Schwalbe British 4X Series Round 1 – Afan, South Wales
After weeks of rain, snow, ice and blizzards here in the UK, finally, in the last week, the sun started to shine. Admittedly, the temperatures remained low, but the sun was shining and what a difference a week makes….
The 4 day Easter weekend gave another great reason for riders to make the trip to South Wales and, on Saturday morning everyone began to arrive. The track, although there had been no major changes over the winter months, was in absolutely fantastic condition. Probably the best it has ever been. Robbie and his crew at Afan bikepark, have put in plenty of time and effort; undoubtably this track is one of the best in the country.
The great thing with the British 4X Series is, that on Saturdays, the track is open all day and the practice session is fun and relaxed so all riders get to grips and up to speed with everything. A welcome addition on Saturday was the women’s coaching session that was provided free of charge. Britain’s pro 4X stars Katy Curd and Scott Beaumont offered free coaching for an hour. This was snapped up by eleven women looking to learn and improve upon their skills. Beginners to elites all attended and the session was a huge success. This will continue throughout the series in 2013.
So, Sunday morning arrived and the sun was shining. Blue skies and not a cloud in sight meant the track was absolutely perfect and the racing would provide plenty of action throughout the day.
In a lot of people’s eyes, the women provided some of the best racing of the whole day. Eleven were entered in the elite women’s class but, the best part was the depth of talent that was on display. Katy Curd, the 2012 4X European Champion entered the race as favourite, but on this very rocky and loose track, 2012 Downhill World Championships silver medalist Manon Carpenter was looking like she was going to push Katy all the way.
In the moto’s Katy and Manon were flying, but pushing them every step of the way were Suzanne Lacey, Jess Greaves and Cara Murray. Cara in particularly looked strong and in one of the moto’s led Manon all the way to the rock section where Manon’s DH skills really shone through. By final time Manon took gate 1, Katy on 2, Renee Diwell in 3 and Cara on gate 4. As the gate dropped, Katy and Cara were level but, into turn 1 Katy took the lead and just did not look back. The battle was for 2nd as Manon defended for the whole top half of the track holding Cara and Renee at bay. Down the rock section Manon pulled a lead and held onto 2nd with Cara in 3rd and Renee in 4th. The women’s racing really was fantastic all day and we believe that numbers will just grow and grow all year.
In elite men’s, again the strength in depth was better than ever. 19 riders entered and in all honesty any one of them could have made the final. It looked like they have all been focused on round 1 over the winter months and plenty of training has been done. But when the gate dropped who was on it…
Well, Will Evans, Duncan Ferris, Alex Metcalfe, Dan Bateson and Jordan Lunn were all looking fast and mixing it up in the motos. DH rider Leon Rosser was absolutely flying. The cage fighter from South Wales was riding a single speed hardtail and with his power was just about tearing the wheels off his bike. A top day for Leon was rewarded by winning the ‘B’ final and taking the final step on the podium in 5th place. Hopefully, this will not be his only race in 2013 as he has the speed to fight for the overall podium this year.
The top riders from last year though, Nathan Parsons, Issac Mundy, Lewis Lacey and Scott ‘Boom Boom’ Beaumont, had some serious speed and these were the guys who made their way through to the main final. Beaumont took gate 1, Lacey 2, Parsons 3 and Mundy on the outside. As the gate dropped Beaumont got an amazing jump and led the race into turn 1. Lacey cut back hard and got close down the 2nd straight as Issac Mundy had swooped back from the outside in turn 1 to move into 3rd. In turn 2 it was tight but Boom Boom exited in the lead. Lacey stayed close down the rocks and Issac was close as well. With all the elites hitting the pro line doubles, the riders were 20 feet up above the crowd battling for this one but, on the exit of the final turn, Beaumont pulled away and took the win from Lacey, Mundy and Nate Parssons in 4th. Beaumont’s win made him unbeaten for the day which was impressive. Truly fantastic racing from the elites all day was an amazing spectacle for the crowd. They make it look so easy!!
In the other categories, the racing was again, just brilliant all day.
Here are the winners:
Rippers – Jamie Emmett
Big Fun – George Stanley
Juvenile – Brandon Fermor
Youth – Ryan Hutchinson
Junior – Jordan Fermor
Senior – Dave Richardson
Master – Nick Hill
Veteran – Dave Godfrey
Full results are here: www.british4x.com
So that was the end of round 1. A brilliant 4X event and everyone who was there is looking forward to round 2 which, is on April 21st at a new track. Will Evans has spent the last few weeks constructing a new facility in Falmouth, Cornwall. It looks like it could become one of the most fun and challenging 4X tracks ever made. Hopefully, after reading this you will fancy giving 4X a go and we will see you there.
Thanks to the series sponsors who help to make it all possible:
For more information on the Schwalbe British 4X Series, visit: