Matt Simmonds took an impressive third place with Joe Smith in ninth, Lewis Buchanan in 16th, Matti Lehikoinen 24th and Al Bond 29th.
The long, testing course lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest on the circuit with the weather playing an important part throughout the weekend – it was so bad that Sunday racing was cancelled and results stood from Saturday's seeding runs.
With the third round of the UCI World Cup coming up in less than one month, a lot of top riders showed up to race including current downhill World Champion Danny Hart, series leader Marc Beaumont, Steve Peat and Josh Bryceland of the Santa Cruz Syndicate team, National Downhill Champion Ruaridh Cunningham plus lots of the usual French World Cup riders, not to mention the rest of the UK elite riders who are themselves becoming serious runners in the World Cup.
The Elite podium [l-r]: Josh Bryceland, Matt Simmonds, Danny Hart, Marc Beaumont, Rémi Thirion (© Jacob Gibbins)
Team Manager Nigel Page reports from a rain-soaked, wind-battered Fort William: "The track opened on Friday for anyone to ride so quite a few riders took advantage of this.
Then Saturday's race practice started and we were told that starting at 3.00pm would be the seeding runs (normally held on Sunday morning). Later on as the weather reports came in for Sunday the race organisers decided that the seeding run would count as the race runs as riding on Sunday was not going to happen. This turned out a good call as the weather on Sunday was appalling
Matt Simmonds had a blinding run being the first rider to go under the five minute mark and by a long way with a time of 4.54! This time ended up being good enough to finish third in a stacked Elite field, with only World Champion Danny Hart and Halo BDS round one winner Marc Beaumont in second. This was a great ride and result for Matt that we all know he is capable of, and a good confidence boost for him leading into the next two rounds of the World Cup.
Joe Smith also had a great ride and result placing ninth after a big crash early in the morning. Joe's time was right up there with the fastest guys and also a great confidence booster coming into the next few World Cups.
Lewis Buchanan had a solid ride placing 16th with a good time and is well on his way back to full speed after a winter off with surgery and recovery.
Matti Lehikoinen also did amazing to make it down the brutal track in such a quick time, placing 24th. Matti suffered a lot with arm pump on the fast rocky track but it was a good result and another step forward to getting back to his usual blistering pace!
Al Bond said he struggled a bit on the track with fatigue and was disappointed with his position in 29th. Al plans to change his training programme for the upcoming World Cups.
Matt Simmonds pins it in the calm before the storm! Matt Simmonds pins it in the calm before the storm! (© Jacob Gibbins)
On the whole I think it was a great weekend for the team and we can't wait for the next two rounds of the UCI World Cup in Val Di Sole, Italy, and then back in Fort William.
The track was too tough and long for me at the moment with my lack of riding and fitness. I posted a time that I think my many people's grannies could have beaten but that is how it goes if you're not on your game for Fort William. Well done to Fort William's local old boy and Nukeproof rider Alastair MacLennan who showed us all in Vets how it's done, taking the win!"
The Veteran podium [l-r]: John Cobb, Jason Carpenter, Alastair MacLennan, Nigel Page, Darren Howarth (© Jacob Gibbins)