Fort William, Scotland (May 27 and 28) – The weather might have been nasty, but the Yeti-FOX Racing Factory Team found the riding quite tasty.
(This is a press release written by me, Lee McCormack)
The downhill course is always long and tough, and cold storms added even more texture: wet rocks, deep holes and gusty straights. Riders ripped across a wetland on a one-lane, rough sidewalk then dove into the woods. The dirt there is natural, but after three years of racing and all that rain, the ruts were bottomless, and the mud sucked (literally).
“You really had to carry momentum. It was a real endurance course; by the time you finished you were haggard,” said team manager Damion Smith. “There were really good jumps at the bottom, and the crowd was huge. I couldn’t believe how many people there were, how loud it was. This was the biggest race we’ve been to.”
Jared Graves rode his Yeti 303DH with a 2007 FOX 40. Looking for a optimal combination of fast rolling and hard cornering, he ran a 2.5 High Roller in front and a 2.5 Minion in the rear. Graves had a good run and placed 11th, just 10 seconds behind Sam Hill.
Justin Leov is still recovering from a shoulder injury from a 4X tangle in Vigo, Spain, but he rode strong and placed 21st. “Justin won’t race 4X at World Cups any more,” said Smith. “He’s a downhiller, and he knows it. He’s just starting with 4X, but something happened that he couldn’t avoid. Now it’s affected his downhill.”
The Fort William 4X course has lots of lines and plenty of racing action. Graves was leading the round of 16 when he bobbled and got passed. He reached the final turn in second and dove in to protect his line. Mickael Deldycke stayed outside and carried more speed into the final straight … and … he barely passed Graves at the line.
Graves rode Maxxis High Rollers with the rear cut down for faster rolling. Clever. But clever tires are no match for clever lines.
Two weeks ago, the boys raced the Red Bull Lisbon Downtown race in Lisbon, Portugal. This race rails through the ancient city streets, which don’t provide as much traction as you might expect. “The stone looks like it’s grippy,” said Smith, “but it’s been there for hundreds of years, and it’s so polished and slick.”
He clipped the boys’ High Roller knobs and pumped up the air pressure, but they soon learned that low pressure and full knobs were the ticket. The Yeti 303DHs gobbled up the numerous stairsteps, and Graves and Levo finished a solid 14th and 23rd.
The Yeti-FOX Factory Race team has been traveling around Europe for six weeks. “We’re a very close, tight group,” said Smith. “Right now we’re in a 10×8 room with three bunk beds. We’re doing quite well for being with each other every second.”
The team’s next adventure: The UCI World Cup in Willingen, Germany.
The Yeti-FOX Racing Factory Team rides the best products on the market.
– FOX – Front and Rear race-tuned Suspension
– Shimano – Drivetrain, chain, brakes, pedals, footwear
– DT Swiss – Swiss quality wheelsets
– Maxxis – Rolling the best rubber on the circuit
– Chris King – The finest headsets on the planet
– MRP – The best chainguides available
– Topeak – Pumps, tools, and bike stands
– Thomson – Stems and seatposts