Location: Fort William, Scotland
Event: 12 May 2012
Report: Andrew Whitehouse
An incredible ride by Giant Factory's Danny Hart secured the elite top step of the podium in the 2nd round of the HALO British Downhill Series at Fort William.
Arguably the most challenging downhill course in the World ,the current World Champion sealed victory with a time of 4.52.11, 1/2 second ahead of second placed and series leader March Beaumont(GT/OneInd/Atherton).
The young Redcar rider, who had based himself at the venue since the previous Wednesday preparing for the weekend, lost his chain towards the bottom section of course but with a fast top sector managed to 'roll' across the line to take the win.
With a severe weather warning issued for Sunday, the seeding runs were brought forward to practice day with the option of cancelling the race early Sunday morning but with the winds and the rain getting stronger as Saturday progressed the decision was made to use the seeding runs as the race and cancel the Sunday race.
In the Elite women’s race it would, as at Coombe Sydenham be down to the two top riders in the UK, Junior World Champion Manon Carpenter(Madison Saracen) and the returning Rachel Atherton(GT Factory Racing). With the women fighting against the ever increasing strong winds and falling temperatures it would be Carpenter who got the better of the 2 rider to secure victory by a little over 1 second.
What they said
Winner Danny Hart: “That was a good run, the wind at the top of the course was crazy, I had to pedal in parts I've never had to pedal before. I went to get on the pedals near the bottom but there was nothing there, I'm not sure when the chain went.
I've been here most of the week so I feel pretty beat up, I'm tired and my legs have gone so I'm really happy to win. Losing the chain made winning more special as I had to roll it home and tuck in when I could.
Spending the last few days here helped today, I came here to prepare for the World Cup in a couple of weeks. My parents have been here with me, my mechanic has got the bike sorted so I'm ready to do better than last year. I was hoping I wasn't cursed wearing the Rainbow jersey but after today I know it’s not and It will lead to bigger and better things.”
Marc Beaumont: “It has been a hard day today but I've tried to make the best of a bad situation, with tomorrow cancelled its been non-stop today. I've done six runs which is a lot of runs in a day and especially down here. It is such a long track and physically it does take it out of the riders.
“Danny is coming off the back of a good year, he's riding well and he has prepared well for today so I can go away happy I'm pretty close to him. Today is something to build on for the World cup and that is our aim in the team, with Fort William World cup coming up that is a huge race for the British riders.
“This course is brutal and it’s got to be one of the toughest on the circuit, totally different to Coombe Sydenham in round 1 but I'm feeling confident after today.”
Women’s winner Manon Carpenter said: “I’m happy with that, second win in two rounds and it was a good time. I really like this track, it’s really fun to ride, it’s really fast, it’s got a lot to it but it’s really grippy so you can go as fast as you like really.
“The course is really rough and very physical and it is hard at the top to get round all the corners. We came up here on Friday because we heard about the weather warning for Sunday, I think I've done nine runs in two days, six today which is probably too many to be honest. I didn't walk the track, it’s too long but I do usually like to know where I'm going.”
1 Danny Hart (Giant Factory) 4.52.11
2 Marc Beaumont (Gt,One Ind/Atherton) @ 0.521
3 Matthew Simmonds (Chain Reaction/Nukeproof) @ 2.710
4 Remi Thirion (Labyrinth Shimano) @3.261
5 Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) @3.281
1 Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen) 5.31.18
2 Rachel Atherton (GT Factory Racing) @1.313
3 Jess Stone (Unior Tools Team) @36.73
4 Katy Curd ( Rose Vaujany Gravity) @56.56
5 Emma Wareham (Leisure Lakes Bikes) @1.26.65
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.