Ive attended Fort Willam World Cup every year since my debut race at World Champs in 2007, for the last few years I’ve solely concentrated on racing the 4X but this year was my first downhill world cup back in 3 years.
After racing the national at Fort Will a few weeks back I knew what I needed to improve coming back here so first day of practice I jumped straight to it. I felt good during practice, I knew my lines, I just needed to tweak things here and there to get up to speed. I felt good coming in to quali, a little nervous but more because I literally had no idea where or if I would even make the top 20 to qualify.
The big thing for me for my qualifying run was to try put together a consistent run. I had a good fast flowing top half and as soon as I entered the first rock garden I just tried to relax a little and keep momentum rather than push to hard. After such a good top half of the track I made a big mistake in the technical woods resulting in me ending up off track and through the tape. As quickly as I could though I ran back up to the place I had left the track and tried to get going again. Thinking I had thrown it all away, to my surprise I crossed the line finishing 14th place meaning my first goal of the weekend was achieved, which was to actually qualify!
Sunday morning I was starting to feel a little more nervous but I knew if I could put another run in like my qualifying run (just with out the crash) I could break in to the top ten which was my 2nd goal for the weekend. As I set out the start hut I couldn’t believe the amount of people down the track, everyone was going wild, hanging over the tape ringing cow bells at me, yelling my name and giving me huge support, the crowd with out a doubt are the best at Fort William than anywhere else in the world. Trying to focus past all the noise I felt like I was on for a fast run, just over half way through the deer gate I tried to calm down a little to save my arms this time for the woods but then before I knew it, bang, I heard a huge explosion and I was rolling down with a flat. I had hit a rock in one of the corners and popped my rim off the tire and burst the tube, game over. I was more than gutted but looking back at the weekend I have learnt so much and feel more confident every week on my downhill bike. I now just cant wait to race the next rounds to make a slightly better come back!