The second stop on the UCI Downhill World Cup in Fort William, Scotland this weekend provided quite a few firsts. It’s not like it’s known for its amazing weather but the Scottish rain and wind gods turned things up a few notches. Due to the extremely high winds the organizers had no choice but to cancel Saturdays practice and qualifying, for the first time ever!
What this meant for all the riders was that Sunday would be an action packed day that kicked off at insanely early and freezing 6am. In another first, the organizers created a new schedule that crammed practice, qualifications and the finals into one single day. To say it was full-on for the riders would be an a little bit of an understatement.
The majority of the World Cup field only managed five runs each all weekend at best, and putting in three of those on race day proved taxing for many, with unforced mistakes mainly coming down to fatigue and the inclement weather.
Connor Fearon was on it all weekend qualifying just outside of the top 20 in 26th and was flying in his race run until a crash resulted in him sustaining a front flat that put paid to any chance of a top 10 finish, although he didn’t let up and managed a very respectable 35th.
Current Junior world Champion Tegan Molloy found herself in what is most likely the most stacked and competitive women’s elite field in the history of the sport and for just her second race at this level against a host of seasoned riders she fared well and finished just outside of the top 10 in 11th. With Leogang just a week away and Austria promising milder weather Tegan is aiming for a solid single digit finish in Salzburgerland.
Andrew Crimmins went into Fort William with the coveted number 1 junior plate after a convincing round one win in Lourdes, France. The mud, rain and wind ended his chances of keeping the plate for Leogang next week after a crash mid course in the treacherous new wooded section slowed him down. He managed to hold it all together and finish in 9th place and is only 8 points shy from first place in the overall junior standings, he will head to Leogang with the number 2 plate.
The whole team is excited for round three in Leogang this coming weekend with its steeper, faster and more technical course where average speeds are around 10km faster than at Fort William. Last years round here proved super exciting for the team, with Connor hoping to move well up from his 9th place finish and to share his knowledge of the track with Andrew and assist him in getting his number 1 plate back for round 4.