4X Pro Tour Concludes with Epic Finals at JBC

Jul 17, 2017 at 7:41
Jul 17, 2017
by The 4xProTour  
 
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Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

The 2017 4X ProTour finals took place in Jablonec, Czech Republic on Saturday night in what will be remembered as one of the biggest 4X races, if not mountain bike races ever to take place. The weekend started on Thursday with the first practice session. A longer than normal session of four hours gave the riders plenty of time to master the toughest 4X track in the world. After some rain in the week, the track was in perfect condition and the riders were enjoying the new lower sections. Adding a further 10 seconds to the lap time, this was going to be a physical track when racing started.

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

On Thursday night, the top 10 riders were presented to the fans in an open-air theatre in the centre of Jablonec and with the mayor opening the event, with big crowds and fireworks; this is a town that really embraces their 4X racing.

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

Friday – Qualifying:

Friday and it was qualifying day. Thankfully it was blue skies and a perfect track. With the overall title in the balance in both men’s and women’s races, qualifying was going to be almost as important as the racing. Women were first to go. With Romana Labounkova and Natasha Bradley fighting for the overall, inside gate pick was going to be extremely important for the racing. Helene Fruhwirth set the early fastest time, but that was bettered with an amazing run by Romana who took the hot seat. Last rider down was Natasha and she could not better Romana’s time finishing in second.

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

1st – Romana Labounkova
2nd – Natasha Bradley
3rd – Helene Fruhwirth

Next up it was the men. Making this track look easy, the reality is anything but. The most technical track on the circuit was being tamed by the world’s best 4X riders. Going in reverse order, Adrien Loron set the early fastest time. The Crankworx pump track specialist and former 4X racer looked at home back in the 4X World. Then downhill World Cup racer Noel Niederberger went quicker and the times began to tumble. There were some shocks when Benedikt Last punctured and Simon Waldburger crashed meaning that neither qualified. Bogdan Bondor crashed dislocating his shoulder and Luke Cryer crashed in the woods both missing out on qualifying too. In fact, there were so many riders who had mechanicals or crashes in qualifying that the non-qualifiers looked like a who’s who of 4X!

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

Finally, in the race for the overall, the title contenders were on the gate. Felix Beckeman went first. His time of 54.930 was good enough for 1st. The crowd were waiting for local hero Tomas Slavik. In a perfect run, he set a time of 53.640 which was good enough for the fastest qualifying time.

1st – Tomas Slavik
2nd – Felix Beckeman
3rd – Noel Niederburger

Saturday – Race Day:

The riders all woke up on Saturday morning to rain. A lot of rain. It was the worst-case scenario as this track was tough enough, let alone having wet roots, rocks and wall rides! As the day progressed thankfully the rain stopped and the sun came out. Importantly, the wind picked up and the track dried out well. By the time the finals started somehow the track was completely dry and perfect for racing.

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

The opening ceremony started with dancers, flames and rider introductions. The Red Bull air race plane did some amazing flyovers, the cameras were rolling for the live webcast and the crowds were bigger than ever. The party atmosphere was in full effect and the scene was certainly set for a night of 4X racing. It was the men first with women joining in at the semi finals stage. The early rounds threw up a few surprises with former podium finisher Hynek Strouha and Bocharov Krill making early exits from the racing. The new track changes Tomas and his team had made were clearly working as there were more passes in the first round of racing than in all previous years. There were options for the riders and they were using them, much to the delight of the 10,000 spectators.

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

In the quarter finals, it was Scott Beaumont, Stefano Dolfin, Hannes Slavik and Alex Metcalfe amongst the top riders making mistakes and not moving on to the quarter finals.The semi finals lined up. In race one Romana Labounkova and Simona Jirkova who transferred to the final convincingly. In the second race, there was a battle between all four women. Natasha Bradley and Helene Fruhwirth came out on top and went to the final.

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

In the men’s Tomas Slavik took full advantage of his inside gate pick, leading to the first turn and pulling a good lead over Adrien Loron who both transferred to the final. In the second semi final it was Felix Beckeman who held off the charging Noel Niederberger to the finish line securing their final spots.

Finals:

First up were the women. In the small final, it was a great ride by Jessica Schmulbach to secure the win and the final podium place with 5th position for the day.

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

In the main final, Labounkova took gate 1, Fruhwirth took gate 2, Bradley in three and Jirkova on the outside. In the history of the event here at JBC Bikepark, no female has ever jumped the second straight doubles. That all changed tonight when Natasha Bradley cleared the jumps and took the lead into the woods. It was an incredible move that lit up the crowd. It all went wrong for Bradley though, as she crashed in the woods, allowing Labounkova to move into the lead. Holding a good gap on the others, she took the win and with it the 2017 4X ProTour overall title. Fruhwirth finished second with Jirkova in third. A dejected Bradley crossed the line knowing the overall title had slipped through her fingers, but safe in the knowledge she just progressed women’s racing onto another level.

