Club Med Comes to Scotland

Fort William Day 1: Practice

It was pretty much perfect. For riders, mechanics and spectators, the sun shone all day long and everything went to plan (from the outside at least).

Photos: Seb Schieck, Ben Winder and Callum Philpott

Fort William in the dry feels like a rarity, but we reckon that there have been more dry World Cups here than wet. Today felt great. Everyone was in a good mood; yesterday’s Steve Smith memorial ride had seemingly settled the racers nerves, most looked confident and happy to be on track.

It is a big weekend for this guy, but one that he should thoroughly enjoy. There is no pressure on Steve Peat as he races the Fort William World Cup for the last time. It is bound to be emotional, but this is a celebration.

And the track is ridiculously dry… and hard, oh so hard. We’ve said it so many times before, but once more just for the record: Fort William is a beast, it will batter both you and your bike and not give a damn. You need to treat this track with some respect, one misjudgment, one wrong move and you could be down A&E for a bit of plaster work! The surface up top is loose… ball bearings, marbles… whatever you want to call it (the track was even being swept apparently), grip and braking is paramount here.

Dry as a bone, even in the pits!

And even though is looks like it will stay dry for the entire race weekend, there is still the cooling and untamed northerly wind to contend with. This is a mountain, and things can change quickly up here, a slight breeze and whip up into something much more dangerous very quickly.


There's a lot of talent on show... Adam Brayton!
Are people happy with the dry conditions? Hell yeah. Masters and Chapman are.
The one and only Andy Kyffin, dragged out of 'retirement' o mechanic for Peaty for 'one last time'.

There were plenty of punctures today, in fact there were too many to remember. Loose spokes too. Bikes need to be treated with care and attention, riders need to keep their eye on them.

Tahnee Seagrave is not her best due to injury. Last week at the BDS in Bala she ripped/tore part of the muscle/ligament off her elbow/forearm. She is in a lot of pain, but she is racing.

Time practice went down, but to tell you the truth looking at them and trying to decipher tactics and ‘reasons’ is a lottery. Bring it on.

Sleight of hand from Manon Carpenter. It is all smoke and mirrors.
Come on Katy (Curd), hang on in there. Style for miles.
Manon is coming back from an illness last weekend. She was second fastest woman today
You can afford to relax with ten seconds on your competition after one day
The woods… the ‘new’ woods. Short and sweet but at least it has got the riders thinking. This section is constantly changing… shifting around. Ruts are forming, and alternative routes being sort. Rafael Gutierrez hits it as the rest look on.
A funny old day for Josh Bryceland. Looking good but with two odd crashes, one higher up on a jump and one lower down on the motorway. Best to get them out of the way early.
Come on Matt Walker, you want to keep that nice looking number one plate don’t you!?
We’ve no idea. Buffing for wind resistance? Midge removal? Or just because it looks nice? Propain Dirt Zelvy.
These two (and the rest of the team) are loving life at the moment. After a first and a third for Innes Graham and Phil Atwill the good times are rolling.
Two crashes and two punctures on a tough day for Brosnan
With Bruni out, Vergier is taking the lead role for the Gravity Republic
Blenki stays gloveless even on the roughest track of the year
No signs of slowing down yet, 31st in timed training for Peaty
Finn Iles took a nasty spill but pulled himself together for a fourth fastest run in the juniors
The king of the Bill kept his cards to his chest today. We'll get a real measure of his pace omorrow
Fairclough is rocking the sleekest kit on the hill this weekend
You can bet that every bot is checked and double checked in the YT pits.
Your current World Cup leader Aaron Gwin. He has to be one of the favourites for the win on Sunday.
Rupert Chapman and that summertime Fort William feel.
The lengths that people go to. This is taking 'visualising the course' to a different level. The FMD/Seagrave pits.
Man of the day - he wants this very, very badly


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