Four weeks ago at Round 1 of BDS Combe Sydenham, GT Factory Racing swept the board in a decisive show of strength and purpose that resulted in wins for Gee and Rachel Atherton in the Elite categories, 3rd for team-mate Marc Beaumont and a win for Junior Taylor Vernon in his debut race for the team.
This weekend they’ll travel to Fort William – but they’ll be without Rachel who’s still nursing a chest injury sustained at Sea Otter.
Riders: Gee Atherton, Marc Beaumont, Taylor Vernon
Mechanics: Piotr Michaliszyn, Mark Maurissen, Andy Lund
The team will be riding the GT prototype bikes first seen at Combe Sydenham, continuing to offer feedback and data to the research and development team at GT.
The course is probably the toughest on the BDS circuit and quite possibly the hardest of the UCI World Cup which comes to Scotland on June 9th, it will be physically and technically challenging with natural rock slabs and wooded rooty sections littering the track.
The course is long (2.82 km) and steep with a vertical descent of 555m along its length.
Competition is set to be intense, just four weeks before this same venue hosts Round 1 of the World Cup Series. With a stacked field of World Cup riders approaching the peak of their training expect to see times in the 4.50s, weather conditions permitting.
Mild (high 11 degrees C) with light rain on Saturday and heavier showers Sunday.
Gee loves Fort William and the crowds love him. He’ll come to the race fresh from victories at Combe Sydenham and the Pearce Cycles event at Bringewood two weeks ago and with the positive associations of a 2010 WC win under his belt.
Marc has more mixed emotions about the course, he has won here in the past but in 2012 he fell foul of a slippery wooden bridge and was devastated to finish way down the field.
Taylor has also raced the course before, taking 6th place in last years BDS series.
Current situation – team perspectives
Gee: “I’m so up for this. I feel strong, I love the crowd up at Fort Bill and it feels like 2013’s really kicking off, It’ll be great to have young Taylor along with us too!”
Rachel: “I would have loved to race Fort William before we head into the World Cup but I’m still banged up after that fall at Sea Otter. I’ll be working intensively with Darren Roberts and my physio to get back to race condition.”
Taylor: “I’m excited for it. Arm’s still sore after banging into that tree at Combe Sydenham and the physio’s been none to gentle with me but bring it on.”
Marc: “We’re ready! If I can ride as fast as I rode last week we’ll be in a good place!”