Race Report - 2014 Schwalbe British 4X Series Round 1 - Harthill, Cheshire
Chris Roberts fills us in on what went down at the first round of the British 4X series...
2014 Schwalbe British 4X Series Round 1 - Harthill, Cheshire
Harthill in Cheshire is one of Britain's finest 4X tracks. A regular venue of the British 4X Series, this fast, flowing track is always a favourite for riders and spectators. With fun jumps, high berms and split lines on the track, racing is always amazing and on Sunday it was no different.
With weather forecasts all week saying that a wet weekend was in store, most riders came to Harthill prepared for the worst. On Saturday, clouds loomed, rain threatened but it did not really arrive. Loads of riders were on track and having a blast getting their lines dialled. Gate practice ran smoothly and it was great to see the riders in all their new kit and plenty of new 4X bikes ready for the season ahead.
As always, Saturday night was all about BBQ's, fun and talk about the race on Sunday. A little pump track action and the odd backflip into the foam pit! This is what makes British 4X events so great. The atmosphere is perfect.
Sunday morning arrived and the forecast was right, we had rain. It wasn't bad at all, but it was raining at times. The great thing with Harthill is the track actually rides better in the rain. The Schwalbe banners were in place, riders had walked the track, and it was time to get the show on the road.
Practice got underway at 09.30 and all the riders got into the track. The first turn is tight at Harthill, so you could see riders starting to look at lines in that turn especially, but also using insides on several other turns. The sandy surface was catching a few riders out, but by the time the motos rolled around, the riders were pinning it. The track was riding better than ever and we were all set for an amazing days racing.
A huge turnout of women was great to see, loads of vets and masters and great numbers for the younger categories - youth, juvenile and junior. There were also plenty of new faces in elite all looking to take Scott Beaumont's number 1 plate away.
Motos kicked off at 12.30. 3 qualifying races for each rider to whittle each category down to the knockout stages which would be held later in the day.
There were standouts in the motos in all categories. Scott Beaumont was looking in top form taking 3 wins out of 3, Nathan Parsons was also looking on the money with 3 wins in the elites. Duncan Ferris, Dave Richardson, Will Evans and Luke Cryer were also riding well and all bets were off heading to the semi finals.
Cara Murray was flying, winning all her motos but it was great to see so many junior women challenging the senior women in every moto. Megan Wherry was on it and looked like challenging Cara all day.
BDS organiser Si Paton was having a great day as well winning all his motos in the stacked vets category.
Semi final time for the elites. In semi 1, Scott Beaumont took gate 1, his teammate Dave Richardson in gate 2, Luke Cryer in 3 and Leon Rosser in 4. The gate dropped and it was Boom Boom with a perfect start that led through the first 2 turns. Behind him, Dave Richardson was fending off the challenge from Cryer. By the lower sections Beaumont had pulled a lead and was safe, but in a battle to the finish, it was Richardson who held on to take 2nd and a spot in the final.
In semi final 2, Nathan Parsons took gate 1, Duncan Ferris 2, Will Evans 3 and Joe Mallinson in 4. The gate dropped and Natedogg got the snap and led into turn 1. In turn 2 there was some banging and all 4 riders were together. Nate then got into the lead, but Ferris challenged again. This one went back and forth all the way with all 4 riders in contention all the way, but across the line it was Parsons and Ferris moving into the main.
So it was final time. All the winter training and practice got these riders to the mains. In the rippers class, young Tyla Rosser is following in his dads footsteps and winning races! A great ride from Tyla. In Big Fun, Mike Hill rode a great lap to take the win and in Juveniles, it was Dec Willicombe. Youth was a great race but at the finish it was Aaron Dalleywater with the win. Juniors and Arthur Cotterill was on fire all day taking a deserved win, with James Whitby taking it in the seniors. Onto the masters and a dominant day for Matt Hillyard gave him the top step of the podium, but for most people one of the rides of the day came in vets. Simon Paton led the race the whole way until the last corner when former BMX rider Ben Rafferty made a fantastic pass to take the win. Looking forward to this battle all year!
The women lined up on the gate. The traffic lights lit up and it was on. Cara Murray took the early lead, and with a great move in turn 2, Tyde D’Souza swooped into 2nd. Megan Wherry and Heather Kay were also in the mix and again it came down to the bottom part of the track for it all to sort itself out. Cara took the win ahead of D’Souza and Wherry.
So the last race of the day was the elites. Beaumont took gate 1, Parsons in 2, Ferris in 3 and Richardson in 4. The gate dropped and Boom Boom laid the power down. Parsons tucked into 2nd and Ferris was battling with Richardson. It looked like Beaumont was going to run away with the win, until the pro line. He jumped the first double but then the strong cross wind made him bobble. Hitting the brakes he had to roll the next step up. Nate was back onto his wheel and challenging for the win. Boom Boom held the insides and ended up taking the win but that mistake nearly cost him. Ferris also held off Richardson to take 4th.
With the weather forecast being so bad, this was one of the finest Schwalbe British 4X events to date. Great racing, great atmosphere and a great race track.
Thanks to the series sponsors Schwalbe, all marshals, medics, volunteers and riders who help to make it all possible.
The next event for the Schwalbe British 4X Series will be on May 4th, at Afan in South Wales at the legendary 4X track.
The full results are below, and below them is a photo gallery from the race...
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