Video: 4X ProTour 2013 Round 3 - Val Di Sole, Italy

Jun 17, 2013 at 19:34
Jun 17, 2013
by The 4xProTour  
 
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From Fort William last week, the 4X ProTour riders travelled south to Italy for round 3 of the 2013 4X ProTour in Val Di Sole. The 'Valley of the Sun' rarely lets us down and this year was no different. Blue skies and sunshine all week with temperatures close to 30 degrees everyday provided perfect track conditions for round 3.

Unchanged from last year, this track simply doesn't need any changes. It always delivers fantastic racing. It is the longest track on the ProTour, but with huge berms and plenty of space on each straight, the riders can move around and set up passes well in advance.

4X Pro Tour

As always big crowds flocked to the track to watch both qualifying on Friday night and racing on Saturday night. Under floodlights, the drama unfolded.


On Friday night it was qualifying. First up it was the women. The big question was, would any of them jump the pro line doubles? With some men opting to not jump them, it was going to take an amazing run for any women to gamble and hit the doubles. Celine Gros looked like she was going for it but opted out at the last second. She set the early time to beat. Next Lucia Oetjen again looked like she had the speed but opted for the left line. Finally it was Katy Curd, current series leader and unbeaten in 2013, who went for it. She hit the first double perfect, got some cranks in and popped the 2nd double. At 45 feet long it was impressive and the roars of the male riders at the top of the track echoed out in the valley!!! It was awesome to watch and deservedly Katy took the fastest time.

1st - Katy Curd - 50.955
2nd - Celine Gros - 51.170
3rd - Lucia Oetjen - 52.293

4X Pro Tour

Next were the men. Due to his late entry, the recently married Jakub Hnidak set the early pace with a storming ride. This time held for most of the qualifying session. With 10 riders to go, the pace stepped up. Piotr Paradowski went fastest, then Hannes Slavik and Quentin Derbier. With 4 riders to go the fastest time was changing with each rider down the hill. Michael Mechura looked to be on a flyer until he slid out of the bridge that drops into the finish. He crashed hard and knocked himself unconscious. The medics ran over to him to attend. Scott Beaumont was half way down the course at this point when the call went out to stop qualifying. The marshals ran out onto the track with red flags to stop him just before the bridge. He hit the brakes but slid out at full speed trying to stop and crashed hard in the same place. Both riders were down and being attended to. Scott got up and was trying to walk off the crash. Michael was taken to the medical unit, but Scott was shuttled up to the start for a re run. About 10 minutes later, Boom Boom did his qualifying run again. An incredible run placed him 6th overall which was impressive as he couldn't walk properly on his right leg!!


Next up was Michal Prokop. He simply tore the track apart and set the new fastest time. With just Tomas Slavik to go, everyone wondered if he could take the fastest time. The answer came in 44 seconds. No he couldn't. Prokop took the fastest time, maximum qualifying points and the crucial gate pick for Saturday night's racing.

1st - Michal Prokop - 44.137
2nd - Tomas Slavik - 44. 268
3rd - Quentin Derbier - 44. 969

Going on to take the win

So it was time for racing. The crowds came out in force and lined the track 5 deep from top to bottom. The first gate dropped at 20.00 and racing was underway. What a night it turned out to be.

The women were first up. Semi final 1 and it was Katy Curd who got the snap and pulled away. The fight for 2nd was on. Helene Fruhwirth battled back from a bad gate to pass Tereza Votavova and claim a final position. In semi final 2, Celine Gros looked fast and took the win ahead of Lucia Oetjen. Tanka Hendrysiak battled hard but just missed out at the finish line.


Then came the women's finals. In the small final it was an amazing win for Elena Schwelka. In her first year racing in the 4X ProTour, it was great to see a fresh face in the women's category on the podium in 5th overall. The main event was next. Katy Curd has won the opening 2 rounds but could anyone stop her in Italy. She took gate 1, Celine Gros in 2, Lucia Oetjen in 3 and Helene Fruhwirth in 4. The gate dropped and Katy got the holeshot. Helene swooped high low in turn 1 to move into 3rd behind Celine Gros. Curd and Gros moved a little clear. Would Katy hit the pro line. The answer was no and Celine was right on her rear wheel. Through the rocks Celine made her move but in the last turn Katy protected the lead and held on to take the win. Celine finished 2nd ahead of Helene and Lucia. That is Katy's third win from 3 races in 2013.


