June 12, 2012 (Fort William, UK) – With near zero visibility and blowing wind, America’s Aaron Gwin took home yet another World Cup downhill victory. For the women it was reigning DH world champ, Emmeline Ragot of France, taking home gold on a blustery Fort William afternoon.
The track in Fort William was hard and fast, despite the heavy rain at times. Quik-crete on the corners made sure they were running well but holes were developing slowly on the landings, quite the opposite at last week’s WCup DH race in Italy where braking bumps were bottom-bracket high within hours of the start of practice. Gwin’s victory came after an uncharacteristic crashed-filled weekend for the man from California.
“This week was rough. I was not killing it all weekend.I felt good it just wasn’t coming together, I kept crashing. I woke up today and went ok, it’s a new day! We made some setup changes and then I had another crash my practice run and went what the heck are you doing with your life.
“I had to back it down a bit as I was pushing it too hard. The track was slippery this year. It came together in the finals, but I didn’t know if that was going to be a winning run, but I’ll take it! It was good to get through a rough week and still get a win out of it. I was lucky I didn’t do anything but scratch up my hands. We’re four weeks in a row racing now, so I’m super stoked to be home for a week to rest up and get ready to go for Mont-Ste Anne.”
Danny Hart (GBR) and Gee Atherton (GBR) rounded out the top 3, while Sam Hill of Australia made his return to the world cup podium after a couple of seasons filled with injuries, showing he is back on track and ready for MSA as well.
Ragot was 1.3 seconds ahead of rival Rachel Atherton of the UK, while Myriam Nicole (FRA) was third. In 5th, it was Tracy Moseley (GBR) making a rare 2012 world cup appearance after retiring last season.
Miranda Miller of Canada had her best world cup result ever in 11th. “I’m stoked, that’s my best result ever at a World Cup so I’ll take that.” Canada’s top hope for the weekend was Steve Smith, who is having a rough go this season with a dislocated finger last week in practice, and a crash in his race run today. He ended up in 19th place.
A visibly upset Smith spoke to us afterwards on his way to his hotel. “My run went shit. I fell off a bridge and got stuck. That little short bridge before the last wall ride was slick and I fell off clipped in and got hung up. I couldn’t get back on and going again. I’m fine, just angry.”
After a week off, the World Cup returns to racing in North America to the legendary Mont-Ste Anne downhill track, followed by the Windham, NY for round #5 of the UCI series.