The Fort William Round of the UK Nationals Series is always
highly subscribed, as a packed field of World Cup racers tries to plot out
lines for the World Cup stage.
This year was no different, with a host of riders making the
most of the chance to prepare for the big event in two weeks’ time. But for the
Trek Factory Racing team there was added tension as Gee and Rachel returned to
the scene of last year’s injury-causing crashes.
The introduction of a new rock garden in the
bog section where Rachel crashed last year went some way to helping her over
the psychological hurdle. However, the rocky track took a toll on her arms,
causing her to pull up in her seeding run, before she eventually breezed
through the last section to earn fourth seed.
In the Junior seeding run, Kade faced off
against Thibaut Daprela, who pipped Kade to a World Cup win in Losinj. This
provided more than enough motivation for Kade, who secured top spot in Seeding
and turned that excellent position to victory in the Finals.
Kade said: “Hella weekend at Fort Bill. I was
happy with both my runs. [I] had a few mistakes but [overall it] was good.”
Feedback from the team is that Kade continues
to mature as a racer, keeping it clean and safe. Despite a hair-raising moment
near the middle of the track Kade stayed composed and was stoked to take the
By the time the Women’s Finals took place the wind had
picked up considerably. However, even the weather couldn’t get in Rachel’s way.
Some changes to her suspension paid dividends and she roared down the brutal
track to win by a convincing six seconds.
Rachel said: “This place is so savage! I’m buzzing to take
the win, I feel like my old self again. Massive thanks to the team for getting
me back on track.”
In the Men’s race, Charlie had qualified well in sixth. He was
second at the final split but mistakes in the bottom section pushed him back into
the ranks. He met a similar fate in the Finals; his race run was going well
until the new woods section.
Charlie said: “It looked like it was drying out, so I tried
to push hard and washed out and went over the bars. I felt fast on the bike and
I’m looking forward to the World Cup in a couple of weeks.”
Meanwhile, Gee’s injury played on his mind. He explained he
was delighted to have the weekend under his belt, adding: “That was a hard one
to get through; I definitely laid some demons to rest.” A day of testing has
been scheduled so that any lingering doubts can be overcome.
And last but not least, Atherton Academy’s Luke continued
his winning streak with another Youth section success.