MTB DH World Cup Fort William preview: How to watch + Reece Wilson bike check

EVERYTHING you need to get ready for the Downhill World Cup opener on an iconic track

Fort William, one of the most revered tracks in downhill racing, is back on the World Cup docket. It’s hard to imagine a more dramatic way to start the season.

The Trek Factory Racing Downhill crew is back with something to prove, including Scotland’s own Reece Wilson coming off an injury-riddled year. Meanwhile, The Union and Unior-Sinter will be entering the race with a cadre of exciting young riders who have already been tearing up their respective circuits in 2024. 

The Fort William course is the same you’ve come to know and love (or love to hate, depending). It’s long at nearly three kilometers, and just as punishing as ever. Though it’s not the steepest or most technical track, it’ll be the riders’ biggest single endurance test of the year. No part of it is flat. It opens on rocky moorland, transitions to root-y woods, and finishes with an all-gas stretch that includes several serious jumps. 

The weather almost never cooperates. The current forecast calls for drizzly conditions and tame winds. By Fort William standards, an absolutely gorgeous weekend.

A balmy forecast by Fort William standards.

We can’t wait for the season to get underway. Read on to catch up on what the Trek contingent has been up to, check out Reece Wilson’s incredible custom paint job, and get all the schedule details you need, including how to watch the action.

Reece Wilson may be the most closely watched rider in Fort William, coming off injury and racing in his native Scotland.

It's the start of a new era for Bodhi Kuhn: Joining elites AND trying out facial hair.

Trek Factory Racing DH is fired up

There’s no shortage of storylines among the four riders making up this year’s TFR DH squad. Loris Vergier finished third on the 2023 World Cup overall after one of the most consistent seasons of his career, but he missed out on a World Cup win for the first time since 2019. Wilson broke his leg before the 2023 season, and the former World Champion is champing at the bit to race at full strength again. Bodhi Kuhn, winner in Val di Sole last season, is embarking on his first season as an elite-level rider. And Sacha Earnest is the team’s newcomer, racing as a junior after winning two World Cup races last season.

There’s no lack of motivation among the ranks. If you want to get to know the riders even better, we strongly encourage you to watch the team’s season kickoff video:

Want to dive even deeper into this year’s squad? You can watch our 2023 season recap video and catch up on all the action you may have missed, and also check out the team’s sweet new training and racing kits for 2024. 

Reece's froggy rig 🐸

Reece Wilson will be racing Fort William on a dream scheme Session paint job, courtesy of Trek’s magnificent painters. The scheme, which also covers the custom RockShox BoXXER fork, was inspired by a poison dart frog. Let Wilson explain as he walks you through the bike:

Here’s a few more photos of Reece’s bike to whet your whistle:

The Union crew is looking fresh as hell.

Unior-Sinter will sport one of the sickest paint schemes in the game.

The Union and Unior-Sinter are ready for primetime

Both development teams under the Trek umbrella have similar names and similarly big ambitions. Come to think of it, they also both share an absolutely rad sense of style. But they boast a unique crew of riders, all with their eyes set on podiums and proving they belong on the biggest stages in downhill racing.

The Union is one of Trek’s newest devo squads. It’s also one of the most unique teams in cycling, period. The Union was started as a non-profit dedicated to giving overlooked and under-resourced riders a chance to demonstrate their talent. They’ve had a wildly successful 2024 since joining the Trek family. Ellie Hulsebosch and Lachie Stevens-McNab both scored New Zealand national titles and wins at Crankworx Rotorua, while Frida Rønning is in incredible form, winning Tennessee National. Hulsebosch and Christian Hauser both have the speed to win the women’s and men’s junior events in Fort William, respectively. 

Unior-Sinter has been riding on Trek Sessions since 2023. They boast a pair of Scottish riders — 19-year-old Aimi Kenyon, and 15-year-old Stan Nisbet — who know Fort William well, although Nisbet is still too young to take on the World Cup circuit. Kenyon, however, is the defending junior UK national champion, and she’s stepping up to the elite ranks this year, joining her fellow teammate Ben Zwar. Oli Clark, another Kiwi, rounds out the squad. The 17-year-old finished second at New Zealand national champs in February.

The Union and Unior-Sinter represent some of downhill racing’s future best and brightest. Don’t be surprised if Fort William is a coming out party.

The riders are all tuned up for a sick track.

Schedule and how to watch

Racing will be broadcasted on Max in the United States, Flosport in Canada, Eurosport Channels and discovery+ throughout most of Europe, Stan Sport in Australia, and StayLive in New Zealand.

If you don’t see your country listed, or for more information, click this link to the UCI MTB World Series website

Saturday’s elite semi-finals and Sunday’s junior finals will be broadcasted for FREE on the UCI MTB World Series YouTube channel. To watch the elite finals, you’ll need a subscription to one of the services listed above.

Here’s the full schedule for Saturday and Sunday. Note: There are no times listed as of yet for Saturday’s racing, only an order of events.

Head honcho Andrew Shandro keeping the vibe loose.

Saturday, May 4

  • Women’s Elite Qualifications
  • Men’s Elite Qualifications
  • Women’s Junior Qualifications
  • Men’s Junior Qualifications
  • Women’s Elite Semi-finals
  • Men’s Elite Semi-finals

Sunday, May 5

  • Women’s Junior Finals  – 11:30 a.m. local/6:30 a.m. ET
  • Men’s Junior Finals – 12 p.m. local/7 a.m. ET
  • Women’s Elite Finals – 1:15 p.m. local/8:15 a.m. ET
  • Men’s Elite Finals – 2 p.m. local/9 a.m. ET

Reece admiring the craftmanship.

The best way to keep track of all the action is by following TFR DH, The Union and Unior-Sinter on Instagram, where you’ll get race updates and a behind-the-scenes look as the squads battle one of the most iconic venues in the sport. We can’t wait to watch.