British 4X season finale - report, photos and video
From grassroots through to pros. 4X racing at its finest.
You can't beat a bit of grassroots racing and 4X is perfect for that. Rock up on your trusty hardtail, enjoy unlimited practice runs and then battle elbow-to-elbow on track.
The British 4X Series is one of the few events where you can do just that and race alongside pros at a national level.
Last weekend saw the British 4X series finals from Harthill, Cheshire and Bike Park Wales' Will Soffe has fired over this report:
Words by Will Soffe
Photos by Andy Cole
This weekend saw the sixth and final round of the UK 4X series at Harthill in deepest, darkest Cheshire.
The venue is a small bike and mountain board park run by Hale’s Bikes and Boards (a local shop) and boasts a surprisingly massive number of facilities! There’s a coffee shop, three pump tracks, two skills area, a foam pit, vert ramp, dirt jump zone and not one, but TWO 4X tracks. It was all I could do to focus on racing and not get distracted by all the cool things to play on!
The track was steeper than the average 4X track which was good news for people who don’t like pedalling or run flat pedals (or both in my case!). If you think 4X is all about racing mountain bikes round a flat BMX track you should definitely come race Harthill - it’s fast, full of really fun jumps and built for tight racing. Notable features were the second turn which had four possible line choices built in - one for each racer. There was also a really cool rhythm section with pro and amateur lines side-by-side. Pros were treated to two big doubles, the rest had two table tops.
The Rippers category saw some impressive talent with kids who were a quarter of the size of the jumps tackling the track like seasoned champs William Chater took the win from brothers Tyler Partridge in second and Louis Partridge in third. Those guys are so rad and have been battling each other all year.
Juvenile men (13-14 year olds) was won by Will Mills ahead of Keon Smith-McDermott and Jay Fairbank in third. Youth men (15-16 year olds) saw Dec Willicombe take the win ahead of Oscar Powell and Callum Knight. The Masters category saw some very close racing with Lee Feery coming out on top in the final ahead of David Sibley and Gareth Parr.
Fifteen women showed up to race which is a great turn out for any race! The fastest female on the day was Junior rider and overall UK 4X title winner Natasha Bradley who has won every round this year and showed the reason for her dominance by sailing effortlessly through the pro-line on every run. Fellow Junior Rosy Monaghan took second place ahead of Senior Rona Strivens in third spot. Claire Calland finished sixth in Open women and wrapped up the overall Masters Women title.
So just in case Senior men all looks a bit too serious and you want to enjoy the lighter side of the weekend, there is the “Fun" category. Fun men was won by Edward Cook from Fred Hunt and Harrison Dyer. Big Fun was won by Mitchell Chapman from Oliver Tustain in second and Greg Parry in third.
The much more serious (not really!) Senior men was won by Ben Jones who managed to take the series overall to boot. Lewis Ashe (on his new full suspension Commencal) and Martin Brown put up and excellent fight and finished second and third respectively.
Last but not least are the elites. The fastest 4X riders in Britain and serious contender on the 4X Pro Tour. With the top three title contenders all able to win the overall coming into the final round there was a sense of anticipation to see which of them would come out on top.
World number three Lucas Cryer was on dominant form all weekend winning all of his motos and semi-final to make it into the A-final. After a big crash in the semi-final, Will Evans was thankfully unhurt, but frustrated in his attempt to make the A-final. Will duly won the B-final but that wasn’t enough for the top spot and Will finished third overall in the series.
The A-final saw Luke Cryer continue his perfect weekend, leading out Duncan Ferris who couldn’t manage to make a pass stick. However second was enough for Duncan to take the overall UK 4X title. Luke was stoked to take his first ever UK 4X race win. 2017 overall series title for Luke maybe?
The 4X community never cease to amaze me. Everyone supports each other and is willing to lend a hand when it is needed. There’s such a family feel and it always feels as though people share in each other’s success, even if they’ve just been beaten by them!
If you’ve never tried 4X, keep an eye out for the 2017 dates which will be announced shortly. It’s great fun, everyone is super friendly and it’s the perfect mix of racing and having a laugh. This was my first season of 4X racing and I’m completely addicted - see you again in the start gate in 2017!
Thanks to Chris and the Naked Racing team for a brilliant year of exciting racing. Get your calendar clear and come and give it a go next year.