It has been a long time since we wrapped up the 2012 World Cup series in Norway- over 8 months. A lot has changed since then both professionally and personally, and the plan from my first meetings in November was geared towards arriving at Fort William with my riders in the best shape possible and to challenge for wins.
Although Fort William is the first World Cup, it obviously hasn’t been the first race of the season. We have had 3 national races, but when it comes to programming and planning training, the bigger picture is the World Cups. This would be the time when we’d see the hard work really come to the fore as well as using the confidence from the prior races.
Things couldn’t have started much better in qualifying: the highlights being Taylor qualifying first, Rachel qualifying first, Manon 2nd, and Gee qualifying 2nd…only 0.176 sec back from 1st. To put this in to perspective, that is 1/16 of 1% time gap. A notable result that was so close to being a blinder was Harry Molloy – 11th at both splits, but a mechanical just yards from the finish line left him to walk across the line and not qualify. He has the speed and skills and with a bit of luck on his side he will put in a result that his efforts deserve.
Come race day and a puncture ended Taylor’s chances of a win – he was leading at the split but punctured over the deer gate – a frustrating lesson to learn about how things out of your control can affect race runs. Phil commented of ‘losing focus’ and ‘being distracted’ during his run, a long, brutal track with huge crowds is not the norm for the Juniors. A 5th place just 1 second from 2nd place shows things will be close this year.
The Women’s race was Manon’s first chance to really get in to the flow of the weekend and she put in a great time for 2nd place. However the weekend really was dominated by Rachel – 10 seconds up at the line showing her strength and power all the way down the 5minute track. Incredible effort.
In the Men’s race, the times were tumbling and the 4.40sec barrier was smashed, so we knew Gee would have to really be on it to lead. He came on to the motorway powering down, but with slight hesitations. Something wasnt quite right but he still came over the line still a second ahead. A rock has smashed in to the bike and damaged the chain, so we were all thankful it stayed together until the finish line- good on Shimano chains! Last man down was Danny Hart, who rides so well at Fort William. Unfortunately for Danny he couldn’t put together the run he would have wante to come in 7th fastest and give Gee the win for an Atherton Double!
An incredible weekend to start the season, but with Val di Sole just 7 days away there is no time to party, just recover and prepare…