Racing in round 4 of the 4X Pro Tour did not disappoint in Fort William, Scotland on Saturday night. Melissa Buhl and Michal Prokop won the finals in front of a huge crowd.
In the women's race, current World Champion Anneke Beerten qualified the fastest and was looking fast on the track all weekend. Current series points leader Katy Curd, had a tough qualifier, finishing fourth, giving away vital points towards her overall title chase.
The surprise came in the semi-finals as Curd crashed in the first corner, trapping her foot between the floor and her bike and her shoe actually flew off into the crowd. It was a tough break for her, but she went onto win the small final and salvage fifth overall for the night.
In the main final, Beerten took gate 1, Celine Gros was on 2, Melissa Buhl in 3 and British rider Suzanne Lacey was in 4. The crowd was looking for a home win and the atmosphere was wild for Lacey.
As the gate dropped, it was World Champion Beerten who took the hole shot closely followed by Buhl. On the second straight the loose, rocky track took hold and Beerten's rear tyre exploded. Buhl swooped through, and took the lead. Beerten was holding on but the tyre came off the rim, and Gros came past followed by Lacey.
Across the finish, it was an awesome ride by Buhl to take the win and show the world that she is still a real force in women's four cross racing. Gros was second and Lacey was third while Beerten limped across the finish in fourth.
Heading into the final round, Gros is leading the points, but it is tight and three riders could still take the overall - with Beerten and Curd close behind.
In the men's race, the home crowd was going just as wild. Scott Beaumont and Issac Mundy made their way to the semi-finals and were looking to book their place in the finals.
In semi-final 1, Tomas Slavik, Michal Prokop, Quentin Derbier and Mundy were on the gate. As the beeps went and the guys snapped out of the gate, Slavik made a perfect start and led the race. Prokop in second was under pressure from Derbier, but he held on to take second and book his place in the final with Slavik.
In the second semi-final, Joost Wichman took 1, Patrik Bruckner was in 2, Beaumont in 3 and Jakub Riha was in 4. As the gate dropped, all four riders were level and in a clash of handlebars between Bruckner, Beaumont and Riha, Boom Boom found himself on the ground and out of the race. Wichman led the race with no problems, but the battle for second was still going on in the rock garden as Bruckner and Riha came together again, this time, Riha went down which allowed the two Rose Vaujany riders to transfer to the final.
In the small final, Derbier made a strong start and was followed by Beaumont. On the final straight, Boom Boom lined him up and charged for the finish line. In a photo finish, Derbier got the win to give him fifth overall on the night followed by Beaumont, Riha and Mundy.
So finally it was the men's main final. Slavik was on gate 1, Wichman took 2, Prokop on 3 and Bruckner was in 4. Slavik got the snap and looked like he was leading, but over the technical first straight, Prokop showed why he is the current world champion as he got an amazing drive and took the lead into turn 1.
Slavik was close, and after the big double he dived inside to try and take the lead. Unfortunately, he hit a flag and in one of the most sportsman like gestures seen at a gravity mountain bike race, Slavik pulled of the track with his hands up and allowed the other riders to go past him before the finish. Wichman and teammate Bruckner were battling for second. Bruckner finished in a career best second place ahead of team manager Wichman with Slavik in fourth.
This result gives Slavik the 2012 men's overall 4X ProTour title.
"I'm really stoked with taking overall title in 4X ProTour. It was my goal for the season and it worked out. And the way I took the title? Wow man, it was awesome, couldn't be any better," said Slavik. "I'm a little bit sad about Fort William, where I lost win while leading, because of my own mistake. On the other hand I'm in really good shape and I can't wait for Willingen next week. I will really enjoy that race."
There is no rest for the 4X ProTour as all the riders are now packing their bikes and heading to Germany for the final round next week at Willingen. In the women's contest, it is all still to play for and in the men's, the final podium positions are still to be settled.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Michal Prokop (Cze) Specialized Racing|
|2||Petnik Bruckner (Ger)|
|3||Joost Wichman (Ned)|
|4||Tomas Slavik (Cze) RSP 4 Cross Team|
|6||Scott Beaumont (GBr) Yeti Racing Uk|
|7||Jakub Riha (Cze) Galaxy Cyclosvek|
|8||Isaac Munday (GBr) Slam 69|
|9||Michael Mechura (Cze) Chainreaction Cycles|
|11||Tom Dowie (GBr) Identiti Bikes|
|12||Lewis Lacey (GBr)|
|13||Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze) Commencal FDF Team|
|14||Felix Beckeman (Swe) Trek Sweden Racing/Fox Head|
|15||Michal Marosi (Cze) RSP 4 Cross Team|
|16||Benedikt Last (Ger) RV Gomaringen / Propain Factoty Team|
|17||Lucas Mechura (Cze) Chainreaction Cycles|
|18||Jakub Hnidak (Cze) SR Suntour|
|20||Johnny Magis (Bel) Yeti Bénélux Racing Team|
|21||Adrian Weiss (Swi) BMX Power|
|22||Andrej Bratina (Slo) CRN Trn Team/Cult|
|23||Simon Parsons (GBr)|
|24||Francesco Petrucci (Ita) Cingolani Racing|
|25||Adam Stasek (Cze) Ghost Factory Racing|
|26||Marek Peško (Svk) Polygon Rann|
|27||Premek Tejchman (Cze) Commencal O'neil|
|28||Benjamin Kistner (Swi) Kali Protectives/ SR Suntour|
|29||Daniel Bateson (GBr) Team Identiti|
|30||Duncan Ferris (GBr) DMR Bikes|
|31||Ludovic Gadois (Fra) SR Suntour/Us Probikes|
|32||Joe Mallinson (GBr) 44-Racing|
|33||Alexander Metcalfe (GBr) Slam 69|
|34||Mirko Weiss (Swi) BMX Power|
|35||Jack Hall (GBr) BMXtrackconstruction.Co.Uk|
|36||Mark Milward (GBr) Swinnerton Cycles|
|37||Tom Gethin (GBr) Team Nakedracing|
|38||Pete Warner (GBr) Trole Industries S2As|
|39||Jordan Lunn (GBr) Team Identiti|
|40||Luke Limbrick (GBr)|
|41||Massimo Kienzler (Ger) Team Nox Factory|
|42||Stefano Balestracci (Ita) Vigor Proline|
|43||Mop Head (GBr)|
|44||Luc Harris (GBr)|
|45||Gavin Duke (GBr)|
|46||Lee Feery (GBr) Urbanair|
|47||Benjamin Ehrlich (Ger) Team Nox Factory|
|48||Jamie Askew (GBr)|
|49||Simon Cardon (Fra) Xcytt Racing|
|50||Marco Ricci (Ita) Avis Cingolani Lbdesign|
|51||Jamie Cuthill (GBr)|
|52||Jack Hudson (GBr) 44-Racing|
|53||David Jaquin (GBr) Mpora Factory Media|
|54||Milan Mysik (Cze) MSK Kur Sport|
|DNS||Nathan Parsons (GBr)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Melissa Buhl (USA) Khs/Oneal|
|2||Céline Gros (Fra) Team Morzine-Avoriaz|
|3||Suzanne Lacey (GBr) DMR Bikes|
|4||Anneke Beerten (Ned) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team|
|5||Katy Curd (GBr) Rose Vaujany Gravity MTB Team|
|6||Melanie Rugin (Fra)|
|7||Tereza Votavova (Cze) Giant, Maloja|
|8||Jessica Greaves (GBr)|