Fort William’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup has been named No.1 on a list of the top 5 bike events for spectators in 2016 by major mountain bike sponsor, Red Bull.
Famed for its extreme descents, stunning views and hugely animated crowds, the Highland occasion has become arguably the most popular stop on the eight-event World Cup circuit.
Indeed, it is the only World Cup event to place within Red Bull’s global top 5, being joined by occasions in Canada, USA, Czech Republic and Estonia.
Highland Council, BUFF and Silverline are also among the supporters of the event, which has been funded through EventScotland’s International Programme annually since 2003.
This year’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Fort William, will take place on June 4-5, when the town will come alive with thousands of enthusiasts aiming to catch a glimpse of some of the sport’s biggest stars, including 2015 champion Rachel Atherton and the legendary Steve Peat, who will retire from World Cup racing at the end of the year.
Since joining the World Cup schedule in 2002, the Downhill at Fort William has become famous as a full-on, no compromise charge down the face of Aonach Mor, the 9th highest mountain in the UK. As competitors are well aware, the 2.8km course requires superb physical strength, instant reflexes, excellent bike control, an unerring eye for the right line and a lot of bottle.
Rock gardens, rock slabs, big jumps and technical natural sections add to the challenge all the way to the magnificent finishing section, where an incredible wall of sound awaits the competitors.
For the spectator, the difficulty of the terrain makes for one of the most exhilarating spectacles on the mountain biking calendar and, with new features and jumps incorporated in 2016, the upcoming edition looks set to be the best yet.
Excited at the prospect of returning to Scotland, World Champion, Rachel Atherton, said:
“I’m stoked to be racing at Fort William again. Winning there last year was an amazing rush and the support from the home crowd is epic. There’s such a buzz and everyone really gets behind the riders.
“The track is fierce – long, fast and brutal – with a gnarly woods section which catches a lot of riders out, so you really get to see some mad skills. There’s no better feeling than flying through the Scotland arch into the arena and sprinting for the line. And it’s awesome that those who can’t make it trackside can still catch all the action on Red Bull TV.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said:
“The Fort William UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is an incredibly important event for Scotland, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world to the Highlands and promoting Scotland’s image as the perfect stage for events covering all cycling disciplines through global media coverage.
“Year upon year, thousands of bikers make their way to Fort William and this incredible endorsement from Red Bull is a clear indication why. For the mountain bike spectator, there is no better experience to be had anywhere, and we should take great pride in having such a tremendous event of international acclaim in our own back yard.”
Mike Jardine from Rare Management, organisers of the Fort William UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and BUFF 4X Pro Tour weekend, said:
“Coming top in the Red Bull ranking is a fantastic endorsement of Fort William’s legendary status. We’ve got true Legends of the sport, such as Steve Peat, six-time Fort William winner Greg Minnaar and three-time World Champion Rachel Atherton competing in front of an incredibly passionate and vocal crowd, at a venue that has an unrivalled reputation within the global mountain biking community. How good is it? There’s only one way to find out. Come and join us in the Highlands on 4-5 June.”
Prices remain unchanged from last year’s event, with tickets costing from £14 for adults and £8 for children aged 6 – 17 years old. Family packages are also available starting from £36.
For further information and tickets for the Fort William UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill and the BUFF 4x Pro Tour, log-on to http://fortwilliamworldcup.co.uk/
Photo: Charné Hawkes
Steve Peat joins young riders in Glasgow to launch the UCI’s UK leg of the Mountain Bike World Cup
Former Downhill World Champion and mountain bike legend, Steve Peat, was in Glasgow to launch the Fort William stage of the 2016 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, set to be his last competitive appearance at the event.
The fan favourite, known on the circuit as ‘Peaty’, is retiring from World Cup racing at the end of the current downhill season following a career spanning 20 years and including 17 World Cup wins, 52 World Cup podiums and one World Championship.
This year’s Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup and BUFF® 4X Pro Tour will take place over the weekend of 4 and 5 June and promises to be more exciting than ever. Work is underway to add new technical features and jumps to the infamous 2.8km downhill course, while a host of attractions will be on offer to keep fans entertained.
