Despite qualifying well down the field on Saturday, Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) and Emmeline Ragot (MS Mondraker) did the job when it mattered in the final at the Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup round 3 in Fort William, Scotland.
Gwin crashed in qualifying and was 29th, 12 seconds off the pace set by Marc Beaumont (GT Factory Racing). With Gee Atherton (GT) and Danny Hart (Giant) qualifying second and third fastest, it looked like Fort Bill could be a hometown whitewash for the Brits.
Come Sunday’s final, the heavens opened and the dry dusty conditions turned to mud. Brit Greg Williamson clocked 4:57.864 to hold onto the hot seat for a while until Gwin came along and smashed it, taking nearly 10 seconds off. World champ Danny Hart challenged it but came up a second short to finish second, while Gee Atherton took third.
Video: Danny Hart after qualifying third
In the women’s race, Ragot qualified fifth last on Saturday after puncturing during her run. That left GT’s Rachel Atherton with the fastest qualifying time and the favourite tag to take the win on Sunday.
But Ragot’s turned it around to blitz her final run, with Rachel Atherton unable to match it, finishing 1.315 seconds back. Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Riding Addiction) finished third.
In the world cup standings, Gwin and Ragot now have comfortable leads over Greg Minnaar and Rachel Atherton respectively.