As the dust settles on one of the most successful Fort William Mountain Bike World Cups ever, the dates have been announced for next year’s event, which will return to the Highlands on 6 - 8 June 2014.
The award-winning event saw almost 20,000 fans descend on the Nevis Range Ski Area, an increase of 8% on 2012 figures, where they cheered on 3 British winners from the 313 competitors representing 27 different nations.
The annual Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup is a key fixture in Scotland’s sporting calendar and has been voted the best mountain bike event in the world by the International Mountain Bike Trade Team Organisation (IMTTO) four times and voted UCI Best Mountain Bike World Cup a record-breaking 8 times.
It is estimated that around £2 million was generated for the local economy over the weekend, with thousands of fans, teams and international media packing out local hotels, restaurants and bars over the course of what is now one of the biggest events in the Highlands.
Reflecting on this year’s success Mike Jardine, Director of organisers Rare Management, said: “This year we had the perfect combination of fantastic weather, showcasing the Highlands at their absolute best, large noisy crowds, who create the best atmosphere anywhere in the world and three stunning wins from home riders Gee Atherton (men’s downhill), Rachel Atherton (women’s downhill) and Katy Curd (women’s 4X).
“The continued success of the Fort William World Cup weekend is only possible due to the support and commitment of so many people and organisations – but especially the competitors and the fans who make the event what it is.
"We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Fort William in 2014.”
British Cycling’s Director of Cyclesport and Membership, Jonny Clay, said:
“This year’s Fort William World Cup weekend was yet another fantastic event showcasing the best in the downhill world of mountain biking. I’m pleased next year’s date has been announced so promptly – it gives the organisers the opportunity to build even more momentum into this already iconic, multi-award winning event.”
More than 40% of those attending travel from outside Scotland to visit an event which has achieved legendary status in the world of international mountain biking, with 80% spending at least one night in the Lochaber area.
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup remains one of the most popular dates on our annual calendar.
"The success of the World Cup, which has shown year-on-year growth, is testament to Rare Management’s drive and enthusiasm with the event delivering a significant economic impact for the region each year.
"It is an exciting, action-packed event, which showcases one of the country’s most spectacular locations to audiences around the world.”