The 2011 Schwalbe British 4X Series has been action packed from the first drop of the gate at Leamington, back in April, and the weekend's racing at South West Extreme delivered more of the same.
The track, one of the favourites with the riders, remained unchanged from the track that held the 2010 National Championships. A long first straight, wide bermed corners, flat turns, rock sections and big pro line doubles make this track fun to ride and great for racing.
The weather was fantastic all weekend. Although rain threatened at times on Saturday, it held off and on Sunday, it was blue skies all day. A decent crowd showed up, with lots of general public watching through the whole weekend. It was also nice to see some new faces racing for the first time.
So onto the racing.
In the Elite Women’s, it looked like being a battle between Nichola Anderson and Suzanne Lacey all weekend. Swapping moto wins in the first three races, Nichola unfortunately crashed out in the fourth moto, badly injuring her knee. Unknown at the time, the damage was quite severe and would keep her out of the racing on Sunday. In the final Suzanne Lacey got the better of all the others and took the win from Nichola Anderson, Cara Murray and Jess Greaves. Close racing all day, but Suzanne came out on top in round 5.
On Sunday, Nichola was unable to race and that left the door wide open for the inform Suzanne Lacey to take the win again in round 6. Cara Murray rode really well all weekend and she took 2nd ahead of Jess Greaves in 3rd. The standard in women’s racing has really been raised this year and it will be really interesting to see how these girls get on at the final World Cup in Val Di Sole in a week's time.
In the Elite Men’s, Lewis Lacey was back from a year out and looked really fast during practice. Scott Beaumont, Nathan Parssons and Tom Dowie also looked good in practice and it looked like racing was going to be very close. In the motos, Lacey, Parssons, Dowie and Will Evans all took some moto wins, but it was Beaumont who won all his motos, that would move onto the final with the crucial gate pick. In the final Beaumont took gate 1, Lewis Lacey in 2, Parssons in 3 and Dowie in 4. From the drop of the gate, Beaumont got into the lead and did not look back taking the win at round 5. The fight for 2nd was close with Lacey and Parssons trading positions, but at the finish line it was Lewis Lacey who grabbed 2nd ahead of Nathan Parssons and Tom Dowie in 4th.
Round 6 was held on Sunday and the same guys were looking like the favourites. Beaumont once again went undefeated in his motos and Lacey, Dowie, Parssons and Evans took moto wins again, with Pat Campbell Jenner mixing it up with them aswell. The 2nd semi final was one of the best races of the year with 4 position changes on the last straight. Tom Dowie was leading from Jake Ward. They both took the pro line, but when Dowie cased the landing, Ward was out wide and off balance. Dowie had to roll the step up which Jake jumped ..... but cased hard. These mistakes from the front 2 gave Will Evans enough momentum down the table tops to catch up. Dowie had to roll the final double and was now 3rd, but Jake Ward committed and unfortunately crashed on the last double whilst leading, meaning that Dowie and Evans made it to the final. An epic last straight that had the whole crowd on the edge of their seats.
In the final, Beaumont had lane 1, Dowie on 2, Evans on 3 and Lacey was on the outside. Like the day before, Boom Boom made a great gate from the inside and led the race from start to finish. The battle for the other positions was extremely close though with Lacey eventually taking it at the finish line from Evans and Dowie in 4th. Jake Ward recovered from his crash in the semi final to round out the podium with 5th position after winning the B final.Round 5 results
.Round 6 results
So that was it for rounds 5 and 6. Another fantastic weekend of racing on the south west coast of England. The final round will take place on 18th September at one of the country’s best tracks – Redhill in Gloucestershire. Look out for the race preview in a couple of week's time, but be sure to follow @british4x on Twitter for all the daily British 4X news, on Facebook www.facebook.com/british4x and of course on the website, www.british4x.com
See you all at Redhill.
British 4X Team.