3 Jun 2019
RACHEL ATHERTON WINS AT FORT WILLIAM ON FSA GRADIENT CRANKSET
The Fort William track has been a tricky course for racers over the years, but our newest athletes Gee and Rachel Atherton have both won here in the past. With that said, Rachel’s win over this past weekend on her new Atherton Downhill machine is one for the history books. Her win represented the biggest FSA victory on a World Cup DH track since Sam Hill won on our Afterburner cranks!
The race was one of the toughest rides of the modern Fort Bill track, with the course lashed by torrential rain and high winds.
The track was peppered with bomb holes, but the team was ready to rally and found their grip despite the soaking conditions.
Rachel Atherton clinched 3rd in qualifying which allowed her to start the final round 3rd from last. When Rachel rolled into the start gate, Veronica Widmann was in the hotseat with the best time of the day, while Marine Cabirou and Tracey Hannah were the only other two remaining at the top of the hill with Rachel.
Rachel rocketed out of the start gate and was absolutely ripping by checkpoint 1. She was 4.3 seconds up on Widmann by the 1st split and she extended her lead all the way down to cross the line in 5.15.56.
Marine Cabirou could not find her groove on the day and it looked as if Rachel would triumph as the final rider, Tracey Hannah, was still 2.7 seconds back by the 1st split. Tracey put in a huge effort to go 1.7 seconds ahead by the 2nd split and powered down the course, though she couldn’t match Rachel in the end. She fell behind in the lower sections and eventually finished 1.6 seconds behind Rachel.
After the race, Rachel said, “You can’t underestimate the massive team effort that goes into building a bike to World Cup winning standards in a just a matter of months - this win is for the entire Atherton Bikes team!”
In the Men’s race, Amaury Pierron took the overall win. Gee Atherton finished 21st while Charlie got 24th on the day – despite a blistering pace through the pinball section.
Gee expressed his emotions at the end of the day saying, “[I had] mixed feelings on today, not the best result but happy that I could ride after yesterday’s crash. Fort William can be brutal but is always such an amazing race.”