So far for 2014, the Schwalbe British 4X Series has been pretty lucky with the weather. A couple of showers here and there but every race has been dry and the racing has been brilliant. However, on Saturday 19th July that was all predicted to change! The Midlands was the focal point of red weather warnings with storms predicted and the British 4X Series had its fingers crossed that every weather forecast was wrong!
Saturday – Round 4
Saturday morning arrived and so did the contents of the Atlantic Ocean. Thunder, lightning, rain, and fog greeted the riders as they arrived! The track was wet, but looked like it would hold up through the day. The most natural race track on the circuit, it winds its way down a grass valley with huge berms and flowing jumps.
Practice started and it was clearly tricky conditions for all the riders. Spikes were the order of the day but even with spikes fitted, most were still sliding through the corners! It was treacherous.
Round 4 started on time, and who could have predicted that it would be one of the most action packed races so far is year. As riders slid down the track, every single moto had passes, crashes and wild riding! The crowd were loving it and by the end of the motos, riders were qualified through and ready for the finals.
Finals time and the track was now rutted and slippery. There would be action in every final but who would come out on top?
Big Fun and it was Ben Jones taking the win, Tyla Rosser continued his amazing 2014 season taking the win in rippers, Dec Willicombe survived in an action packed Juveniles to take the win as well. In Youth it was a surprise not to see Dylan Grell Delsol in the final due to a crash in the semi final. Stuart Burrows held his nerve and took the win in the final. JJ Scott used his downhill skills to win Juniors and in the always action packed Masters it was Stephen Russell taking the spoils. Ben Rafferty was beaten for the first time in 2014, finishing 2nd to the master of them all – Paddy Baker! Tom Burch rode an impressive final to take the win in seniors.
In elite women, Tyde D’Souza survived the B final to win and take 5th overall for the day. It was Cara Murray, Liz Fowler, Heather Kay and Clare Curtis in the final. Cara got the snap and led all the way to the last turn. A great move by Liz Fowler gave her the lead and she held on to the finish line to take her first ever Schwalbe British 4X win. Murray was in 2nd followed by Kay and Curtis.
In the elite men’s it was all to play for. Scott Beaumont and Lewis Lacey were not present as they were both preparing for the next round of the 4X ProTour in Czech Republic next week. So it was wide open for a fresh winner on the 2014 series. Davi Roberts took the win in the B final to secure 5th overall for the day and his first elite podium. In the final it was Will Evans, Duncan Ferris, Dave Richardson and Leon Rosser. The gate dropped and it was tight but Evans had the lead. Richardson was on him all the way to the last turn where a slip let Ferris into 2nd. In the mess, Rosser also crashed out. Across the line it was Evans followed by Ferris, Richardson and Rosser.
Sunday – Round 5
Sunday morning arrived and conditions were much better. The sun was shining and it was a nicer day to be in a grass field! The track was still wet and slippery but as the day went on it dried out more and more.
Just like on Saturday, the motos were action packed with passes and crashes on the slippery track but after all the motos were done, semi finals were ran, then it was time for the finals.
In Big Fun, Ben Jones made it two wins for the weekend with another great ride. In the Rippers, Nick Oaten claimed his first win of the year which was great to watch. In Juveniles, it was Dec Willicombe taking the win again – also doubling up for the weekend, whilst in Youth, Stuart Burrows also made it 2 for 2. In Juniors, it was Connor Hudson with a great win and Seniors was taken by James Whitby. The Masters saw Steven Russell keep his nerve to take the win, then Ben Rafferty returned to winning ways in the vets.
In Elite women, Teri Anne Gale took the win in the small final to give her 5th for the day. In the final it was Clare Curtis, Heather Kay, Liz fowler and Tyde D’Souza. The gate dropped and Liz Fowler got the snap. After taking her first ever win in British 4X on Saturday, she led this race from start to finish to claim round 5 ahead of Tyde D’ Souza in a career best 2nd, Clare Curtis in 3rd and Heather Kay in 4th.
In the Elite Men’s it was Leon Rosser with a perfect ride in the small final to claim 5th for the day and some good series points. In the main final it was Luke Cryer, Alex Metcalfe, Duncan Ferris and Nathan Parsons. Cryer got the snap and led the race into turn 1. Nate then dived inside and made the pass to take the lead. Cryer then caught a track marker and crashed out. Ferris was also brought down which left Nate and Metcalfe to battle it out. Across the finish line it was Nathan Parsons taking the win ahead of Metcalfe, Ferris and Cryer.
All in all a great weekend of racing that once again showcased just how fantastic 4X racing is. With tough weather conditions on Saturday it was great to see the track finally dry up at the end of Sunday, which provided the riders and spectators with a full spectrum of weather conditions throughout the weekend.
The next round of Schwalbe British 4X Series is on Sunday 10th August at Falmouth in Cornwall. First up is 4X National Championships which are on Saturday 9th August, again at Falmouth.
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