Fort William is a race that every British riders dreams of winning. With a technical track, huge crowds, our sponsors there and the World’s media watching, Scott was certainly in the mood and when practice started on Thursday, you could see he was on pace right away.
First up was a practice session on Thursday, followed by another session on Friday which then led into qualifying. As you all know qualifying in 4X is a high pressure situation. With just one lap available and riders starting in reverse ranking order, Scott was the penultimate rider to start. With no room for error, Scott got himself set in the start gate. As the lights lit up, Scott made a decent gate and was away. Nailing a perfect run, Scott crossed the line with a time of 38.025 seconds, which would ultimately be good enough for 4th position.
Saturday arrived and unfortunately the weather forecasts were right. Torrential rain and wind made it a tough day in the office, however Scott was upbeat and excited to get the race started.
With an autograph signing session at Fox Europe’s stand and TV interviews with the BBC out of the way, it was go time for round 2 of the 2015 4X ProTour.
The TV cameras were rolling and Dan Jarvis and Toby Parodi were getting the crowd going on the commentary. The gate dropped on the racing and what a night it would turn out to be.
Scott won his first rounds and then went onto win the quarter final too. He was into the semi finals unbeaten.
One thing we haven’t mentioned is that Scott is still very much suffering with back problems and is continuing with rehab every day. During the weekend his back was in pain, but Scott was able to manage the pain throughout the weekend. The problem is his starts are still not good enough with his left leg is still suffering with permanent pins and needles, the power just isn’t there. So in his semi final, he elected to go to gate 3 to stay out of the way of Hannes Slavik and Quentin Derbier, who both elected to start inside of Scott.
Scott’s speed is better than ever, but it is getting up to speed that is proving to be the problem. The gate dropped and Scott was in touch at the first jump but he was in 3rd. As the speed increased, Scott got his legs going and in a fantastic move entering turn 1, he carried more speed than his opponents and took the lead. From there he pulled away and qualified into the final and was looking good.
So this was it. Finals time. Like in the semi final, Scott wanted to give himself space, so he went all the way to the outside – gate 4. Lewis Lacey was in 1, Joost Wichman in 2, Hannes Slavik in 3 and Scott on the outside.
The gate dropped and again Scott was in touch but this time in 4th. Again as he got the wheels turning, he was moving into contention and in another brave move in turn 1, he carried the most speed of all riders and took the lead on the exit. As Scott entered the rock section the crowd were simply going wild, screaming and shouting, willing Scott on.
Down the rocks and Wichman was close, really close. Approaching the last turn, there is a 45 feet triple jump that only 5 guys jumped on the night. It is a big, technical jump. Scott hit it straight and cleared the jump. Wichman gambled everything and hit the take off on an angle – a risky move. Scott was on the berm and going for glory but from the inside Joost Wichman snatched the lead and on the drag race to the finish line, Joost took the win with Scott in 2nd.
It was a tough pill to swallow for Scott. The commentators, the crowd, all of us were gutted for Scott but as he waved at the crowd in the finish area, you could see that no one was more gutted than Scott. His family and friends piled into the finish circle to congratulate him, but 2nd on this occasion was the worst result for Scott.
Next up were the interviews and podiums. Scott got a huge cheer from the crowd as he came onto the podium, and the realisation that this result had given him the 4X ProTour overall series lead was the focus to make the last 30 minutes seem better!
So that was it for the racing in Fort William. The next round of 4X ProTour will be held in Szczawno Zdroj in Poland on July 18th. With a few weeks now, Scott is already back seeing specialists, osteopaths and having further scans trying desperately to get his back problems sorted asap. With Scott now leading the 4X ProTour overall, you can be sure he does not want to let that lead slip away.
All photos by Charles Robertson