World Cup Fort William: Dakotah fastest again – takes 13th on Nevis Range

Things are heating up in the downhill World Cup and we’re extremely proud to see our riders up there, being not only competitive, but racing for top spots. Best of the three was Dakotah with 13th place, Kirk and Jure were 39th and 55th.

Race weekend in Fort William was wet & cold, after more or less sunny races in last years we’re again treated with some proper Scottish weather. Not to complain, this is mountain biking and this is part of the game… but it’s just nicer to be out in the sun. And the views from Nevis Range are also more spectacular when the sky is blue.

Rain doesn’t affect this track that much, and luckily fans are also not scared of rain and they again made the great show for us. Dakotah was the one from our riders that got the loudest cheer as he came down – he was fantastic out on the track and took 3rd behind Loic Bruni at the time. Wind was pretty strong at the time of his run, but he showed great performance and only improved as the finish line was getting closer. He finished in 13th on the end, which is still very respectable result and keeps him in contact with top-10. He’s also 13th in the qualies and is now 13th overall.

“Overall Fort William has always been hard one for me, it’s pretty rough and long and you just have to hold it out there and be OK with kinda get a little looser. I’m happy with how I rode, I think I was strong top to bottom and I rode pretty loose. More so than usual. I knew I had to do that to do well here and all things considered I rode really well, those guys at the front were just going really fast.” – Dakotah Norton

Kirk was our second fastest man of the race, finishing in 39th. Kirk came to Scotland with lots of question marks, but gained confidence with every run and on the end improved on his result from Saturday. This should boost confidence ahead the upcoming round in Leogang.

“I came with pretty low expectations. From my crash in Maribor I haven’t been able to ride and train at home that much and wasn’t really sure if I’m going to be able to race. To qualify was a goal, to have a good run in the finals was also a goal, and to make it through the weekend without crashing was the biggest goal. I checked them all off, so it’s solid, but I’m not sending the world on fire.” – Kirk McDowall

Jure lost places this time around. He wasn’t the “right Jure” in the morning before the finals, but still showed great speed in the very top. He’s impressively faster than Bruni on the fist split, but then came the mistake… and another one. He’ll quickly back in the full race mode, but it’s a shame that he lost protection.

“I was feeling good out there for the whole weekend, but not so much today. I was off to a good start in my final run, but I made a big mistake soon after and another one in the woods. It was hard to get better result with two mistakes like these on the track like this. I know I was fast on the top and I’m taking that with me to Leogang.” – Jure Žabjek

There are a lot of good things to take out of the weekend, not just result wise. Special praise goes to the whole staff that had a rough weekend, but everything was running more or less like clockwork. Hopefully we’ll get some sun in Leogang… We’re also proud on our team partners that do an extra mile on the races and help us to be better. We again had two riders live on Red Bull TV and we took 10th place on the team rankings. Good job team!

Dakotah is now our highest ranked rider in what is already a very interesting development of the season. Maribor served with some surprises, some top names came back in the game in Fort William, other had bad weekend. Dakotah was also fastest American of the weekend, which is telling something!

“I’m happy with where I am overall, I’m just trying to ride consistently and with that speed. I think I’m riding where I should be right now and just continue to gain strength and confidence. I’ll keep working on the bike and myself, and the number on the front of the bike will go down over time. The way it’s going, it’s going good.” – Dakotah Norton

Thank you Scotland, you were wet & grey this time around, but the race will not be forgotten that easily. We’ll be back in Highlands next year, now we’re off to Leogang.

Final results:

Final results:
13th Dakotah Norton, +11.056
39th Kirk McDowall, +18.086
55th Jure Žabjek, +21.204

World Cup overall standings
13th Dakotah Norton, 147 points
30th Jure Žabjek, 64 points
56th Kirk McDowall, 22 points

Photos by Klemen Humar & Dave Trumpore