Sun finally shines for incredible Fort William crowd as Minaar & Atherton take World Cup wins

An action packed downhill race card was the order of the day at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and BUFF® 4X Pro Tour, as thousands of mountain biking fans watched Greg Minnaar take his sixth Fort William win in a dramatic end to the weekend.

Spectators who braved the elements all weekend, basked in sunshine as they were treated to a spectacular finale as Minnaar defied gravity, and the mud, to tame one of the most difficult downhill courses in the world. With raw power and plenty of skill on show, Minnaar had the Fort William fans screaming in the sunshine, as he crossed the finish line.

Speaking after the race, Minnaar, from South Africa said: “It feels great to get a win after a tough day, with qualification and the final taking place hours apart from each other. It was wet on the track and then the sun came out, which made conditions fairly sketchy. 

“It was a tricky race and it hasn’t been an easy week with the rain making things physically tough on all the riders, but I managed to push through today. It was a great result and definitely one I will remember.

“I’ve had some fantastic experiences here in Fort William, winning the men’s downhill five times before. However, it has been a while since my last win here, so I will be celebrating in style.”

With Fort William firmly placed as the most popular course for both riders and fans alike, the British women’s downhill riders showed everyone how it should be done as Rachel Atherton and Tahnee Seagrave came first and second respectively. Only the unforgiving Fort William course stopped a full British podium, with Manon Carpenter crashing out on the final approach.

Atherton, who missed out on a podium place in Fort William last year due to an unfortunate puncture, continued her rich vein of form this season, hammering through the treacherous conditions to take an incredible victory under the shadow of Aanoch Mor.

Speaking after her win, Rachael said: “I’m totally gobsmacked to have won. I really wasn’t expecting it at all as I haven’t ridden my best this weekend. The track this year was particularly challenging because of the weather and I struggled during qualifying. It was so windy up at the top it was a challenge just to stay on the bike!

“Yesterday’s downhill qualification being postponed by the weather actually made the racing today even more exciting. You have also got to take rests where you can, so it was useful to get a chill out day.

“It’s my second time winning at Fort William and it’s always amazing to win in front of a home crowd – you feel like you really want to deliver for them! Despite the weather being horrific for a lot of this weekend I’ve been so impressed by the fans. Even the little kids weren’t letting the rain get them down.”

After torrid weather conditions on Saturday, the sun shone for the final day and the Fort William World Cup crowds lapped up the magical atmosphere where they were also treated to a masterclass in trial bike trickery from Danny MacAskill and his Drop and Role Tour.

1. Greg Minnaar, RSA (4:47.693)
2. Aaron Gwin, USA (4:48.812)
3. Marcelo Villegas Gutierrez, COL (4:51.740)

1. Rachel Atherton, GBR (5:31.654)
2. Tahnee Seagrave, GBR (5:39.643)
3. Emmeline Ragot, FRA (5:47.576)

1.Martin Maes, BEL (5:01.455)
2.Laurie Greenland, GBR (5:03.493)
3.Alex Marin Trillo, ESP (5:05.418)

1.Marine Cabirou, FRA (6:06.961)
2.Blanca Aracil Alba, AND (7:46.687)
3.Rona Strivens, GBR (8:05.437)