DAY 3 – 8th JUNE
A third consecutive sunny day has put an end to the traditional gloomy weather that everyone has come to expect at the World Cup at Fort William.
The dry conditions made the going even more extreme as the track got rougher and rougher and lines learned by riders previously had to be relearned as they hurtled down looking for glory in front of the thousands of spectators raising the roof in the arena.
The third day was a brilliant finale to a spectacular weekend at the Nevis Range venue. A huge crowd was there to witness the finish as both races went right down to the wire.
In the women’s event, Tracy Moseley put behind her the disappointing start to the season she’s had, and her problems at the venue at last year’s worlds, with a stunning victory over the two women of the season so far, Sabrina Jonnier and Rachel Atherton.
The men’s event was upset by the mercurial Greg Minnar of South Africa who beat Gee Atherton and Steve Peat (two Brits) onto the podium.
The Women’s Race
The women’s race was off to a bad start with a fallen rider causing a re-start for everyone but the top 10.
Tracy Moseley, one of those keen to take top spot in front of a home crowd, came down at a blistering pace in qualifying and then it was just wait and see if she could do the run again and take a well-earned win. Compatriot and rival Rachel Atherton, high from her success the previous week, had other plans, as did probably quite a few other of the girls, including world number one Frenchwomen Sabrina Jonnier.
The atmosphere was electric and Tracy, having had a disappointing start to the season, showed her home crowd what she was made of by beating the second spot by 4 seconds in a blistering finish.
As part of the celebrations of the 100th DH World Cup Tracy was presented with a ceremonial Highland Sword to go with the shield she won back in 2002.
“I’m over the moon with that, I’ve not had the best start to the year and I knew I had to pull something out of the bag today and I knew this was as good a place as any to do it. To get the chance to win in front of the home crowd again is just amazing. Someone said yesterday do your ride from last year, you deserve it!. To be honest I hadn’t really thought about it, until after it and I was “why couldn’t this have been last September?” The conditions were incredibly dry and that made it even tougher, it certainly was a hard race. This track certainly seems to suit my riding style so we’ll have to see what happens now at the World Champs, it’s a different track and different country so we’ll see. Hopefully that’ll be good too,” she said.
1. MOSELEY Tracy GBR KONA 5:20.87
2. JONNIER Sabrina FRA TEAM MAXXIS +4.14
3. ATHERTON Rachel GBR ANIMAL COMMENCAL +5.89
4. SUEMASA Mio JPN MS-INTENSE FACTORY-RACING + 14.77
5. BUHL Melissa USA + 24.32
The Men’s Race
24 British riders took place in this race with 7 getting into the top 20 which shows what a depth of quality the UK has at the moment. Atherton and Peaty were vying for the top position only to be pipped at the posts by Greg Minaar of South Africa who shaved an incredible 3 seconds off Atherton’s time.
Minaar was delighted with his win. “I’m just over the moon, it was so good to get revenge after the World Championships. After recovering from a few broken bones I’m back at the top of my game. The weather here is beautiful but the course is by far the hardest. The crowd has been amazing and it’s so nice to have so many followers from home behind me.”
1. MINNAAR Greg RSA SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE 4:43.52
2. ATHERTON Gee GBR ANIMAL COMMENCAL +3.17
3. PEAT Steve GBR SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE +3.90
4. RENNIE Nathan AUS SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE +4.67
5. HILL Samuel AUS MONSTER ENERGY +5.18
It looks like it’s gong to be a very closely fought series this year…