Round 2 of the Mercedes-Benz UCI World Cup Downhill series brought the Giant Factory Off-Road Team to Fort William, Scotland, a mainstay in downhill racing with its legendary terrain and crowds. Racing on the longest track on the World Cup circuit, seven-time Colombian national champion Marcelo Gutierrez led the squad with a strong top-10 finish in typically tough Fort William conditions.
This year the biggest challenge faced by riders was changing weather between qualifying and finals. Qualifier day started out warm, sunny and dry during practice, but rain came in the afternoon. Tire choices changed on the fly, and after getting his Glory Advanced team bike dialed in, Gutierrez laid down a solid run to qualify 12th.
Gutierrez's teammate Jacob Dickson returned to racing after missing the past month following an injury at Round 1 in Croatia. The Irish national downhill champion qualified 47th, happy to be racing again on his Glory Advanced. Both riders also wore the Giant Shuttle DH shoe during their runs.
For Sunday’s finals, conditions were again a guessing game. Gutierrez and his support crew got it right, and he was able to move up a few spots from qualifying, finishing eighth on the day.
“I always feel comfortable racing here at Fort William,” Gutierrez said. “It’s a famous downhill racing venue, and it’s the place where I achieved my best ever World Cup result, a third-place finish. This time I got eighth, so I’m happy to be back in the top-10. The conditions for finals day, despite having a forecast of rain, were perfect. My gear, my bike, everything was perfect. Physically and mentally I am feeling great, and without a doubt that always makes everything better.”
Dickson ended up 46th in his finals run. Considering all the time he has been off the bike, it was a solid result as he looks forward to the rest of the season. Next up is Round 3 in Leogang, Austria, this coming weekend.