4X NATIONAL CHAMPS 2013
(IS THE PARTY REALLY OVER?)
Why do we throw parties? Is it because the media has made it look like the cool thing to do, the public’s obsession with sex, drugs and a rock and roll lifestyle, or just the fact that most of us enjoy jelly and ice cream?
The ‘cool’ people get invited to parties all the time. I’ve never really been very cool, so whilst applying fake tan to my pasty white legs one summers evening (to make myself a bit cooler I suppose) I spotted an article there on the bathroom floor in my wife’s magazine with the title 6 SECRETS TO GETTING INVITED TO A PARTY. Honest of god, it was there in black and white and I couldn’t believe that anyone was willing to write such drivel.
I’m not going to tell you what the secrets were, but let’s just say that you should never call the people or person who’s hosting the party ‘an arrogant short sighted prick or pricks’ for not inviting you, or ring the door bell of your prospective host and say “Sorry I’m late and is it ok if I tie my lama to your antique fireplace?”
The fact is a truly entertaining party is all about the people who are there, mixing it up, dancing a jig in their style and their style alone, whilst playing a different beat to a different drum.
By now you must be asking yourself what the hell has all this got to do with four-cross racing? The fact is, for some strange reason, the UCI dropped 4X racing from its World Cup schedule and most (if not all) media people simply abandoned the sport.
So is the 4X party finally over? After going to watch (and cheer) at the recently held UK National Champs at Bridgnorth, I can honestly say, with one hand on my heart and the other firmly shoved up the chairman of the UCI’s arse, is it fuck! (Without prejudice of course).
The UK 4X people are a close knit bunch. They are all truly into their chosen sport and are willing to do everything for it to succeed. The skill level of the top boys is something to behold and the boys and girls who are lacking a bit in the skills department make up for it in guts, glory and smiles. It really was a fantastic party to attend, whether you were a spectator from the side of the dance floor or moonwalking across it.
THE DANCE FLOOR…
The dance floor at the 2013 national champs was rock hard and dusty. Thankfully the kind of terrain mountain bikes should be raced on. Now our dance floor had a tricky first straight and the recently built double (by a farmer called Jack) had our dancers pulling all sorts of weird moves. The riders had to hit ‘Jacks’ double pretty much as soon as they left the gate and it proved to be to test for most. In fact, I only saw two elite ‘dance crew’ members ‘double up’ on the said jump, those being Dowie and Beaumont. Everyone else was either picking up into it or trying to manual through (which looked pretty difficult). The rest of the track was gravity fed, with a super fast downhill into a dust filled left hander, over a pump bump, a couple of jumps, followed by a right hand turn, into a step-up, then a long right hand sweeper and a dash to the finish line. Scott Beaumont had the fastest qualification time across the dance floor of 38.03, followed by Dowie on a 39.71, then Nate Dog Parsons with a 39.76. Senior qualification had a mixture of moves from a rhumba, to a waltz right through to 70’s disco.
THE GIRLS WATCH THE BOYS…
‘Showbiz’ parties usually have pretty girls and handsome men. The race at Bridgnorth was no different. The sunny weather brought out lots of spectators, so the girls watched the boys, whilst the boys ogled the girls, who in turn, watched the rider’s go by. It was a showbiz party with a dress code of full face helmets, race shorts and shirts with your name on the back. Thankfully the ‘no trainers’ policy wasn’t the case at this grand occasion.
THE YOUNG MC’S…
Every good party needs a compare, you know, someone who rambles on in the background (usually annoyingly). Coops and Mophead are fantastically entertaining on the mic. Their enthusiasm towards the racing is over the top (but in a good way), and for two white kids they can race ‘RAP’ right up there with the best of them. They really are quite funny and are to four-cross racing what Ant and Dec are to that ridiculous jungle TV show. Annoying at times, but always entertaining.
PASS THE PARCEL…
If you’ve ever played pass the parcel you must know that there is an element of luck involved. 4X is no different. Some riders have the instinct of when to hold back a little or rip that piece of paper off in a hurry and stay out of trouble.
The parcel winners:
Senior- Scott Beaumont
Boom Boom Beaumont’s racing is like a fine wine. It gets better with age. In the 90 degree heat Scott’s riding skills lifted the temperature even further. He set the fastest time in qualification and the only other rider who looked capable of challenging him throughout the day was Tom Dowie. However when the gate dropped for the senior final Boom Boom simply F’d off.
Senior women- Katie Curd
Katie really is in a class of her own. Her seeding run time was up there with the men’s, that’s how fast this girl is. She won the women’s final with ease (it was just a formality really). The race organisers need to handicap Miss Curd to make things a little more interesting, that’s how far ahead she is.
Juvenile- Brandon Fermor
Start off as you mean to go on. For a ‘young gun’ this kid rips. He raced all day and never really got out of shape once. Just check out his Stealth 4X Team video and you’ll see why he’s national champ.
Youth- Dylan Grell-Delsol
Dylan is the future of 4x racing. His track skills make you think that you’re watching a senior race, only to find when he takes his helmet off he’s just a kid. Dylan should be on every ones ‘A’ guest list.
Female (youth) – Megan Wherry
Megan’s appearance is deceiving. She is so pretty and quietly spoken that you can’t believe she rides a bike in the manner she does. I didn’t quite see what happened in the female youth final, but I do know that Megan crossed the line first and showed grace and decorum as she did. Just like a princess at a party I suppose.
Master- Neil Harbour
Neil is a power house and his gate shows. He simply gets the job done without any nonsense or fuss. If you’re in his way, he’ll move you out of it and he was more than chuffed on taking the national champs jersey in masters. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Veteran- Si Paton
It’s been a long time coming. The good cop, bad cop routine finally paid off and your BDS race organiser took the win in vets. Si has been spending most of his free time down the BMX tracks, it shows and come finals time he didn’t disappoint. Nobody really got close to Si in the last race of the day and he cruised to victory. What a guy.
Junior- Luke Cryer
Apparently Luke jumped farmer Jacks double on the first straight (I only saw Beaumont and Dowie jump it). If Luke has the skills to do that, then it’s obvious why he’s junior national champ. Luke outclassed everyone in juniors all day long. Is it time for ‘skywalker’ to step up to seniors?
You are always going to get them. The uninvited guest who shouldn’t really be there but for some reason is anyway.
Dave Richardson got into the senior ‘A’ final, when on paper the 34 year old shouldn’t be there. Dave made sure he was in the right place at the right time all day long, so that when he didn’t get the gate he needed he made the most out of the race situation he found himself in. ‘Our Dave’ passed people when he could and took advantage of other riders errors then sneakily slinked past any on track security and earned a place in the final four. Dave’s dance moves on this race day were right up there with wacko jacko’s. Inspirational.
THE LAST WALTZ (will last forever)…
For all you 4X race non believers now is the time to start believing. In a mountain bike world that’s gone enduro mad the 2013 national four cross champs was one hell of a refreshing party. It’s the type of party where everyone can get involved from the rider who are racing to the granny that’s come to watch and support her grandson or granddaughter. Let’s face it you can’t take someone to an enduro race and say “yeah, that’s a good place to watch. Just walk four miles in a southerly direction and there is a left hand turn”.
Think about it…