Manon Makes it Count!
As ever the Scottish Highlands provided high drama. After weather reports showed it would be a race against the elements as well as the clock, Si Paton decided it would be wise to get seeding runs done on Saturday so at least everyone had a time on the board before the biblical storms arrived!
So heading up for seeding, the team knew they had to make this one count as race day might not come if the gondola at the Nevis range was forced to close.
First up for the team was helicopter hero from round one, Will Weston, in the Youths. Suddenly we got calls from the hill that there had been a red flag on course, good news was nobody was badly injured and it wasn’t Will, but it meant he had been held on the hill and would have to cruise down and then head back up for a re-run. He kept his cool while we checked over his bike and stuck him on the turbo to keep warm before heading back up. There’s only one more tiring thing in DH racing than a run of Fort William…. and that’s two runs of Fort William! This didn’t faze him though and he put together a storming run which slotted him into second place by just 0.4 seconds, a great ride and a great come back from the issues of Combe Syd.
After riding her new bike on track all day Friday, Manon was getting to grips with the track and in confident mood heading up for seeding, just in case she needed a reminder that this seeding run might end up being her race result, the rains started and winds picked up. As she came into view of the finish area her time was looking good, launching the triple jump at the bottom she sprinted for the line, as it turned out, taking another national win and proving that Manon and her Saracen Myst are one pretty special combo at the moment. Another strong performance and confidence boost as we now look to round two of the World Cup and two months of back to back racing at this key stage of the season.
After his awesome ride at Combe Sydenham Jack was the last man down in the Expert category and looking to put in another performance to consolidate his lead in the series. The bad news arrived before he did, as the clock at the finish ticked on past the fastest times, he rolled through with a puncture having put every ounce of effort into the top section of the course, he paid the price as the infamous Fort William descent claimed yet another bike part. Happy with his new bike though he will be keen to make amends at round 3 in Glencoe.
For the juniors, Josh and Phil it was a usual weekend of stories, crashes, excitement and obviously worrying about looking ‘sick’ on the hill, which of course they pulled off yet again with style, Josh taking a solid run in 6th place and despite a tumble through the trees mid run Phil held onto 8th place.
With a course as long and brutal as Fort William it was always going to be tough to get the whole team down incident free but they did themselves proud and put in some fine performances on the day, which as we now know turned out to be race day, with the 160mph winds and rain causing havoc in the hills a day later we were all well on our way down the M6, with smiles and trophies…