Last weekend, Scott had one of his most important races on the 2017 calendar. The 4X ProTour round in Fort William, Scotland. Held as part of the Fort William Downhill World Cup weekend, this event attracts thousands of fans who flock to the Scottish Highlands to watch 4X ProTour, Downhill World Cup and the impressive side events.
The race had a good entry, so when practice started the track had a constant flow of riders as everyone got to grips with it. The weather was wet, but in many ways, that helped the new track changes to bind together. The new changes were good as they added 2 extra turns to the track which would really help passing opportunities come race time.
Scott has had some great results here in the past and always rides his track well so we were confident heading into qualifying.
With all the top riders injury free, this year’s 4X ProTour looked set to be one of the best ever. With 10 of the elite men riders all more than capable of taking wins and the overall title, the strength in depth of 4X ProTour is now better than ever. Scott knows that consistency will be the key and was looking for a decent qualifying to set up his race night.
In his qualifying run, visually, Scott looked one of the quickest on course and as he crossed – until the last turn where Scott ran off line and almost crashed. Having to roll through the final jump, Scott lost a lot of time, but still managed to cross the finish in 5th. Clearly gutted, Scott knew he was on a flier and it was time to plan racing on Saturday night. After the run Scott said:
“I made a great start and rode all the lines well. I really messed up in the final turn and that cost me today but we will be back tomorrow”.
Race day rolled around and the weather took a turn before practice started. A huge downpour made the track tricky initially, but as racing rolled around, the rain stopped and the track surprisingly was perfect. With huge crowds, Scott was ready. Winning his first 2 rounds of racing Scott was looking good. In his quarter final Scott made a great gate and led the race into turn 1. Ahead of Joost Wichman, Scott looked comfortable as he booked his place in the semi final.
In the semi final, Scott opted for the slightly smoother gate 3. This race was all time! In the last 10 years of 4X racing, these 4 guys had all been instrumental in the development of the sport and world wide promotion. These guys are the jedi’s and the crowd knew it. High fiving before the start Scott lined up with Tomas Slavik, Quentin Derbier and Joost Wichman. The gate dropped and Scott got squeezed. Having to settle into 4th position in the first turn, Scott used his head and railed the turn. Carrying loads of speed on the 2nd straight, Scott was on the move. Railing turn 2, he moved into 3rd and then in the blink of an eye, he moved into 2nd. The crowd were going crazy, but on the exit of the turn Scott then got overtook again and slipped back to 3rd. Staying in touch, Scott battled but across the finish, he ended up 3rd and didn’t make the main final.
Scott was absolutely gutted. Making the final is extremely important to Scott at this race, but after such an incredible semi final, the only winner was the sport of 4X! One of the hardest things in 4X is to get knocked out in the semi final and then pick yourself back up to race again for 5th to 8th places.
Scott took gate 1. Nailed a perfect gate and set off chasing the win and 5th overall for the evening. Scott had to hold the inside on turn 2 to protect against a pass but Quentin Derbier used the same move as Scott made in the semi final and moved into the lead. The race stayed close but Scott crossed the line in 2nd giving him 6th for the evening.
It wasn’t Scott’s best race in Fort William, but he was very happy with the way he raced on the night:
“I am pretty disappointed with 6th but at the same time happy with how I rode. That was a race where anyone could have won but I gave it my all and 6th was the result. We have a few weeks now to prepare for the next round in Czech Republic”.