The Scottish Highlands will come alive with the sound of thousands of cheering mountain bike fans this weekend (4 – 5 June), when the world’s fastest downhill riders go head-to-head at the Fort William stage of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and BUFF® 4X Pro Tour.
More than 200 of the sport’s elite stars will join over 19,000 fans as they descend on the iconic Nevis Range for an exhilarating weekend of high-speed action as riders race against the clock down the slopes of Aonach Mor.
British hopes for home soil success are high with 2015 World Champion, Rachel Atherton, going for her third successive world cup circuit win this season while facing tough competition from rivals and fellow Brits, Manon Carpenter and Tahnee Seagrave, in the elite women’s race.
Local rider Greg Williamson, from Inverness, along with Teesside’s Danny Hart, will be determined to follow-up their recent world cup form as they try to secure their first ever Fort William title in the men’s downhill, battling it out against Rachel’s brother Gee Atherton, himself a two time winner of Fort William World Cups (in 2010 and an emotional double victory with Rachel in 2013).
The British men will face stiff competition however, going up against a host of current and former World Cup champions, including 2015 overall champion, American Aaron Gwin, and last year’s Fort William champion, South African Greg Minnaar.
Excited at the prospect of returning to Scotland, World Champion, Rachel Atherton, said: "I’m stoked to be racing at Fort William again. Winning there last year was an amazing rush and the support from the home crowd is epic. There’s such a buzz and everyone really gets behind the riders.
“The track is fierce - long, fast and brutal - with a gnarly woods section which catches a lot of riders out, so you really get to see some mad skills. There’s no better feeling than flying through the Scotland arch into the arena and sprinting for the line. And it’s awesome that those who can’t make it trackside can still catch all the action on Red Bull TV.”
Supported by EventScotland and Highland Council, the multi-award winning event is the third stage on the UCI World Cup Downhill calendar and will this year include new technical features and jumps on the infamous 2.8km downhill course.
This year’s event also marks the last competitive appearance of former Downhill World Champion and mountain bike legend, Steve Peat. The fan favourite, known on the circuit as ‘Peaty’, is retiring from World Cup racing at the end of the current downhill season following a career spanning 20 years and including 17 World Cup wins, 52 World Cup podiums and one World Championship.
Alongside the downhill action, famous trials rider and YouTube record breaker Danny MacAskill will also be in attendance over the weekend with his Drop and Roll Street Trials team.
The World Cup Village will be packed with an array of bike manufacturers, bike-wear brands and team sponsors, whilst a fine selection of food and drink stands will keep the crowds fuelled, showcasing the best of Scottish produce.
Tickets are still available for the event costing from £14 for adults and £8 for children aged 6 – 17 years old. Family packages are also available starting from £36. For more details on the event and to buy tickets, visitwww.fortwilliamworldcup.co.uk.