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Downhill

Seventh Heaven

Long live the king in the north

20 World Cup wins, seven Fort William wins, three in a row. Greg Minnaar’s stats are simply unparalleled.

Photos: Seb Schieck

As the old cliche goes – “never count him out”. Greg looks poised for more this year and a series overall is very much a possibility.

Fort William was a Tour de Force from the most successful male downhill rider of all time. In qualifying he put three seconds into the field, in race runs he had the wettest track to ride on and the most chewed up woods to plough through but he still managed to pull two seconds on the rest of the field. Whatever the secret formula here is he’s keeping tight lipped about it, and who can blame him when he’s turned Fort William into Fort Minnaar.

A crowd favourite, and he always will be. Minnaar delivered for the Fort Bill masses once again.

Hot on Minnaar’s heels was Jack Moir and Intense. It’s been a long time since an Intense rider clinched a podium at a World Cup and we’re glad to see them back. Jack and his fellow Aussies made the Highlands a home-from-home this weekend with four of them in the top ten while there was only one space for a Brit in the form of Laurie Greenland.

Intense, we’ve missed you.

In the women’s race, Atherton’s unfortunate departure meant her winning streak was finally broken. Tracey Hannah mopped up the spoils and brought home her first win in five years as well as rocketing to a healthy lead in the overall. There’s going to be a fight on for that leader’s jersey for the rest of the year.

There was Brit success in the juniors with both Meg James and Matt Walker taking home the golds. Under the tutelage of Tracey Moseley, Meg James has gone from XC whippet to downhill World Cup winner in just over a year, we hope she makes it out to more rounds this year.

Nine races into her downhill career and already XC convert Meg James has a very bright future ahead of her.

Juniors

Meg James' first World Cup and she won it by nearly 9 seconds. Looks like Britain's domination of women's downhill is set to continue for a while
Cougoureux's dominance in qualifying didn't quite translate into the race. The European champ rolled home third and looked devastated as Walker's celebrations rolled around him.
Finn looked pissed as he clattered into the finish area, he definitely feels like he cost himself the win.
Yes! The British champ delivers on home soil.
The future's bright, the future's orange (and yellow, red, grey, and black)
A puncture in the World Cup here last year, a puncture in the BDS a couple of weeks ago, finally Matt Walker gets some luck at the Bill.
A top ten elite time and second fastest top split of the day. Watch this space.

Women

All streaks come to an end and Rachel's was finally extinguished in Fort William. Her shoulder popped out in the woods meaning she had to sit out the race. Rumour is she may actually be back for Leogang though.
Morgane Charre picked up her first podium since Fort William last year, she must like it here!
Manon's push through the woods cost her time but she went one better than Lourdes and finished fourth.
One of the smoothest through the woods, it seemed like Emilie Siegenthaler couldn't believe how well she'd done. She collapsed on the hotseat next to an ecstatic Bernard Kerr. Third is the best ever result for the Swiss rider.
Myriam Nicole held it together through the woods but couldn't quite find that extra lick to hold off Hannah
Despite her crashes, Tahnee seemed able to laugh it off in her race run, throwing down some style on the motorway and launching her goggles into the crowd.
Pure Aussie grit. It was hard work for everyone but Trace sailed through to take the win.
Mick was first over the barriers to congratulate his sister before rushing up to the gondola to deliver a tenth place of his own.
Five years in the making, Little Trace has her second World Cup win.

Men

You just can't beat the Fort William fans. Every rider cheered home and deafening roars for anyone who took the hotseat. These guys' caps said : "make Warner drink again" for anyone wondering
#GregWinnaar
Not quite the stellar ride from last year for Brayton but a solid seventeenth gives him plenty of points on a lottery track
Marcelo's looking as good as he did in 2015 this year. He's hustled himself on to the number two plate and we'd like to see anyone brave enough to try and take it off him
After a couple of barren years on Scott, Mulally is back charging again. Seventh place despite a scrappy woods section
An awesome weekend for Jacob Disckon who delivered a 22nd place finish on a great weekend for Giant
Laurie Greenland put down the early marker despite carrying a knock. He would finish ninth as the top ranked Brit.
A top thirty for Eliot Jackson and the Giant team are looking really strong again this year.
Bruni still pushed on hard and was rewarded with a fourteenth place to keep his overall challenge alive
A long stay in the hotseat made it look like another win may have been on the cards for Brosnan
He's got that nickname for a reason. Mick Hannah threw down the suicide and finished tenth. A pretty good family outing all things considered.
Brosnan ended up just off the podium in sixth. He was flying all weekend though and is only a portion of luck away from a big result
A solid fifteenth for Brannigan means he's closer to where he wants to be. He'll be hunting for more of the top tens he was delivering last year as the season goes on though.
Second in qualies but some bad luck on Sunday for Vergier - his time is coming
Deathgripping through the motorway, Danny's had winning pace at both races this year but sits 53rd in the overall. His luck will surely change soon.
Mad style and a toboggan over the Visit Scotland jump from Bernard Kerr
One of four Aussie's in the top ten, Fearon's enjoying a quietly successful start to the season
Another solid result for Wallace as he continues to re-find his form. 12th for the Canadian.
Sam Hill nabbed a top 20 on an apparently cruisy run. We hope he makes it to Worlds but the Aussie team will be stacked with hungry riders this year.
Not to be for Bruni, a victim of the bog in qualies and race run.
What could have been for Gwin. small mistakes cost him and he knows it, there was definitely a win on the cards.
Just over a year ago this man was apparently on the verge of quitting the sport for good after three broken collar bones in six months. Second yesterday and there's plenty more still to come.
Jack's stay in the hotseat was absolutely raucous, a fair few Aussies were in the house and going beserk
A crowd favourite, and he always will be. Minnaar delivered for the Fort Bill masses once again.
Got to love a Kathy Sessler special
Ain't no finish line party like a Syndicate finish line party
Absolute pandemonium in the finish area after Minnaar's win
The media presence at the Bill is also huge with even the BBC coming along
G.O.A.T
Big talking points from a weekend in the Highlands

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