Schwalbe Euro 4X Series – Round 2, Harthill, UK
Sunday 2nd June the Schwalbe Euro 4X Series arrived in Harthill, Cheshire for round 2 of the 2013 Series. The track would offer Europe’s top 4X riders some slightly different challenges on this track with slow speed first turns and big open final turns, the racing was going to be more open and predicting a winner was going to be very tough.
After practice, the elite men and women took to the track for their timed qualification runs. ‘1 lap, no crap’ is the motto used. A slip, crash or a mechanical and chances are you will not qualify. It is nerve wrecking for the riders but great to watch for the spectators. First up were the women.
Katy Curd has simply dominated in 2013 and at this race, it was no different. She rode a perfect lap that was actually quick enough for 29th position in the men’s qualifying! She took the fastest time ahead of Helene Fruhwirth, Anna Borschig, Heather Kay and Jess Greaves.
In the men’s Will Evans set the early pace. Michal Prokop then went fastest, but was quickly topped by Felix Beckeman. Scott Beaumont was next to have his run. It all looked perfect until the penultimate turn where a big slip cost him some time. As he crossed the line he went fastest by 2 hundreths of a second. Finally it was down to the series points leader Tomas Slavik. He looked quick at the top, used every inch of the track and crossed the finish line to clock the fastest time by 4 tenths of a second. Less than half a second covered the top 4!
So onto racing. In the men’s some early exits for Stefano Balestrassi and David Axelsson were a surprise. In the quarter finals a great last turn pass from Dave Richardson put him into the semi finals. A crash from Hannes Slavik would end his day and a couple of very close finishes kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.
In the women’s semi finals Katy Curd took the win in semi final 1 with Heather Kay in 2nd. Helene Fruhwirth won semi final 2 ahead of Jess Greaves. An unfortunate crash for Anna Borschig ended her day in the semi final, but she bounced back to take the win in the small final to claim 5th overall.
In the men’s Semi Final 1, Tomas Slavik took gate 1, Michal Prokop in 2, Dave Richardson in 3 and Milan Mysik the Czech National Champion in 4. As the gate dropped Slavik grabbed the holeshot followed by Prokop. Mysik crashed out in turn 2 whilst Richardson powered around the outside. Richardson almost made the pass on Prokop in turn 3. He stuck on Prokop’s back wheel all the way but couldn’t get by. Slavik and Prokop were in the final.
In semi final 2, Beaumont was in 1, Beckeman in 2, Duncan Ferris in 3 and Will Evans in 4. As the gate dropped Beckeman made the best gate and got across on Boom Boom. A great move from Ferris on the third straight and Beaumont was back in third. Boom Boom closed on Ferris and in the last turn made his move carrying speed all the way around the outside and passing Ferris on the finish line.
In the men’s small final Milan Mysik took the win to give him 5th for the day ahead of Duncan Ferris, Dave Richardson and Will Evans.
So it was time for the main finals. First up the women. Katy Curd was looking to continue her winning streak of 2013. As the gate dropped she made an awesome snap and took the holeshot. The battle in 2nd was tight and Helene Fruhwirth was bumped wide. Jess Greaves dived inside and rode brilliant through the first few turns to get settled into 2nd. Across the finish line Katy took it from Jess, Heather Kay in 3rd and Fruhwirth in 4th.
Finally it was the men. Slavik in gate 1, Beaumont in 2, Beckeman in 3 and Prokop in 4. This was anyone’s race. As the gate dropped Slavik took the lead and Beaumont was squashed in an RSP sandwich. Beckeman was into 2nd. Boom Boom railed the 2nd turn and then flew into 2nd behind Slavik. These 2 moved ahead and pulled a lead on Beckeman and Prokop.
It was wheel to wheel into the penultimate turn where Slavik covered the inside, Beaumont went wide to carry speed but slipped a little and at this level that was all it took. Slavik held on to take the win ahead of Beaumont in 2nd, Beckeman in 3rd and Prokop in 4th.
The speed that these guys tore apart the Harthill track in the final was absolutely amazing.
Round 3 and the Series finals of the Schwalbe Euro 4X Series is in Leibstadt, Switzerland on August 11th.
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