Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Nukeproof/Team MTB Ride Guide Rider Alastair MacLennan reports from Round 2 of the British Downhill Series.
Fort William was the venue for round 2 of the BDS and as usual it did not disappoint. Its my home track and I love racing there.
The winter had taken its toll on the track, and this combined with a lack of maintenance made for a hard hitting track with some fairly nasty features where it was breaking up.
As usual the mountain weather was forecast to be a bit wild and it was predicted that the uplift gondolas might have to close due to high winds heading our way.
Fortunately this didn’t happen and the weather held up for the weekend allowing us to get down to business.
I think everyone knows the Fort William track pretty well now as it changes very little year by year and the home advantage gets a bit less as a result.
The track was taped well and allowed for a bit of line choice here and there and and a new river gap jump was in place just before the final motorway section which made for interesting riding.
I had made some suspension setting changes which were working well and I felt the Nukeproof Pulse was nicely dialled in for the weekend ahead.
I only did 5 practice runs on Saturday as its a tough course and I wanted to remain fresh for race day.
As it turned out seeding was brought forward to Saturday in case the weather killed racing on Sunday. In my seeding run I was having a great ride and was going well until just before the wood section where I could feel the rear tyre was soft and then soon after I was running on the rim. Just further down I was brought to a stop because of a red flag on course which meant I would get a re run which worked out well in my case.
On my seeding re run I again went well and put in a good time to win by a good margin with Adrian Bradley 2nd and Mark weightman 3rd.
By race day morning the weather had brightened up a bit and the wind had dropped making for better riding although there were a few big gusts which almost blew me off track a couple of times in practice.
Down to racing, and I wanted to put in a killer time. I was feeling fresh after seeding 1st the day before and wanted to push hard for the right result.
I got off the start well and hit everything well down to the woods where it was a bit greasy and some big holes had appeared. I got the lines right in this section but was probably a bit too careful and could have carried a bit more speed.
Coming to the river jump I washed out in the corner leading up to it and wasn’t confident I had enough speed to clear it so aborted at the last minute and did the chicken run which was quite a bit slower and hard to get back up to speed which was annoying.
I then hit the motorway section well and carried good speed down over the Tiso jump, through the bowl and through the finish line to take the win in a time of 5.33 with John Cobb coming in second in 5.42 and Frenchman Stephane Routin 3rd in 5.46.
It was good to take the win and come away with maximum points after winning seeding and the race, especially after my poor start in round 1 of the series.
Next up sees us heading for round 3 of the series at innerleithen which promised to be a cracker of a race.
Until then theres some hard training in store and plenty of riding.
Thanks to all the hardy marshals who stood out on the mountain all weekend and the medics who did a great job as usual.
Photo courtesy of Marked Mediahouse