up on the track and bent my chain ring. My chain stayed on for most of the race but derailed towards the bottom. It was just a stupid mistake but could easily happen because of the ever-changing course with the rain. The great positive for the weekend was seeing Ratty podium in his home country!”
Steve reflects on his week, “Mix bag of feelings for me after Fort William. I felt awesome on my Santa Cruz V-10 in practice but had an unlucky fall on my last run before qualifying. I managed to do a Bambi on ice and ripped my hamstring pretty badly!! I had to roll out the gate in the qualifier so I could manage the pain and try to ride finals. With no practice Sunday morning and a little rain, I didn’t know how to attack my run and ended up slipping off the first wooden bridge and over a turn (same happened at Worlds in 07!!!). So, all in all, you can imagine how pissed off I am. Other than that the crowds were unreal again and thanks to the medics, Kathy Sessler and the Syndicate crew for getting me back on the hill. Hitting the Physio hard from now till MSA!!
Still buzzing from his podium finish Josh says, “Fort William weekend was a lot of fun. Over the last two races there has been a bit of bad luck for me and my team and friends, but it was nice to end it off with a podium result! The V-10 has never felt better down the Fort and the new Fox forks are unbelievable. Thanks a lot to the Syndicate and everyone who has helped me get on top of another podium from Rob Copeland, Dan Critchlow, my girlfriend Becky and my family! Looking forward to keeping the ball rolling into Canada!!”
Josh moves up in the overall points to 9th, Greg stays in 2nd 85 points behind Gwin and 70 points ahead of Gee. Steve drops to 26th overall with 156 points.
The next two World Cups are just around the corner and Steve is working on rehabbing the hamstring as much as possible before MSA.
Elite Men’s Results:
1 Aaron Gwin 4:48.21
2 Danny Hart 4:49.04
3 Gee Atherton 4:50.72
4 Sam Hill 4:51.74
5 Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) 4:53.26
6 Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) 4:53.33
7 Joe Smith 4:55.14
8 Sam Dale 4:55.35
9 Matt Simmonds 4:55.59
10 Cameron Cole 4:55.77
77 Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) 8:07.5
1 Aaron Gwin 650
2 Greg Minnaar 565
3 Gee Atherton 495
4 Danny Hart 355
5 Sam Hill 334
6 Steve Smith 302
7 Marc Beaumont 293
8 Mick Hannah 288
9 Josh Bryceland 257
10 Remi Thirion 237
26 Steve Peat 156