Fort William World Cup Downhill Finals
By Ric McLaughlin | Monday, June 8, 2009 10.00am
The infamous FortBill crowd were out in force as ever, descending on the small Scottish town from all corners of the UK.
Whether it was walking down the ultra-steep hillside, hammering air-horns or drinking pints of beer out of didgery do’s everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Despite the obvious absence of the racers Saturday night's party in the Fort went down well with all the usual watering-holes being full to bursting.
Sunday saw the finals of the men’s and women’s downhill and it was a nail biting, edge of the seat job all the way down to the last rider down.
First up was the female category and an in-form Sabrina Jonnier headed up an all French top three, storming to a convincing victory. Fellow country femmes Emiline Ragot took second spot, Celine Gros in third, Florian Pugin in fourth and Myriam Nicole in fifth completing an all French podium. Britain’s hope’s lay with Tracey Moseley who had some minor issues in her run seeing her taking a disappointing seventh spot at the event she cleaned up at last year.
The men’s race kicked off in fine style. The first rider to stake a convincing claim on the hot seat was Fabien Barel. Back from a nasty knee ligament injury and sporting a bionic knee brace the Subaru Mondraker rider tamed the hill to claim a very popular spell in the hot seat. Santa Cruz Syndicate’s own Manchester wide-boy, Josh Bryceland was the next rider to impress the flag waving, horn tooting thronged masses and had a decent spell in the hot seat himself.
The finish line is down there somewhere
The big guns then got under way and we saw the lead swapping nearly every run. Steve Peat couldn’t quite make it three wins in a row, coming in sixth spot in the rankings, but still first in the popularity stakes. His result leaves him still searching for that fabled 50th World Cup podium.
The final standings saw ‘Sick’ Mick Hannah in fifth, Gee Atherton in fourth, Sam Blenkinsop in an impressive third, Sam Hill in second and Greg Minnaar making it two years on the trot at the Fort with a storming win, a second and a half ahead of Hill.
Minnaar’s victory saw an impromptu finish area invasion from the omni-present and ever-noisy Minnaar fan club and the start of a very long night of revelry…
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