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Downhill stars ready to roll at World Cup in Scotland
- Updated: June 6, 2015
The second round of the Downhill discipline of the 2015 UCI MTB World Cup takes place in Fort William, Scotland this weekend, with some of South Africa’s top stars competing – Greg Minnaar, Andrew Neethling, Sam Bull, Johan Potgieter, Stefan Garlicki.
The riders are ready to go, and some of them shared a story or two about preparations prior to the racing.
Andrew Neethling is positive, despite a recent disagreement with the ground and coming off second best during a training session. ‘Prep had been going well. I came over early to the UK to train and did a World Series Enduro to check that out but then suffered a crash doing some downhill testing last week. I’m happy that it does not seem too serious but I have just been rehabilitating and resting my injured back. I’m eager to get out there,’ he said.
The Polygon UR Team rider said that he had enjoyed the first UCI World Cup in France with promising qualifying results, but then suffered a despairing flat tyre and broken wheel in the final. ‘Fort Bill is a love-hate venue for me but lately I have enjoyed it and I’ve learnt to race it well,’ said Neethling.
Sportsnut DH Team rider, Sam Bull, is also looking forward to this weekend’s racing, and is in awe of the stature of the Fort William track. ‘I think its definitely one of the biggest on the circuit, with the most crowds. It’s got this prestige about it that it is just the biggest, most competitive World Cup. It almost seems like the one with the most history,’ he said.
When describing the track, Bull had this to say: ‘It’s a tough track, the course is really fast and brutal and its one of the longer ones on the circuit. It takes its toll on your bike but that’s part of the sport. It’s a really, really fun track, I enjoy riding it a lot. You pretty much feel like you’re on your limit all the way to the bottom. It’s super fast and the top is pretty one-lined and very rough, and then it goes into technical ‘rooty’ sections in the forest and then the bottom sections pop out into a fast rolling piece with big jumps – a little bit like what we’ve got at home at Cascades – and then into the finish. I’m hoping for a good result this weekend.’
For Bull, being able to merely just ‘be’ in the presence of so many international stars, and being able to experience the course he has only seen on screens, is already overwhelming. ‘It’s my first year racing a World Cup here and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s one of the World Cups that you always see on TV and in the movies. I was up here a few weeks ago doing one of the British Series rounds in preparation for the World Cup, and I got some good riding in on the track. I’m really hoping for a good one and I think, if all goes according to plan, things should work out. My bike is feeling good, I’m in a good place and I’m just really excited to get racing underway.’