The Fort William World Cup is coming!
It's time for the annual pilgrimage to the Scottish Highlands. These are the highlights of what you can expect to see and what you'll find on MBUK's stand
The Aonach Mor track is a true classic and has been a staple of the World Cup circuit since 2002. Over the years it's gone through a few changes, but has always remained a proper bike and body beater. Last year saw the addition of a horribly technical and sloppy woods section, which divided opinion among the racers. For 2018, it looks like that's been revised, along with a number of other tweaks. Check out Scottish racer Ben Cathro's head cam run and see what the racers will be up against.
Greg Minnaar is the undisputed king of Fort William. The dominant South African has won here for the last three years on the trot. But it's never been a walk in the park, and after a crash last year, we reckon America's Aaron Gwin is going to be hungry to end Greg's winning streak and extend his lead in the 2018 series. Who do you reckon's going to win?
How to watch
If you've got a ticket then we'll see you there! If you haven't, then don't worry, you can buy tickets at the gate. The official website has all the info you need, and you can find the event schedule here.
If you can't make it to the race in person, then watch the action live or on the replay on Red Bull TV.
Where to get the best seat
During practice on Friday and Saturday, we recommend saving your legs and taking the gondola up to the top of the course. The view on the way up is stunning and gives you a good overview of the course. You can enjoy lunch in the cafe and then, on the walk back down, you'll be able to watch the racers up close and personal as they get to grips with the course. The top guys and girls thunder down so fast it makes the boggy mountainside shake – pretty cool, but also pretty scary!
On race day, it's worth getting in early and securing your spot in the grandstand. You can watch the riders' runs on the big screen and the anticipation builds as they get faster and faster through the day.
Keep an eye out for committed race fans decked out in hilarious and outlandish costumes. From blokes dressed as grannies, to nuns, to Loch Ness monsters and even baked beans – we've seen it all!
Another spectacle, for those who like the tech, is the race village. Not only can you drool over the pros' bikes, but lots of brands have some pretty special new bits on display. Keep an eye out for any unreleased kit as you collect freebies and autographs from your favourite racers. We'll be hosting an exclusive signing with the Athertons at the MBUK stand, so come and grab a signature and a selfie.
The MBUK stand
And of course, the biggest attraction of the weekend is the MBUK stand! We'll be on-site all weekend, with exclusive merchandise, bike displays and rider signings.
Here's what's in this year's goody bag:
- The latest issue of MBUK (356), with free 'The UK's Ultimate Trails' guide and sticker sheet (including Mint Sauce designs)
- Bonus copy of MBUK 355, our Bike of the Year special edition
- Caffeine shampoo from Alpecin
- Jointace care gel from Vitabiotics
- Nutrition bar from PROJECT E2
- All Conditions Lube from WD-40
- Sample from King of Shaves
- Riding socks from DMR Bikes
- MBUK mudguard
- MBUK 5mm Allen key
And all for just £5!
James Costley-White is the editor of Mountain Biking UK (MBUK), the UK's best-selling mountain biking magazine, founded in 1988. James, often known as JCW, has been an avid mountain biker since 1992, during which time he's amassed a huge amount of knowledge about the sport and masses of riding experience. He can regularly be found riding the trails around Bristol and south Wales. As well as editing MBUK, JCW contributes regular product reviews and other articles to the magazine. He's a fully-qualified professional journalist, certified as a senior reporter by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and holds a postgraduate diploma in journalism from Cardiff University's School of Journalism, Media and Culture. As well as heading up MBUK, he's worked for other cycling titles including BikeRadar.com, ChopMTB.com and Triathlon Plus magazine, along with the Bristol Post, Western Daily Press, Gloucestershire Echo and Gloucester Citizen newspapers.