Published: 04th May 2024 Images: Scottish Cycling

A Parf-ictt Saturday for Scots as Downhill World Cup kicks off in Fort William

Daniel Parfitt topped the junior timing sheets in a fantastic day of racing at Nevis Range as the UCI Downhill World Cup kicked into gear.

Fort William knows how to put on a show and Saturday did not disappoint with the Scots taking it to the best in the world at Nevis Range, in qualifying and the semi-finals.


Women’s Elite

Hometown rider Mikayla Parton (BNC Racing) took the roof off the finishing arena, as she qualified for Sunday’s Final. The Scot crossed the line as the fastest rider in the semi-final, and would later finish fifth, but produced a brilliant time of 4:51.032 to secure her place in the top ten riders that will duke it out for the win on Sunday.

Phoebe Gale (Canyon CLLCTV) also secured her spot in Sunday’s final, after a strong ride early in the semi-final. The Scot did have to worry about her placing, with a tenth place finish, the young Borders native just makes her place tomorrow.

Lou Ferguson produced a strong ride to make into Saturday afternoon’s semi-final but just came up short of the top ten, with a very strong 14th place finish – to launch her 2024 on a strong footing.

Men’s Elite

Newly-crowned Scottish Champion Greg Williamson (Madison Saracen) produced a fantastic ride on a damp track as he secured his place in the final with his tenth place semi-final performance.

The conditions worsened for the latter starters including Williamson, but a solid ride ensured his spot at the deep end of tomorrow’s finale.

Reece Wilson (Trek FR) started his first World Cup in nearly two years, and made his way to the final after a brace of solid performances in qualifying and the semi-final.

Wilson, who spent most of 2022 and all of 2023 out of action with a broken femur, finished 24th in semi-final on Saturday evening, much to the delight of the home crowd.

The Melrose rider told Scottish Cycling that he was delighted to be back:

“Honestly, it feels amazing I could pack my bags and go home and be happy! There’s still more to do, it’s a heck of a course to come back to!

On the home crowd cheering him on Wilson was relishing the party atmosphere at Nevis Range:

“It’s honestly like having a battery pack on you! All the fans, shouting screaming, you feel them! They all want to see you do well, and there’s nothing bigger for me than winning this race!”

Women’s Junior

Scottish and British junior champion Heather Wilson (Muc-Off Young Guns) had the daunting task of being the first rider off the ramp in the women’s junior field, while making her UCI World Cup debut.

However, she produced an absolutely brilliant ride of 4:59.553 to claim second in qualifying and will be the penultimate rider down the course tomorrow afternoon.

Of her ride, Wilson said:

“It was amazing, I’m so happy that it’s my first World Cup on a track that I know. I’m just loving it! The whole way down I could just hear ‘Go Heather!’ and I just love having a home crowd, it’s so amazing!”

Men’s Junior

The standout ride of the day was without a doubt that of Daniel Parfitt (BNC Racing). The local rider topped the timing sheets in the junior men’s qualifying with a storming time of 4:16.106! He’ll be the man to beat tomorrow lunchtime in the men’s junior. Proving that the future is strong for Scottish downhill.

There were good performances too by Sworley Swabey (BNC Racing) and Creag Muir who bowed out in qualifying, finishing 29th and 45th respectively.


Full report from the morning’s Mini-DH is available here.

Tickets are still available for Sunday at Fort William, including travel tickets from Glasgow and Edinburgh. You can purchase them here.