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.
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.
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 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.
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.