7 hours of night driving with all the family, 3 bikes and a load of camping gear we finally arrived in Scotland and itís safe to say it wasnít raining this year! Over 25 degrees all weekend really does uplift every rider, myself included!
With this being my 6th consecutive year coming to Fort William very little had changed an intense track walk wasnít needed, so spent a bit of time on the Orange four with Lars the camera man, it was a perfect scene for a little bit of filming and relaxed riding, before I got down to business and as you will be able to see from the pictures I'm adding, the sights where mesmerising!
Thursday evening brought a bit of official open track practice, basically riders getting free reign of the track, being able to stop (sensibly) and monitor sections deciding which lines are the best, especially in the rock garden, pulling up hard and clearing tight gap over some sharp rocks being the fastest route for sure!
A little bit more filming Friday morning also being a good way to keep the legs moving before official practice and qualifying later on. I felt pretty good on course and my gate starts where on point. All I had to do was keep it together one good run, however I was struggling on one jump into the last corner so instead of dwelling on it I chose another line, dialled it in and got on with my run.
Currently ranked 7th in the UCI world standings means I was going to one of the last riders down for the qualifying run, which meant a lot of fast times to beat! A great gate to start my run and a fast first straight away brought me into the rock garden faster than I had practiced and hit the rock drop so smooth I was genuinely smiling into the last corner, over the last jump nearly sliding out a little bit in some sand on the last corner but keeping the power down and crossing the line in 4th and with only one in the remaining 6 riders posting a faster time then me I finished 5thafter every rider had finished!
Happy was an understatement! 5th being my best ever qualifying result really put me in a good frame of mind for racing!
Saturday evening! Time for knockouts, first round, inside gate 1 and first out of the gate, not a single slip or mistake and I held the lead from start to finish! To win a race ether a qualifying run or the final at Fort William in front of 6 thousand screaming fans is something out of this world.
Quarter finals, gate two, into 2nd in the first corner, road a different line through the rock due to the rider ahead of me, slipping a little taking my front wheel with him! Slowing down and not jumping into the last corner the rider behind managed to take me on the inside into the last corner and I couldnít pull it back!
My final position was 9th! Still a great result and so much to take away from this weekend and into the British series at Redhill, Gloucestershire and National champs in Molfre, Wales in the next few weeks!
Cannot thank my sponsors enough from getting me here, it was great to see some of you trackside! Orange bikes, OíNeal, Nurishment active, Mitas Tyres, fiveten UK and JEJAMES Cycles!
See you in a few weeks back in Redhill for round 3 of the British 4X series and look forward to sharing my very own edit with everyone before we release it!