Onto the men's. The racing all night was incredible. No one knew who was going to win any race. So many passes, so much action and one of the best ever displays of the level that world 4X riders are at now. There were more than 3 passes in every race. The riders were on fire and the crowds were going wild. Early casualties were Milan Mysik, Michal Marosi and Hannes Slavik. By the semi finals, we were down to the sharp end.

4X Pro Tour

Semi final 1 and it was Michal Prokop, Felix Beckeman, Jakub Hnidak and Joseph Vejvoda. Beckeman got the jump and closed Prokop down in turn 1. Prokop was in 2nd but under pressure from Hnidak. In the huge turn after the pro line Hnidak made his move and dived inside to take 2nd. Prokop lost a lot of ground but got up to speed quick. Hnidak covered the inside but didn't carry speed into the rocks. Prokop railed the outside line and into the final turn took 2nd and grabbed a spot in the final. It was a brilliant race.

Going on to take the win

Semi final 2. Tomas Slavik, Quentin Derbier, Scott Beaumont and Stefano Dolfin. The crowd were going wild for Dolfin, the Italian rider who was having the race of his life. The gate dropped and it was Slavik, Derbier and Beaumont wheel to wheel in turn 1. The 3 of them pulled a slight lead on Dolfin and the action unfolded in the huge berm after the ProLine. Slavik covered the inside, Derbier carried speed mid track and Beaumont railed it. Coming down the long straight before the rocks they were all next to each other. Slavik held the inside into the rocks whilst Derbier drifted to cover Beaumont. Boom Boom somehow found space on a knife edge and squeezed passed Derbier down the rocks. The crowd were loving it and across the line it was Slavik and Beaumont who transferred to the main event.

In the men's small final, Derbier made an awesome gate and simply did not look back. He has been on the podium at every ProTour in 2013 and tonight 5th place was his again.


Down to the final race - the men's final. Prokop took 1, Slavik 2, Beckeman in 3 and Beaumont in 4. As the gate dropped Prokop made his best gate of the night and bar to bar with Slavik managed to lead into turn 1. Slavik and Beckeman battled as Beaumont cut to the inside. Heading out onto the ProLine, the positions held then it all went wild again after the doubles. Prokop led, Slavik went inside and Beckeman followed him. Beaumont railed the turn and in a repeat of the semi final the 3 riders were close heading into the rocks. Slavik launched down the rocks and passed Prokop to take the lead. Beaumont and Beckeman went level down the rocks but Beckeman held onto 3rd into the final turn. When it all looked like it was over into the final straight, Slavik crashed off the bridge. Prokop could not avoid him and both crashed out. Beckeman and Beaumont flew by them and in the blink of an eye the race results were turned on their head. Beckeman took the win from Beaumont in 2nd and Prokop was up first from the crash to claim 3rd.
Winning qualifying

In the finish area, celebrations were more reserved than normal as Beckeman and Beaumont were more concerned with how Slavik and Prokop were. A few bumps and bruises for both riders was the outcome so it was onto the podium celebrations. Beckeman taking his first ever 4X ProTour victory in front of absolutely wild crowds.


This race was 4X at its absolute best. In fact the 2013 season so far has been brilliant. The organisers at Val Di Sole were blown away by the crowds and the atmosphere and without doubt the 4X ProTour will be back again at this fantastic facility. 4X has come of age and the ProTour is proving week in and week out just how great this sport has become.

Round 4 of the 4X ProTour will take place on August 3rd at Tomas Slavik's new track - JBC Bikepark. This track is set to take 4X to new levels with high speed, huge jumps and a section where the riders will race through woods over roots and off cambers. It is going to be wild.

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For more information on the 4X ProTour, visit: www.4xprotour.com
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31 Comments

  • + 28
 I feel that 4x and dual slalom could be the most popular discipline in mtbing... so much potential just due to the spectator friendliness of it. I feel that someone needs to hold these races on more "entertaining" courses. Or maybe speed and style is the way to go... interdasting.
  • + 9
 We need year-round courses. If you compete on pure spectator-friendliness, then why not just watch AMA supercross? Bike racing is special because so many people actually participate. DH is not spectator friendly at all, but when I watch World Cup DH I feel connected to it. Not everyone who watches the WC rides DH, but a lot do. 4X will be popular to watch when it is something a critical mass of riders actually do and feel some connection to.

