Schwalbe British 4X Series – Round 2 – Falmouth, Cornwall
After a fantastic start to the 2013 Schwalbe British 4X Series in Afan, Wales 3 weeks ago, the Schwalbe British 4x series travelled south to Falmouth in Cornwall for round two on a brand new track designed and built by elite rider Will Evans. Set in the rolling hillside on the Falmouth coast, the track is quite simply a work of art. After weeks of planning, building and fine tuning this track has emerged to give British 4X riders a new facility and a challenge that tested many over the weekend.
The track officially open on Saturday morning and it was clear that most riders would use the full day of practice to get the track dialled. With 11 corners, 4 of them flat, huge pro line doubles, rock sections and a huge variety of jumps there was plenty for everyone to get worked out before racing on Sunday. Blue skies, open track practice and an awesome track made for a great Saturday practice session.
On Sunday morning, BBC radio Cornwall arrived to preview the event live on the radio and what an impact that had. Plenty of local support turned up to cheer everyone on and they lined the track from top to bottom all day.
In the women’s racing, Katy Curd, the 2012 4X European Champion was the hot favourite, but it was great to see Manon Carpenter racing again challenging Katy. The 2012 Downhill World Championships bronze medallist raced at round one at Afan and finished 2nd. So it was great to see her back again for round two. Hopefully her schedule will allow her to race the full series because she is riding her 4X bike so well these days.
The biggest headlines of the weekend will be both Katy and Manon pushing each other to jumping the Pro Line doubles. Two huge double jumps that had many of the guys worried were conquered by the top two women. The progression that these riders are helping to push into women’s 4X racing has to be seen to be believed. Jumping the Pro Line simply gave Carpenter and Curd a great advantage and without doubt the battle would be between them. Throughout the motos Suzanne Lacey, Cara Murray and Jess Greaves were all racing well, taking moto wins and looking good. Joanna Kistle was racing 4X for the first time and the Cornwall BMX rider was looking really good. Could she cause an upset?
In the small final, Suzanne Lacey got the snap and just did not look back, taking the win from start to finish. In the A final, it was Katy Curd who made the gate and led into turn one. As expected, Katy and Manon hit the big pro line and pulled a big gap on Jess Greaves and Joanna Kistle. Katy looked to have it in the bag, until Manon dived to the inside with a brilliant pass and took the lead. She held on to take the win from Katy, Jess and Joanna. Again, just like in Afan, the women’s racing did not fail to impress.
In all 12 women raced which is fantastic for the series and we look forward to this inspiring other women in the UK to get involved and giving 4X a go.
The headline acts for the weekend were Czech Republic rider Tomas Slavik and Swede Felix Beckeman. The RSP team mates had flown in for this round of the British 4X Series in preparation for the first round of the 4X ProTour which kicks off in two weeks in Poland. These two were looking fast all weekend and would definitely be fighting for the win.
Winner of round one, Scott Beaumont again looked in fine form and his track speed showed he was up to the international challengers. Lewis Lacey was matching everyone throughout practice and together with Boom Boom, Issac Mundy, Nate Parssons, Will Evans and the rest of the UK elites, would be giving it their all to take the win.
In the motos Slavik, Beckeman, Lacey and Beaumont were flying. Taking race wins separately but it was when they met for the first time in the final motos that sparks started to fly. Lacey was leading from Beckeman but after the rock section, Lewis went wide giving Felix space to dive inside. The two riders came together on the exit of the turn and both crashed out. A racing incident, but even at this early stage, the riders were laying it all on the line to get vital wins. Beaumont then went against Slavik. Tomas got the snap and led the race out. Boom Boom was hounding him the whole way down the track but could not quite find a way past.
Into the semi finals. In semi final one Slavik led from start to finish, but the battle was on for second. Tom Dowie had it but a smart move by Will Evans (the track builder) saw him pass Dowie to book his spot in the final.
In semi final two it was Beaumont who led from start to finish. Again the battle was for second. This time Lewis Lacey kept it tight and Felix Beckeman just could not get past. It was Beaumont and Lacey into the A final.
Beckeman took a great win in the small final to grab the final spot on the podium.
Now it was time for the race of the day. Slavik went from gate 1, Beaumont in 2, Lacey in 3 and Evans in 4.
Slavik and Boom Boom got the snap and battled down the first straight.
Slavik took the lead in turn 1 but a dive to the inside of turn 2 put Beaumont in the lead. In turn 3 Slavik had the lead again but Boom Boom was literally touching his back wheel.
Through the pro line doubles and across the rocks Slavik went tight to protect the lead, Beaumont sensing another chance railed the berm to draw level again. Hugging the inside lines Slavik held the lead but it was so tight the crowd were going wild.
On the last straight it was all over as Slavik came out of the last turn and Beaumont slipped, almost crashing in the process. Slavik 1st, Beaumont 2nd, Lacey 3rd and unfortunately Will Evans had a crash to end up 4th.
An amazing final that showcased the speed and precision that the top elite riders have and what makes 4X so consistently entertaining.
Big Fun (17+) – Tristan Easterbrook
Rippers – Harry Fernihough – DBS
Youth – Ryan Hutchinson – Stealth 4X
Junior – Luke Cryer – Naked Racing
Senior – Dave Richardson – Yeti Racing UK
Masters – Chris Smith – Identiti
Veterans – Dave Godfrey- WU Asquith Nurseries
Thanks to our sponsors Schwable, Fox, Kore, Stanton Bikes.
Full results on www.british4x.com
The next round of the Schwalbe British 4X Series is in Harthill, Cheshire on Saturday 1st June. If you have never been to a 4X event before then this is a weekend for your diary. Schwalbe British 4X Series round 3 is on Saturday, DMR Pump Track Challenge is on Saturday night and round 2 of the Schwalbe Euro 4X Series is on Sunday 2nd June. With camping available onsite from Friday, 4X racing, pump track, dirt jumps, foam pit and Europe’s top 4X riders in action, this is a date for your diary.
Photo Credits: Charles Robertson.