Fort William Round 5 Scottish Downhill Series

October 8, 2014

We Love Mountains DH Team riders were racing at the height of Scotland in the final round of the SDA on the 20th September. This would be the last time riders will be able to use their DH bikes at Fort William before they close for the winter, so plenty of our riders entered with over 270 riders.

The downhill is a full-on, flat-out, no-compromise charge down the face of Aonach Mor, the 9th highest mountain in the UK. Riders need physical strength, quick reflexes, superb bike control and an unerring eye for the right line as they speed down the 2.8km long course – AND a lot of bottle!

The permanent Nevis Range Downhill track has received some radical upgrades over the past three years, adding new features and making it one of the toughest most demanding courses on the circuit, with new higher speed lines being developed just after the wall ride.

Starting beside the top station of the gondola, the course descends 555m. Most of the course is visible from the gondola (the mountain cableway used for skiing in the winter, which provides access for riders with bikes and spectators), giving great views of riders as they charge down below you. The fast top section of the course is framed by stunning views of Ben Nevis, the sea lochs of Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil, and the islands of the Inner Hebrides. Rock gardens, rock slabs, big jumps and technical natural sections will provide plenty of challenges all the way to the magnificent finish section and the incredible noise of the best spectators in the world.

Team rider Luke Birkett took the win in the Juvenile category with a brilliant time of 5 minutes 19 seconds winning with over 6 seconds to spare. Luke also took the overall series win after coming 1st 4 out the 5 rounds, with winning the English Champs, UK national Champs, 2nd in the British Downhill Series overall, Luke has certainly been busy this year taking home 13 podiums and still a couple more races to go. Well done mate!

Next up was Marc Purkiss and rider Stewart Wood, both riders found it a struggle last year at Fort Bill and didn’t get to grips with the track, but both turned it around this time to get there personal bests Marc with a time of 6 minutes 22 seconds finishing 25th in category and Stewart getting a time of 6 minutes 49 seconds finishing 32nd in category , great improvement from both riders .

Last up was rider Andy Kipling and after winning at bike park Wales for the British downhill Series the weekend before and taking home the series Win in Masters category, started his race run off to a bad start resulting in a puncture. With it been the Scottish series, there is 2 race runs, with the best run out of the 2 counts, Andy definitely made his 2nd run count and smashed it home to take the win in 5 minutes 12 seconds .

Words - Stewart Wood

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