Jeepers, could it have been any wetter?! Some great racing though!
The heavens opened half way through qualifying tonight in Szczawno-Zdrój, Poland and turned the track into a mudfest for the finals!
Scott Beaumont went out early on but that meant he got in the commentary booth which was good news for all us watching!
Also thanks to all who joined us in the Dirt 4x party lounge!
1. Tomas Slavik
2. Marek Peško
3. Kamil Tartarkovik
4. Jakub Říha
Only four women signed up but Katy Curd put on a great performance in the pouring rain at Festina to take a great win.
1. Katy Curd
2. Celine Gros
3. Lucia Oetjen
4. Tereza Votavova
The 4X ProTour is making history right now. Round ones amazing success made plenty of headlines around the world. Fantastic racing, a huge entry of riders and perfect conditions gave the 4X ProTour a perfect start. On Saturday night the second round of the ProTour made more history…of a different kind! What will go down as the wettest 4X event ever staged!
Round 2 of the 2012 4X ProTour took place in Szczawno Zdroj in Poland. The track is located in the centre of the town and is the pride of all the local residents. In this town, 4X is the main sport ahead of soccer, tennis and other traditional mainstream sports. The residents there love 4X and when a race takes place, shops shut an hour early and everyone heads over to the ‘sunny meadow’ 4X track to watch the action.
The day began with practice on Saturday morning. The sun was shining, blue skies and 30 degree temperatures got the day off to a perfect start. The track is truly awesome. Andrzej the organiser in Szczawno, takes care of this track every single day. There are flowers, hedgerows and trees lining the track that make this a superb setting in the centre of e town. The track is really fast and has some huge jumps. It is loved by all the riders and always provides exciting racing.
So onto qualifying and where the fun began. Late entries from the Mechura brothers meant that they went early in the qualification runs. The new format of reverse qualifying meant that Lucas Mechura set the early fastest time and then had to wait for the other big guns to do their runs. With 20 riders left to go there was some thunder and lightening around the track but it still was not raining. With 12 riders to go, the heavens opened and qualifying had to be stopped. The rain was horrendous. The heaviest rain we have ever seen at a 4X race. Lightening and driving rain forced the commissaries to pause qualifying in case the lights got hit by the lightening. The top 12 seeded riders were all sheltering in the start hut waiting to see what was going to happen. About 15 minutes later the rain eased and the call was made to resume qualifying. The track had turned from a high speed, dusty track into a sheet of glass. It was almost impossible to stand on the track.
The times from the final 12 riders were all over the place as the riders slipped and slid down the track. The biggest casualties we World Champion, Michal Prokop and Dutch rider Joost Wichman, who both crashed out of the seeding run and would not qualify for the main event. Even in these conditions, last rider to go in qualifying, Tomas Slavik rode amazing and set the third fastest time!! It was pretty impressive to say the least.
Between qualifying and the race, there was a 45 minute gap, where riders picked up their race number plates, changed tyres and sorted race kit, rain coats and tear offs.
The rain was now set in for the night. It was heavy and going to make the track tough for all the riders, even though they had spikes on!
In the first round of racing some of the top riders made mistakes and found themselves going for an early shower. Scott Beaumont, Michal Mechura, Milan Mysik and Blake Carney suffered crashes on the slippery surface. In the second round there were more crashes and mistakes by Scott Roberts, Premek Tejchman and Nathan Parsons.
By the quarter finals, the riders left in the race were really fancying their chances. A lot of the top riders we out and the door was wide open for anyone to seize the opportunity. Fastest qualifier, Lucas Mechura was the next rider to fall foul of the conditions going out in the quarters. Adam Stasek and Michal Marosi also went out in the quarters.
The semi finals were awesome. Some great racing and smart passes. Tomas Slavik took the win in semi 1, Kamil Tatarkovic looked out of it, but a great pass low down on the track secured his place in the final. Marek Pesko and Jakub Riha also rode smart to make it to the final with a couple of great passes.
First up for the finals, were the women. Celine Gros, the fastest qualifier was looking great all night, but Katy Curd, Lucia Oetjens and Tereza Votavova had other ideas. As the gate dropped, Katy got a great snap and led the race through the first turn. Celine was on her rear wheel through turn 2 and made her move in the 3rd turn on the inside. It wasn’t enough though and she lost momentum to give Katy a big lead, which she held to the finish line. 2nd went to Gros with Oetjens in 3rd and Votavova in 4th.
In the men’s small final, Jacub Hnidak made a great start and led the race from start to finish to give him his best result ever at a world 4X event. Hanes Slavik, Felix Beckeman and Aiko Gohler battled behind Hnidak, but Slavik took 2nd from Beckeman and Gohler.
So onto the main event and the men’s final. Tomas Slavik had been unbeaten all day. He took gate one, Jakub Riha was on 2, Tatarkovic on 3 and Pesko was on the outside. As the gate dropped Slavik got the holeshot, but going over the first logs, Pesko got an amazing drive and went into the first turn bar to bar with Slavik. As Tomas had the inside he led it around turn 1 but an amazing pass from Riha put him into 2nd. Riha was a fair way behind Slavik but he started to make up ground. Heading towards the ‘S’ bends, Riha had got right onto Slavik’s wheel and looked like he was going to make the pass, but a small mistake threw him over the bars and he crashed out. From here Slavik cruised down to take the win ahead of Pesko, Tatarkovic and Riha.
Despite the conditions, the night produced some awesome racing by all the riders and showed that no matter what the conditions are for 4X, the show always goes on.
The next round of the 4X ProTour will be held at Val Di Sole in Italy on June 2nd. Who is going to stop Tomas Slavik?
For more information, visit www.4xprotour.com
Click like on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/4xprotour
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/4xprotour