There was double delight for the Atherton clan as brother and sister duo Gee and Rachel Atherton flourished at Fort William.
A fully-subscribed start list saw the very best of British downhill talent battle it out on one of the most challenging downhill courses in the world, just three weeks before the Fort William round of the UCI World Cup series.
In the elite men’s event - with some fast times already on the board - Atherton (Atherton Bikes) stormed down the hill to claim the top spot in a time of 4:35.164, with only three riders left to go.
Out of that trio, only Danny Hart could challenge Atherton, however his time of 4:35.350 was only good enough for another second place, with third place being taken by Adam Brayton (Hope Factory Racing) with 4:39.894.
The elite women’s section appeared to be all set for yet another battle between current world and world cup champion Atherton (Atherton Bikes) and Tahnee Seagrave (Transition Bikes/Muc-Off Factory Racing), after Atherton took the win at round one of this year’s series, with Seagrave second.
Seagrave opted not to race, however, and this left Atherton with the chance to make it two wins out of two – which is exactly what she did with a time of 5:29.593.
She was pushed all the way, though, with Marine Cabirou (Scott Downhill Factory Team) finishing second in 5:30.017. Third place went to Katy Curd with a time of 5:52.565.
The junior women’s competition saw a three-way battle, with Tea Jensen (Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique), Phoebe Gale and Kenyon Aimi (Black Isle Mountain Bike Club) all in the mix.
Jensen, looking for revenge for losing out to Gale at round one, took the win in convincing fashion with a time of 6:14.877. Gale had to settle for second this time in 6:40.178, with Aimi third in 6:43.380.
The junior men’s category is always fiercely-contested and Fort William was no different, with Jamie Edmondson (Transition/Muc-Off Factory Racing) winning with a time of 4:54.680, just edging out Luke Mumford in 4:57.292 and James Elliott in 4:58.055.
Elite men’s top ten:
1. Gee ATHERTON (Atherton Bikes): 4:35.1641
2. Danny HART (Madison Saracen Factory Team): 4:35.3502
3. Adam BRAYTON (Hope Factory Racing): 4:39.8943
4. Greg WILLIAMSON (UNNO FACTORY RACING): 4:40.0124
5. Charlie HATTON (Atherton Bikes): 4:41.8835
6. George GANNICOTT (Gala CC): 4:42.0496
7. Matt SIMMONDS (Cannondale Factory Racing): 4:42.9247
8. Joe BREEDEN (Intense Racing UK) 4:43.1418
9. Kade EDWARDS (Trek Factory Racing): 4:46.5299
10. Alex MARIN TRILLO (Madison Saracen Factory Team): 4:46.53310
Elite women’s rankings:
1. Rachel ATHERTON (Atherton Bikes): 5:29.5931
2. Marine CABIROU (Scott Downhill Factory Team): 5:30.0172
3. Katy CURD: 5:52.5653
4. Becci SKELTON: 5:55.4744
5. Mikayla PARTON (Riders Race Team): 5:57.5185
6. Abbie SLOAN 6:15.2826
7. Aston TUTT: 6:16.7637
8. Monika MIXOVA: 6:26.5388
9. Maya ATKINSON (Bikers Boutiq / Leslie Bike Shop): 6:35.3699