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

Results:

1st – Romana Labounkova
2nd – Helene Fruhwirth
3rd – Simona Jirkova
4th – Natasha Bradley
5th – Jessica Schmulbach

Next up were the men. In the small final it was a battle of local Czech riders Mikulas Nevrkla and Jiri Penc for the win. Going all the way to the line it was Nevrkla who took the win and with it the final step of the podium in 5th. So, it was the race everyone had been waiting for. The battle for the 2017 overall was between Slavik and Beckeman but could Niederberger or Loron cause the ultimate upset?

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

The gate dropped and as expected Slavik and Beckeman battled hard through the first two turns but onto the pro line straight Slavik pulled a small lead and the crowd went absolutely crazy. Into the woods and neither rider backed off. Clean through there, Slavik pulled a bit more of a lead. To the roar of the spectators, he was flying and heading for the overall. There was nothing Beckeman could do. He rode a perfect lap but Slavik rode beyond perfect. He floated down the track at full speed and made it look easy. Across the finish line he did it, taking the win and with it the overall title. Beckeman was second, Niederberger in third and Loron in fourth.

Results:

1st – Tomas Slavik
2nd – Felix Beckeman
3rd – Noel Niederberger
4th – Adrien Loron
5th – Mikulas Nevrkla

After an incredible podium ceremony, it was time to present the 2017 4X ProTour overall podiums to the huge crowds.

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

In the women’s the top 5 were:

1st – Romana Labounkova
2nd – Natasha Bradley
3rd – Helene Fruhwirth
4th – Jessica Schmulbach
5th – Olga Romzaikina

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

In the men’s the top 5 were:

1st – Tomas Slavik
2nd – Felix Beckeman
3rd – Quentin Derbier
4th – Scott Beaumont
5th – Hannes Slavik

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

So, that was it for another season of 4X ProTour. We would just like to say a huge thank you to Tomas Slavik and his team at JBC bike park. This guy simply went above and beyond to produce one of, if not the greatest day of mountain bike racing ever. The entertainment, atmosphere, track, riding, fans, and party were simply perfect. We also have to thank our other events in 2017. Azur Bike Park in France, Winterberg in Germany and Fort William in Scotland all gave the sport of 4X the ultimate platforms to show the world just how fantastic the sport is. We can’t thank you enough for the events you gave us in 2017.

Finals and podiums during round 4 of the 2017 4X Pro Tour at JBC Bike Park Jablonec Scotland Czech Republic on July 15 2017. Photo Charles A Robertson

Thank you to the riders and teams, you guys are showing the world what is possible on our 26” bikes. Finally, we want to thank you, the fans. The amount of comments and emails we receive supporting this sport is simply incredible. It is your support that makes it all so worthwhile. News on the 2018 4X ProTour will be released soon. We will be back bigger and better than ever.

Learn more and follow us here:

www.4xprotour.com


MENTIONS: @The4XProTour

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12 Comments

  • + 9
 Bring 4x back to the light!! Such an Amazing discipline to watch... Same with Dual Slalom
  • + 3
 So awesome to watch the 26" wheels in action!
  • + 6
 Now that's a wall ride! Smile
  • + 3
 Massive respect to Slavik for all he does at JBC. Single best MTB event I've raced/been to.
  • + 2
 Unfortunately 4X racing isn't getting the kind of exposure it used to get, but Thomas Slavik is becoming a 4X legend like Brian Lopes and Jared Graves. You sometimes forget how important these people are for their home scene. Andrew Neethling has a bike park in South Africa, Thomas Slavik has a 4X track in the Czech Republic. Glad he won in front of his home crowd. But of course what I want to know is, what happed to the other celebrities (Joost Wichman, Olly Wilkins, Brendan Fairclough etc)?
  • + 1
 @vinay: Brendan had a suspected broken scaphoid from Lenzerheide so he and Olly sent their apologies that they couldn't make it. Joost has the radon team to run and is a busy man but we missed him as well this weekend.
  • + 1
 @thestigmk1: Aw, that's a huge bummer about Brendan, hope he'll be well soon. And yeah I understand about Joost too. Maybe there should be a 4x race after all the UCI and EWS stuff is done so that all these legends could have a go just like in the old days (when WC DH racers were racing 4X the day before the DH). Still, maybe Gracia, Lopes, Carter Prokop and Peaty have time during the season and maybe even Kintner and Buchanan. Would be cool.
  • + 2
 Sick track and huge crowds! What 4X should be!!
  • + 1
 Take note UCI...
  • + 1
 where was Beaumont?
  • + 1
 Amazing racing again!
  • + 1
 Slavik is a beast...

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