Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something…...Orange. 2012 Fort William World Cup
June 11 2012
The 2012 Fort William World Cup was a stormer!
The Orange Sprinter was loaded up on Wednesday for the truck north to Fort William. A plague of midgies prevented us from setting up our pit area on Thursday evening, but come Friday morning a breeze had developed, whisking the pesker critters away.
Friday practice was dry and breezy, with MTBcut's Joe Barnes and Fraser McGlone gradually winding their prototype 322s on the dusty 2.7km long course. Fort William is unique in that it's slower in the dry. Granite dust coats everything it touches, including the rocks and many lose their front wheels in the deceptive conditions.
Big events like the World Cup will always produce a few surprises. We have an extensive collections of bikes from our back-catalogue, but they're not for general use, unlike this 1995 P7 STX RC which is still seeing plenty of miles. We had a Clockwork Suntour in an orange/white fade on the stand all weekend that was getting plenty of attention.
The only Orange at Fort William older than this 1995 P7 STX RC was our own c.1992 Clockwork.
The World Cup was the first time the public could have a look at the productions version of our new downhill bike. The 322 has been slowly but surely refined since the original prototype was tested a few years ago. The MTBcut team have been instrumental in providing the invaluable real world testing to refine the design over the last season or two. The bike on show is as close to the 2013 spec as possible with the special decals that we're looking to make production for the stock model.
A young fan admiring our first production 322.
Everyone knows that MTBcut's Joe Barnes is one of the world's fastest on a trail bike. His ability to fly into dangerous territory with ease is legendary, and the video of him riding Ben A'an is testament to this.
For 2012 Joe is concentrating on enduros and this year got off to a flying start with Joe taking the win at the opening round of the Irish Gravity Enduro Series ahead of some world class talent. It seemed rude not to race his home World Cup though, Nevis Range is only a couple of miles down the road and local knowledge pays dividends when competition is this tight. The course was running loose for qualifying and Joe had a solid run putting him in 72nd going into finals. A deluge of rain all day Sunday changed the track conditions massively, affecting the motorway and the woods mostly. The upper sections of the course are usually grippier in the wet, but the new motorway (M82) section was getting softer all afternoon. Joe managed to take advantage of the conditions and piloted his 322 into 52nd place! In his own words, "not bad for an enduro weapon". A top 60 finish also means he has enough points to race World Cups next year.
Joe Barnes nailing the top section of the Nevis Range track
Round 3 of the UCI World Cup 2012 saw an awful lot of young guns making their presence felt. Not only that, but a large proportion of these were Brits. Fraser McGlone has a difficult year in 2011, but bizarrely, a broken scaphoid in January seems to have flicked a switch in his head. A 54th in Val di Sole is where we know he should be, but Fort William was a step further. Qualifying in 52nd place with more in the tank, nerves were high going into finals. Fraser's Saturday night rain dance certainly paid off with him galloping down into 35th position and 2nd fastest junior.
Fraser McGlone en-route to 52nd in qualifying. He'll be able to run his normal MTBcut race jersey in Mont Saint Anne.
Back in 2005 Steve Peat piloted his 224 to a much coveted and long-awaitied victory on home soil at Fort William. The crowd at the finish line on that day went utterly beserk, a herd of stampeding wilderbeest would have been a quieter affair. Grown men were seen weeping.
We were lucky enough to be loaned this special steed by the big man himself for our stand. Public and media alike absolutley love this bike. MBUK's Doddy getting a closer look here.
MBUK's Doddy taking a moment to appreciate Peaty's 2005 World Cup machine.
Adam, John, Pete and Jono packed up in record time and got away from Nevis Range before the hordes did. Pete and Jono were stoked as a result.