Fans beat the weather to enjoy thrilling first day at Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup

Fans set for super downhill Sunday

Thousands of mountain biking enthusiasts refused to let difficult weather conditions spoil their day as they descended on Fort William to enjoy an action packed start to the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and BUFF® 4X Pro Tour.

With downhill qualifying postponed until tomorrow, an action-packed Super Sunday awaits those looking for their gravity fix in the mountain bike mecca that is Fort William – with practice, qualifying and racing all scheduled to go ahead tomorrow.

Today’s attention was all on the BUFF® 4X Pro Tour, and the hardy fans weren’t disappointed as Dutchman Joost ‘The Moose’ Wichmann rode to the top of the podium in front of a damp, but passionate crowd.

Wichmann overcame treacherous track conditions, which saw many of his competitors crash out over the course of the day, to beat British hero Scott Beaumont into second place claiming the men’s BUFF® 4X Pro Tour title.

Speaking after his lung bursting final race, Joost said: “It feels great to have finally won a final, after leading in the last few stages and just missing out on a couple of occasions. This is a really special moment for me and it’s definitely one to tick off the bucket list!

“The track was wet, but it’s been built to withstand heavy rain so it didn’t affect me too much. If anything, the conditions suited me and gave me enough grip on the track to pull through and get the win. 

“The crowd and the atmosphere in Fort William is always fantastic. The fans stuck around in numbers despite the rain and cheered all the racers, which was great to see.” 

There was plenty of thrills and spills in the woman’s finals too as British rider Natasha Bradley, in only her third race, showed her class to take the women’s BUFF® 4X Pro Tour, beating Austrian  Helene Valerie Fruhwirth, in the pouring rain.

Natasha, from Devon, said: “It feels absolutely amazing to have won, especially since this was only my third 4X competition. I’m only 17 so I didn’t even know how to open the champagne!

“Conditions on the course were pretty tricky because it’s so wet, but at least everyone was in the same boat.

“It’s my first time at Fort William and I can’t get over what an amazing vibe there is here. The crowd is fantastic, and the atmosphere totally hasn’t been affected by the rain.”

Away from the racing action, the hardy World Cup crowds got a chance to get up close and personal to Scottish trials hero Danny MacAskill as he wowed spectators with his Drop and Roll Tour throughout the day.

Mike Jardine, from event organisers Rare Management said: “What started off as a difficult day postponing some of the schedule due to the adverse weather conditions, ended with the best riders in the world living up to the bill by producing some incredible performances in front of the fans, who have not let the weather dampen their spirits.”

 

CONFIRMED SCHEDULE FOR SUNDAY

Due to the postponement of Downhill Qualifying today, Sunday’s schedule is as follows…

 

0830                Site open to public

0850                Junior Men Qualifying

0900-1500       British Trials Cup

0930                Women Qualifying

1000 -1330      Shimano XTR Di2 Test Course

1000                Men Elite Qualifying

1100 -1130      Danny MacAskill’s Drop and Roll Tour

1130 -1145      Red Bull Matadors

1145                Men Junior World Cup Downhill Final

1245                Women World Cup Downhill Final

1345                Men World Cup Final – Followed by Awards Ceremony

 

Fans can keep up-to-date with information through the Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup Twitter feed (@FW_MTB_WorldCup) and Facebook page.

 

MEN’S 4X PRO TOUR FINAL RESULTS

1. Joost Wichmann NED

2. Scott Beaumont GBR

3. Lewis Lacey GBR

 

WOMEN’S 4X PRO TOUR FINAL RESULTS

1. Natasha Bradley GBR

2. Helene Valerie Fruhwirth AUT

3. Julia Lackas GER