Fort Bill. World Cup Round 3

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13 Jun
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Fort William is the Mecca for downhill mountain biking and has a welcome feeling to the Madison Saracen team compared to other tracks across the globe. There is a bitter sweet taste to the familiar ground; with everyone’s friends and families in tow, the pressure to perform is at its highest.

Fort William

It’s legendary demanding run has a bit of everything from fast flowy turns, to rocky twists, a ‘quintessentially British technical section’ in the trees is finished off with the motorway section. The team were standing in good stead for the looming race; Manon with a podium, Sam placing in the top 10 a few years back and Matt fresh off a 2nd at the British National; raising the stakes even higher.

Fort William

Typically of the Scottish highlands an unexpected storm brewed, with huge gusts of wind resulting in the schedule being bumped forward; forcing everyone to be topside by 10am, sitting and waiting patiently for their run.
“Eager to keep the overall in sight, Manon needed to bag as many points as possible. This played on her mind as she powered down the motorway section and hitting the second split showed a massive margin up on the current hot seat rider. Sending it over the last few jumps and across the line she pulled another four seconds out of no where and went into the lead by a considerable ten second margin. The result that Manon had been looking for coming into this weekend, all she needed to do now was repeat it come race day.”

Sam was keen for a follow up to his previous qualifiers with a belter of a run but excitement got the better of him as he fell into trouble in the mid-way woods section. Sam was quickly out of the woods as he was awarded protected status from his recent achievements in the previous two rounds of the World Cup, leaving him the opportunity to pull back in the finals.

Sam Dale

For Kazu, Fort Bill was an adventure, untouched ground as it was his first visit to The Fort. He battled with the high winds and but down a strong run but fell back over the backside of the hill. Not deterred by the conditions he pressed on to make up for lost time, crossing the line in 77th place.

Kazuki Shimizu

Matt’s qualifying run was a different story, nailing the track and placing himself 9th putting him in a comfortable position come race day.

Race day came about, tensions were running high and crowds were growing. Manon made her way up to the top of the hill. Starting off her race well, entering the wooded section confidently but nasty old fate came to play with a different plan for Manon as she ended up running her first race in with a flat in several years.

Fort William

Taking his 9th place from the day before Matt went into race day feeling confident and managed to lay down a great run, ending up a little off top pace, but with 6 more riders to go he was eventually bumped to 15th.

Sam stepped up to the mark like a man on a mission, developing late on in his run he put down the fastest time on the final sector; ‘once the big man gets his wheels turning, there is no stopping him.’ Landing straight into the hot seat, the painstaking wait for all other riders to come down began. No one could beat his final sector timing, until eventually he was knocked down the order into 8th place.

Sam Dale

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the team this weekend in Leogang, Austria.


Fort William

Fort William

Fort William