Why is it so hard to predict “Fort Bill” favorites? If I could answer that question in one sentence, this version of the column would not exist.
Impressive with high speeds in artificially created rocky fields, which can be seen from a distance for spectators, drivers and track have never grown apart. But why exactly, it is now so difficult to say which drivers have the right competencies for this?
That’s what makes the Fort William course so tough
Let’s stick to the track first before talking about the requirements for drivers and equipment.
With a running time of almost 4.5 minutes, we are at a distance where you can say with certainty that World Cup riders * must also share the forces.
If you have rationed the power properly and half of the race went well, the next challenge comes. Your heart rate is likely to increase by another 10 beats as soon as you can see the entrance to the forest in the distance.
If the weather in Scotland has been friendly, at least only deal with the normal problems of tight turns in really steep heels filled with ugly roots. If dinner was not eaten the day before, one can still imagine it all with the very slippery soft soap on the tires. The driver’s shift from extremely high speed with plenty of body tension and strength to a relaxed, highly concentrated, safe driving style is an absolute challenge during the adrenaline-filled race.
I could even experience how I got stuck in the mud after a steep fall, which unfortunately ended the race. So if you have mastered the forest without falling and reasonably fast, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
The last part of the route, though less difficult, is no less critical when it comes time. The Motoway has big, long jumps that take and generate a lot of momentum if mastered perfectly. The same, but exactly the opposite if you have a small hanger or are too exposed to the wind on the bike.
What does it take to win Fort William?
The suspension at Fort William could probably be a topic for a doctoral dissertation entitled: “The balance act of perfect cushioning when it has to decide between filtering the hard hits and drops and propulsion in compressions and flat sections”.
So let’s summarize the requirements for the chassis settings: on the one hand it must not be set too hard so that the force reaches the target, on the other hand it must not be too soft to get out of corners as quickly as possible and no waste of time on flat sections and hop. It is not easy…
The same can be projected on the tires: enough grip to cross the slippery forest without falling versus a harder rubber compound to cover the rest of the route fast enough.
In the past, it has often happened that custom-made products have been seen on such routes, for example to adapt the chassis to the corresponding requirements during the race.
Let’s see if we can discover something new in the livestream this weekend.
Who can shine how on the cult track?
So what do drivers need to bring with them to shine on the iconic Fort Bill circuit? Reflected assessments of your own strengths and weaknesses are likely to be crucial to deciding on the right choice of material and chassis setup. So experience could play a role here, which would bring the older drivers back to the forefront.
Nerves of steel ropes, so the shift from fast and hard to loose and smooth happens deliberately in the race. Appropriate fitness or enough rationality during an adrenaline-filled race, the ability to portion your strength correctly so you can run 100% raceline to the finish line.
And all that in front of almost 30,000 spectators along the route and you in front of the television at home. Which brings us to another special feature, for there are only so many spectators along the route in France. However, the Scots are more weather-resistant, so the number of spectators remains high, even if it rains a whole week.
The only reason the Scots would leave the field would be the little mosquitoes: ugly little mosquitoes that surround and bite you in such masses that you can not endure the same place for 5 minutes. It is actually a challenge for the riders, for the section training and the assessment of key sections quickly becomes a test. Too many stitches also weaken the body of a high-performance downhiller!
I have already competed in Fort William 3 times and it took me some time to gain experience with the course and to get a handle on the special conditions on site.
Nevertheless, I now hang out with you and give you my favorites for the race on Sunday:
Let’s cheer together and see who can conquer the legendary course in the heights of Scotland.