Why is it so difficult to predict the favorites of “Fort Bill”? If I could answer that question in one sentence, this edition of the column would not exist.
Impressive with high speeds on artificially created stone fields, which can be seen from afar for the spectator, the driver and the track have never been apart. But why exactly is it now so difficult to tell which drivers have the right skills for this?
That’s what makes the Fort William track so difficult
Let’s stick to the track first before we talk about the requirements for drivers and equipment.
With a race time of almost 4.5 minutes, we are at a distance where it can certainly be said that the World Cup racers* also have to divide their forces.
If you have distributed the power correctly and half of the race has gone well, the next challenge arrives. Your pulse will probably increase another 10 beats as soon as you can see the entrance to the forest in the distance.
If the weather in Scotland has been good, at least you just have to deal with the normal problems of sharp turns in really steep heels riddled with nasty roots. If dinner was not eaten the day before, you can still imagine the whole thing with the very slippery mild soap on the tires. The change of the driver from an extremely high speed with a lot of tension and body strength to a relaxed, highly concentrated and safe driving style is an absolute challenge during the adrenaline-charged race.
I myself was able to experience once how I got stuck in the mud after a hard crash, which unfortunately ended the race. So if you’ve mastered the forest without falling off and reasonably quickly, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
The last part of the route, although less difficult, is no less time critical. The Motoway has big, long jumps that take and build a lot of momentum if mastered just right. The same, but exactly the other way around, if you have a small rack or are too wind-prone on the bike.
What does it take to win Fort William?
The suspension at Fort William could probably be the subject of a Ph.D. thesis titled: “The perfect damping balance when you have to decide between filtering bumps and drops and propulsion on compressions and flats.”
So let’s summarize the requirements for the chassis setup: on the one hand, it shouldn’t be set too hard to get the power to the target, on the other hand, it shouldn’t be too soft to get out of corners as fast as possible. possible and without wasting time on flat sections and jumps. That is not easy…
The same can be projected on the tires: enough grip to get through the slippery woods without falling off against a harder rubber compound to cover the rest of the route fast enough.
In the past, it has often been the case that these types of routes have seen tailor-made products, for example to adapt the chassis to the corresponding requirements during the race.
Let’s see if we can discover anything new on the live stream this weekend.
Who can shine like on the cult track?
So what should drivers bring to shine on the iconic Fort Bill Speedway? Reflected assessments of your own strengths and weaknesses are probably essential in deciding the correct choice of chassis material and configuration. So experience could play a role here, putting older drivers out front.
Wire rope ribs, so the change from fast and hard to loose and slippery is done consciously on the run. Adequate physical form, or enough rationality during an adrenaline-charged race, the ability to distribute your strength correctly so that you can drive 100% on the race line to the finish line.
And all this in front of almost 30,000 spectators along the route and you in front of the TV at home. Which brings us to another special feature, because there are few spectators along the route in France. However, the Scots are more weather resistant, so the number of viewers remains high, even if it rains for a whole week.
The only reason the Scots would leave the field would be the little gnats – nasty little gnats that surround you and bite you in masses that you can’t stand being in the same place for 5 minutes. This is really challenging for riders, because section training and testing key sections quickly becomes a test. Too many stitches also weaken the body of a high performance downhill rider!
I have already raced at Fort William 3 times and it took me some time to gain experience on the track and familiarize myself with the special conditions of the site.
Now though, I’m hanging out with you and giving you my favorites for Sunday’s race:
Let’s cheer together and see who can conquer the legendary field in the high moors of Scotland.