The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Fort William was hailed as the ‘best yet’ as glorious weather and high-octane action combined to create the most memorable of events over the weekend.
British rider Rachel Atherton demonstrated her unmatched prowess over the Highland course as she took home her ninth consecutive title to a rapturous home support.
In the men’s contest, Greg Minnaar, the most successful downhill biker of all time, ensured a carbon copy of last year’s final result, holding off America’s Aaron Gwin to take top honours.
An estimated crowd in excess of 10,000 within the finishing bowl welcomed the riders home, producing a magnificent spectacle which demonstrated that Fort William remains the finest spectator experience for mountain bike enthusiasts worldwide.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Fort William holds a special status within the sport of mountain biking, and it’s not difficult to see why following the incredible scenes over the weekend.
“The event continues to grow in size and stature and is an example of tremendous organisation and presentation that is completely unmatched in the sport.
“Congratulations to the team at Rare Management for delivering yet another sensational Fort William World Cup and one that will live long in the memory for all of those in attendance. It’s a clear example of what makes Scotland the perfect stage for events.”
Following her victory, the ninth in-a-row on the World Cup circuit, Atherton lavished praise on the Fort William and the passion of the home support. She said: “Fort William is so incredible. I struggled here as a younger rider, and it took a long time to get to grips with the track. I was second here six times, and then suddenly it clicked.
“You’ve got to be so strong and so tough here – Fort William’s the only track I race completely out of control! There’s something about it that makes you ride on the edge. You can do that though because the crowd is cheering and saying your name all the way down and that makes you not want to crash, it really makes you dig deep and want to stay on.
“It’s such a family event here at Fort William, there are so many families here with their kids that all ride and all the kids know the riders’ names. It’s so incredible, and so different to any other race. It just keeps getting better every year!”
The Mountain Bike World Cup is supported by EventScotland.