As he prepares for his final World Cup event in front of a home crowd, the 41-year-old rider from Sheffield was joined in Glasgow by up and coming young riders to announce tickets going on sale. He said: “Competing at the Fort William World Cup has always meant a lot to me and it will be an emotional day saying goodbye to the fans and riders for the very last time.
“The atmosphere at the event is the best on the world circuit and it’s always been a proud moment riding in front of a home crowd. Winning at Fort William in 2005 is still up there as one of the best of my career and while I was really disappointed to miss out on last year’s event through injury, I promise to make my last Fort William one to remember.”
200 of the sport’s biggest stars, including 2015 World Champions, British rider Rachel Atherton, and France’s Loic Bruni, will be competing as they race against the clock down the slopes of Anoch Mor.
Alongside the downhill action, famous trials rider and YouTube record breaker Danny MacAskill will also be in attendance over the weekend with his Drop and Roll Street Trials team. The Red Bull athlete will be wowing the crowds with an array of tricks, which has seen the Scotsman build a huge fan base across the world.
Event organiser, Mike Jardine, from Rare Management, said: “The two-day event is a huge celebration in which riders and fans come together in a family friendly atmosphere for the only UK leg on the World Cup circuit.
“We expect this year to be extra special as the mountain bike community says goodbye to one of the true legends of the sport. The atmosphere will be electric and we’re looking forward to giving Peaty a true Fort William send-off.”
Over a quarter of a million fans have descended on Fort William since the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup came to the Highlands 14 years ago, delivering a £30m boost to the Highland economy since 2002.
The event, which is supported by EventScotland and Highland Council, is the third stage on the UCI World Cup Downhill calendar which kicked-off in Lourdes last weekend. It was recently named as the number one mountain biking event to attend in 2016 in a Red Bull Top 10 list.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We have supported the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for many years now and are looking forward to the 2016 event as much as ever.
“The event is hugely important for the Highlands and for Scotland as a whole, and we are sure that mountain bike lovers in their thousands are already making travel arrangements for this exhilarating weekend of action, which will include witnessing Steve’s final tilt at the Fort William title.”
Prices remain unchanged from last year’s event, with tickets costing from £14 for adults and £8 for children aged 6 – 17 years old. Family packages are also available starting from £36. For more details on the event and to buy tickets, visit www.fortwilliamworldcup.co.uk.
The Legends and all those wanting to become legends are now assembled in Lourdes, France, ready for the opening UCI Downhill World Cup this weekend.
This is where we find out who’s winter training has worked best, which bike changes are delivering – and who can tame the brutal, technical Lourdes course.
Throw a bit of mud in the mix and the stage is set for another classic opening to a stunning World Cup season.
Catch all of the action live on Red Bull TV.
BDS mudfest honours for Gee and Manon
The first BDS (British Downhill Series) race was held at Ae. A very muddy Ae, thanks to the odd Spring shower. Or two.
But class always delivers, with Gee Atherton and Manon Carpenter putting down early markers for the highly competitive BDS series.
Next is Nevis Range on 14/15 May, always a key test event for the World Cup some 2 weeks later.
Results BDS Ae, 2-3 April
Elite Men – 1: Gee Atherton, 2: Innes Graham, 3: Matt Simmonds
Elite Women – 1: Manon Carpenter, 2: Tahnée Seagrave, 3: Katy Curd
BDS Series 2016
Round 2 14th/15th May – Nevis Range, Fort William
Round 3 28th/29th May – Rhyd-Y-Felin
Round 4 25th/26th June – Moelfre
Round 5 27th/28th August – Revolution Bike Park, Wales.
Round 6 17th/18th September – Llangollen
Join the World Cup Crew
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a World Cup? This is your chance to sign up as a volunteer and join the legendary, hardworking crew that makes it all happen in Fort William!
Interested? Then fill in the application form here.
If you have any questions about volunteering please call Rare Management at 0131 555 3820 or email Annika at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us in June!
And just in case you haven’t got your tickets yet: Advance tickets (all prices maintained at 2015 levels) are available now. If you want to guarantee a ticket with gondola access at the best price, buy your tickets now.