Posted on June 05 2018
Pivot DH Team has become a force to be reckoned with on the UCI World Cup Downhill race circuit. Comprised of team leader and 2016 Red Bull Hardline winner Bernard Kerr from the UK, 7-time Swiss National Champion Emilie Siegenthaler, and Kiwis Ed Masters and Rupert Chapman, they stand a good chance of putting a rider on the podium any given weekend.
Welcome to Scotland
Fort William, Scotland is one of the most demanding and storied tracks that racers tackle every year. The course is the longest of the season, covering 2.66 kilometers, the track exposes racers to extremes in weather and course conditions as the they charge down the 525 vertical meters to the finish line. It’s not a steep course compared to most, but it is physical. The sheer length and extended pedaling ‘Motorway’ section at the bottom often decide the outcome.
The Scottish Highlands are also notorious for foul weather. Wind can force riders off line on the exposed upper reaches of the course, fog can obscure visibility, and rain can quickly change a perfect track into an all-terrain slip-n-slide. This year is was rain. The sky opened on Saturday evening, soaking what had been a fast, dusty track before qualifying, flooding the pits and forcing riders to reconsider game plans on Sunday morning.
In the start house for the women’s final, Emilie was feeling good. The Swiss doesn’t mind the wet and got of to a great start on the first half of the course. She mad a few small mistakes pushing through the slippery sections, erasing the advantage she had before reaching the flatter pedaling sections toward the bottom. Her strength is on steeper, more technical tracks like those in her home Alps, and missed the podium by a few spots after not being able to match the speed of the top finishers on the flatter sections.
Bernard is coming back from injury and excited as ever to be back racing his bike. He’s also been testing some new 29-inch wheels, getting used to the slightly different handling, and going really, really fast! Things seemed to be going well for the young Brit racing in front of a home crowd that had swelled throughout the day. He was on pace until a series of mishaps dashed his chances for a top finish. Always the showman though, Bernard took advantage to give the crowd the show they had come to see, throwing some of his signature style on the big jumps at the bottom.
Fort William didn’t turn out the way the team had hoped, but all survived injury free to race another day. Emilie picked up valuable points for the World Cup overall, and the whole team will be looking forward to the steeper tracks that await them in the coming rounds of racing.