Last weekend kicked off the first round of the 4x Pro Tour at Fort William. The sun made an appearance and the Scottish crowd flooded the track with noise, racing got underway with some crazy battles in every round. With this being the first round of 2019, riders were ready to show what their winter training has led up to and tried to dominate from the gate drop.
Every year, the twisting track at Fort William provides plenty of action that attracts thousands of spectators to support and heckle their favourite riders to the finish. The atmosphere is one of the main adrenaline rushes that the riders love and brings them back to race year on year. We hope to see plenty of spectators at each round, let's see if they can beat the crowd on the rolling hillside of Scotland.
Winning here is seen as an incredible achievement and adds a rider's name to the list of former champions and pioneers of the sport. This is one of the main rounds that riders want to win, making it the first round just adds to the pressure that racers will have to handle.
The track has seen significant improvements every year and the monsoon downpour on the Friday combined with the humid conditions on the Saturday made the track prime for race runs. The mixture of jumps, rollers and berms allowed plenty of action and overtaking spots that put the crowd on edge. Most of the track was visible with the middle being the best spectator spot, meaning the crowd saw most of the action throughout the evening.
There is plenty of fun in the 4X scene, everyone gets on well and new riders are always welcome to grow the sport in popularity. There is endless enjoyment to be had with everyone helping each other in practice and supporting throughout the races.
In the Women's race, the fight for first was between Natasha Bradley and Megan Wherry, with times being very close in qualifying and also throughout racing. It was Natasha that won with the final straight separating them when Megan opted not to jump the final double. Behind, it was very close between local Scottish pinner Louise Ferguson and Courtney Abbiss in the heats. Overall, a thrilling women race that showed that 4X is also amazing to watch in the female category.
It was drama in the men's from the word go with many of the big names and UK riders such as brothers Connor and Jack Hudson along with Duncan Ferris out early, in addition to Elliot Heap coming together with Will Evans for 'crash of the day'. There was plenty of carnage in every heat but luckily for the top 5, they managed to keep out of trouble throughout their races and grab a spot o the podium. The final was thrilling with Scott Beaumont coming from behind and just avoiding another rider on the floor but it was Tomas Slavik that brought it home in style to win another Fort William Pro Tour and another trophy to add to his collection.
We hope to see you there!
Video and Blog: Behind The Tape Productions
Photos: Charles A Robertson