Fort William holds some good memories for me, i competed in my first international event there in 2007 for World Champs picking up silver in juniors and have been racing there every year since. Not only is it the UK’s home soil World Cup race it is by far the best event on the circuit, the atmosphere, the crowds and the track are one of a kind and its a big race to win for any rider.
This year more than any winning Fort William 4X was a massive goal of mine. Its been my first year training full time so i am coming in to the race stronger and fitter than ever but looking at the competition i knew it was probably going to be the hardest race of the year. The track remained the same as the previous year just freshly groomed making it loose as anything. The surface of the track is like riding on marbles so you really had to trust in your tyres to stick it round the corners.
Qualifying went well for me, i had a good run only making one mistake nearer the bottom of the track but it was good enough to cross the line in first place ahead of Caroline Buchanan and Anneke Beerten. Just Winning qualifying gave me a big boost of confidence knowing i was up to pace.
Race day came around and to say i was nervous was an understatement! I was trying to keep busy all day to try keep my mind busy and away from thinking about the race. Practice time came around and i jumped straight to it. I was feeling good in practice so tried to keep riding to a minimum to save my energy for racing.
For my first heat i got the snap and led down the first straight, i could hear the girls on my tails though so i tried to keep it smooth and maintain the lead. i crossed the line out in front placing me straight through to the final. For the final i was up against olympic bmx’er Caroline Buchanon, Lucia Otjen and Celine Gros, one of the hardest heats i had in a while. As the gate dropped Caroline got the snap and led down the first straight, staying close to Caroline’s back wheel in 2nd position i backed off a little to try go wide in the first corner to gain some speed. As i hit the first corner i saw my chance to make a move as she drifted wide, we were neck and neck down the entire of the 2nd straight but as soon as we hit the last jump i saw my chance to make a move. as we hit the 2nd corner i drifted wide as Caroline darted inside, i felt my rear wheel drifting but i managed to make it stick and shot out in to the lead just before the rocks.
As i jumped of the rocks i tried to calm myself down as focus on the rest of the race. coming in to the last corner i could hear the crowd going wild, it was mad just how loud everyone was. I dropped of the last drop and pedalled for the line, i crossed the line out in front and couldnt quite believe i had just won. It was wild, the crowd were going insane. Winning a World Cup on home soil in front of thousands of people racing against some of the worlds best riders, it was a pretty special night and one i wont be forgetting in a while.