While the professional riders were hurtling down the Fort William World Cup Downhill course, 70 young riders took to the parallel Mini DH track to contest the 2018 Scottish Cycling Mini DH Finals.
The hard work and trail developments from the Nevis Range Bike Track team were clear to see, with a course double the length of previous years and featuring jumps, berms and fast flow sections. Supported by the trail team from the Highland Hardline series, some natural sections were cut into the trail side to create a course which was fast, exciting and a fitting track for the finals.
Playing a big part of the MTB World Cup, the Mini DH Finals have paved the way for many of the young riders who are now racing on a world stage, and excitement levels were high as the Mini DH’ers attached their number boards and pushed their bikes alongside the likes of Danny Hart, Rachel Atherton and Scotland’s own Reece Wilson.
The Mini DH Finals took place over two runs of the course with the fastest time counting towards the rider’s final result. Following practice, the riders pushed their bikes up the hill in the sunshine to assemble at the start area for the start of race run 1.
With different tactics on show, some riders gave it their all in run one, while others made sure to bank one safe, solid time, before opening up the speed on their second timed effort down the hill.
One such rider using the latter tactic was the winner of the U10 girls, Jessica (Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique) who improved on her first race run time by four seconds to take the win. In the U10 boys, Stan’s consistency was key as he set a time more than 15 seconds faster than his nearest rival to take the win. The U12 boys again had a clear winner as Oliver charged down the hill, with extremely tight battles behind him for the rest of the podium spots. Heather in the U12 girls was one of the riders who set her fastest time of the day in run 1 to take the win for Female Riders Inc.
The Under 14 Girls gave us the fastest female time of the day as Female Riders’ Aimi flew down the race track to take the win in a time of 1:48:41 – she’s won every Mini DH race so far this year! The U14 riders are the ones on form, with the fastest male time coming from William who set a time of 1:32:35 following a challenging first run, sealing the win in his category.
The last riders down the hill were the Under 16s, featuring riders who are now regulars on the British race scene in mountain biking, with Meike (Glasgow Riderz) winning the U16 Girls. Charles, from Peebles CC, gave it his all to shave three seconds off his first run time to get the gold medal in the Under 16 boys.
With great crowds gathered along the barriers at the finish, and riders joining them to cheer on their team mates and fellow competitors the noise levels were not far off those in the main World Cup finish arena!
The final highlight of the day for the Mini DH racers was a podium ceremony featuring Danny MacAskill presenting the prizes and a group photo of all the riders to celebrate their success.
The hard work of all the event volunteers, marshals, timing services, the Nevis Range and the Fort William World Cup was greatly appreciated to deliver a great event to the young riders.
Full results found here.
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