The 4X ProTour is making history right now. Round one’s 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 center 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 love 4X and when a race takes place the shops close an hour early and everyone heads over to the ‘sunny meadow’ 4X track to watch the action.
Scott Beaumont leads Scott Roberts down the track. Beaumont came a few days early to get as much practice as possible.
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 organizer 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 center of town. The track is really fast and has some huge jumps. It is loved by all the riders and always provides exciting racing.
Qualifying got under way as did the barbie’s and beer
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.
Crowds line the track as Lucas Mechura qualifies first
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 we all over the place as the riders slipped and slid down the track. The biggest casualties were 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 amazingly well and set the third fastest time!! It was pretty impressive to say the least.
Dowie styles the double up, this almost shows the scale of it.
Jakub Riha for a 19 year old he has so much style and speed finishing 4th is no small achievement
It’s very rare you get to be above the rider so a compulsory start gate pan was in order.
Some very nice sneeks modeled by the start gate girl. By the end of the night they where a write off.
Freecaster live feed commentary booth right next to the track
The track had been baked for weeks on end and it was running so fast. Add a little bit of water and it would become lethal.
Nathan Parsons during qualifying, just before the rain came down…
…and there we have it, pissing down. Have a look at how polished the track is.
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.
Yeah that’s right your eyes aren’t deceiving you, Prokop is running prototype 6.0 clips, so sick!
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.
One of the Weiss brothers crashes in a heat. We’ve all been there, crashing in a race run in conditions like this…
Poland is an amazing track, and to have a start hut makes things so much nicer when you’re waiting in the gate.
Conditions went from 24 degrees full blown tanning weather during the day, to 5 degrees and thunderstorms as the final riders hit up qualifying. As you can see the track was a stream
The most simple yet effective product. Riders went through 8 rolls of the stuff cleaning and drying their goggles.
Not a good night for Scott. Forced up high to hit a fence in the first turn meant he was out in round 1.
After being eliminated Scott got on the mic for Freecaster’s live feed.
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.
R.S.P’s Marosi in the start gate for the round of 16. He would later go on to the quarter finals where he had a spectacular crash ending his night.
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 towns 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.
Winner of round 1, Fastest qualifier, and now winner of round 2. Everything seems to be going well for Slavik right now.
There were 3 Czech’s in the top 4…
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…R Soft Web Hosting