Race organizers balk at the huge construction costs of WC tracks (or so I have read), and tracks that are rebuilt for annual races (like Sea Otter's slalom) but closed 360 days/year can never be the focus of a local scene for amateur riders to build their skills. Even if they don't have lift service or 45 foot doubles, it would be rad to have 4X racing on the weekends. There was a slalom course on the PB main page a week or two ago that was two paths down a grass hill with a few tiny roller rhythm sections, and it looked like a blast to ride! That track did not cost $100,000. People just need to build it, insure it, and the riders will come. You should see the rag-tag mountain bikers and noobs (myself included) that show up for a Friday night BMX race. 4X and slalom could be far more popular given better access.
  • + 6
 scott-townes I totally agree with your comments. We need more 4x and dual slalom, its so entertaining and exciting to watch.
  • + 3
 I agree Snfoilhat, at one trail centre I go to they have a national level 4x track on site and it is always extremely popular and super fun to ride. I have no interest in racing 4x but I like watching it, and riding it.
  • + 4
 Also, a decent 4x bike is a lot cheaper than a decent DH bike. Way easier to get into
  • + 1
 The problem with 4x is that it requires a lot of training (a great technique is not enough if you simply don't have enough horsepower) and all your preparation is judged during a short race, in DH you don't realise how slow you are until the finish line. Besides, almost everyone can ride an amateur-level DH track, whereas you need some starting technique to race a 4x track (at least that's what I see in my area). 4cross is a beautifull sport, but may be really ungreatfull at the beginning, and riders like to watch what they ride themselves. (on the other hand, I know plenty of DH guys who find 4x really ejoyable to watch - some say that they like it more than watching DH, where you only see a part of the track)
  • + 1
 Scott gets my vote.
  • + 3
 @ Snofoilhat:
You're exactly right! That's how we get riders back. Valmont bike park in Boulder CO has DS races thursday nights and they are always popular. Doesn't take much land to make a sweet course somewhere near a town...

But then you also have to deal with the masses of DH riders that complain that the tracks are too much like BMX just because it's smooth and flows. So then there is no consistency in track style Frown
  • + 1
 Very true skierdud. Valmont is fast and smooth but if you ride Durango's DS track you may want at least a 6 inch bike. Lots of variation in tracks is not a bad thing though as it keeps riders from getting comfortable and makes them develop new skills
[Reply]
  • + 17
 I miss the live coverage with Warner commentating.
  • - 6
 its not live, hasn't been for 2 years.
  • + 5
 Then... How about just missing the coverage Freecaster used to have? 4X was and still is a lot easier for the average punter to watch and appreciate, than DH.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 Dear RedBull... (c)

[blablabla]

Could you please-please-Pleeeease step up in translations and return for us those freecaster's glory days when we could watch 4x racing live
[Reply]
  • + 9
 I want a 4X course in NorCal:/
  • + 4
 Santa Clara PAL BMX has an old 4-bike gate rusting in the middle of the parking lot that I bet they would part with for a good cause... got land?
  • + 4
 We would love to come and race in NorCal get that course built!
  • + 1
 Are there any rounds next year outside Europe?
  • + 1
 @Snfoilhat I'm thinking Mikes's Bukes would be the best people to talk to about it. Or a bunch of big bike brands (i.e. Specialized, Trek, Giant)
[Reply]
  • + 6
 When I see "Protour" in the title of these things I always go wtf??? But then in 4 seconds or so it all makes sense.
  • + 2
 I had the name before they did, but I took it from roadie racing, which is now WorldTour.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 Music pretty much sounded like it was taking the piss out of the riding.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I remember back in the day (whenever that was) when the likes of Peaty would regularly ride 4X and Lopes was King, 4X was the thing to watch. I have no idea why it doesn't get more coverage and is not broadcast live. It really is so exciting. Maybe because these is so little r & d going into the 4X bikes, and is not pushing the sport forward the way other disciplines are. Still, for pure excitement it's hard to beat.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The first year at Windham they had 4x and it was awesome but nothing the second and third which sucked. It made it worth the trip to attend because there was always action at the track to see which made for a great weekend trip. To drive 6 1/2 hours just to watch downhill racing only just doesn't cut it for me. You can only watch sections on a DH track atleast with the 4x track they had built you could see a good portion of the course. I miss it.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Who the f*ck is choosing the music to these vids?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 We need more 4X tracks like the legendary one at Vigo in Spain. Just look up Vigo 4X on youtube and watch the best 4X track ever concieved!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I wish this stuff was around when I raced DS. I would have loved doing it. Might have to get my fat butt back in shape and get in old man class.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I want a live-coverage of these events! So great to watch...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 looked so fun! batesons face at 1:55 is well funny Razz wish id been there!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 saw this live in val di sole...intense!!!
[Reply]

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