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.

Fort William Prac 17
Fort William Prac 17

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.

Fort William Prac 12
Fort William Prac 12

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.

Fort William Prac 5
Fort William Prac 5
Are people happy with the dry conditions? Hell yeah. Masters and Chapman are.
Fort William Prac 14
Fort William Prac 13
Fort William Prac 13

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.

Fort William Prac 15

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.

Fort William Prac 9
Fort William Prac 9
Come on Katy (Curd), hang on in there. Style for miles.
Katy Curd
Manon is coming back from an illness last weekend. She was second fastest woman today
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WC_Fort_William_2016_14_2934
Fort William Prac 18
Fort William Prac 18
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Fort William Prac 19
Fort William Prac 2
Fort William Prac 2
Fort William Prac 3
Fort William Prac 3
Fort William Prac 1
Fort William Prac 1
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Fort William Prac 20
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WC_Fort_William_2016_14_0902
With Bruni out, Vergier is taking the lead role for the Gravity Republic
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WC_Fort_William_2016_14_2680
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WC_Fort_William_2016_82A8644
Finn Iles took a nasty spill but pulled himself together for a fourth fastest run in the juniors
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WC_Fort_William_2016_14_1565
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WC_Fort_William_2016_14_2348
Fort William Prac 11
Fort William Prac 11
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Fort William Prac 21
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Fort William Prac 6
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Fort William Prac 7
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WC_Fort_William_2016_14_0998