Round 1 of the 4X ProTour in Belgium is over, and what a start to the new 4X tour it was.
With thousands of people lining the track in Houffalize, it was clear to see that the support for 4X is at an all time high. The racing, broadcast on several live big screens around the track, gave the huge crowd plenty to shout about.
Fastest qualifier Jakub Riha, could not continue his great start to the 4X ProTour, as he crashed out in the first semi final. Aiko Gohler from Germany, 21st in qualifying, moved onto the final with Lucas Mechura. In the second semi final, Joost Wichman raced level with Tomas Slavik on the first straight, but went a little wide in turn one, leaving the door open for Joey Van Veghel, the Dutch rider who has not raced 4X in 3 years. In the move of the night, JVV swooped past Wichman and booked his place in the final. After qualifying in 30th, he proved that, in 4X, nothing is predictable.
In the women’s final, Anneke Beerten, Celine Gros, Katy Curd and Lucia Oetjen lined up for the first ever 4X ProTour final. World Champion Anneke, got the snap and led into turn one. Celine was in 2nd, Katy, dived inside going for 2nd, but just could not get through. Anneke rode a flawless lap and deservedly took the first win of 2012. Celine was 2nd, Katy 3rd and Lucia 4th. A great turn out of women and we are looking forward to even more in the next rounds.
“What a night…. Won the first round of the @4xprotour in Houffalize! Crowed was amazing, enjoyed ever single second of it!” annekebeerten
Onto the men’s final. Slavik, Mechura, Gohler and JVV lined up ready for the gate to drop. Slavik got the jump and raced Mechura on the first straight bar to bar. Slavik on the inside had the advantage and took the lead. Mechura was on him the whole lap, hounding his every move but just could not get by. Crossing the line, Slavik took the win at round 1 from Mechura and, rider of the night, Joey Van Veghel in 3rd.
“Im stoked with my win at first race of 4X Pro Tour. You know its new beggining of world series in fourcross and its always good to win historical first race. Im satisfied with my performance tonight, I went smooth on track, had good gates, didn’t do any mistakes..just everything went as it should go every race. And in general the race was awesome. There was a massive crowd cheering, good organisation, nice track and it was just a big show. I enjoyed every single second on the track. Can’t wait for another race of the series in Poland.”
A truly amazing night of racing and if you weren’t here, you really did miss out.
Plenty of films will be online during this week, so keep an eye out for them on the Internet in the coming days.
Pos Nr Name Nat Team
1. 2 SLAVIK Tomas CZE RSP 4 CROSS RACING TEAM
2. 9 MECHURA Lukas CZE CHAINREACTIONCYCLES
3. 30 VAN VEGHEL Joey NLD TEAM: MEYBO-STINKSAUS
4. 21 GÖHLER Aiko DEU NUKEPROOF
5. 3 WICHMAN Joost NLD ROSE VAUJANY GRAVITY MOUNTAINBIKE
Pos Nr Name Nat Team
1. 1 F BEERTEN Anneke NLD MILKA – SUPERIOR RACING TEAM.
2. 2 F CÉLINE Gros FRA MORZINE-AVORIAZCONSEIL GÉNÉRAL HAUTE-SAV
3. 3 F CURD Katy GBR ROSE VAUJANY GRAVITY MOUNTAIN BIKE TEAM
4. 4 F OETJEN Lucia CHE THÖMUS RACING TEAM
5. 5 F HORRIDGE Emily GBR TRANSITION BIKES UK
Full Results www.4xprotour.com
Round 2 is at Sczcawno Zdroj, Poland in 3 weeks time – May 5th.
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Photos Charles Robertson & Chris Roberts