Slipping on a National Jersey and representing your country is an honor not to be passed up if you ever get the opportunity in any discipline.
For Nukeproof athletes Natasha Bradley and Elliott Heap, it was awesome to have the opportunity to represent Great Britain at the 4x World Championships. Natasha made the switch from BMX a number of years ago and, despite being still only 21, she's now a seasoned pro on the 4x scene. Multiple British titles, Fort William Pro Tour wins and a previous silver 4x World Championship medals show she's a rider with some pedigree. She is always pushing her riding to the limits and this year has focused on riding more off-road than ever before, racing enduro, downhill and the Megavalanche on her Mega 275.
For Elliott Heap, he first raced a Pro Tour round as "a bit of fun" while racing the downhill World Cup at Fort William, a race he was only doing as he had a weekend off Enduro World Series commitments. Elliott's awesome performances at Fort William's Pro Tour in 2018 and 2019 have earned him a spot on the Great Britain team, despite his playful character and styling up any jump on the track in practice, he's ultra-competitive and wasn't coming just to make up the numbers.
Good form in qualifying saw Elliott in 5th on his Mega 275c enduro bike and a 3rd place for Natasha, allowing them to progress into the final rounds on the awesome floodlit track in Val Di Sole, Italy. On race day this is a pretty special place, lined with thousands of cheering fans and the odd downhill and XC pro watching ahead of their races the next few days. The atmosphere is just insane.
The fans would not leave disappointed as there was close racing, overtakes, big jumps and the odd class of riders laid on a great show. With Elliott in only his 4th ever 4x race and up against seasoned BMX and 4x pros, he had to use his track speed to pull off plenty of overtakes and amazingly to the onlookers securing a position in the men's Elite final to battle for the title. In the women's race, Natasha was in good form sending the Pro line and riding well to also navigate her way into the elite final.
When the gate dropped for the women's elite final Natasha gave it everything and was battling with the 2018 World Champion Romana Labounkova. Unfortunately, she narrowly missed out on the Gold she craved, but took an awesome 2nd place and silver medal. An amazing achievement for Natasha. She was stoked to have her family and friends along to support her, second was an amazing result and a great addition to the British 4x National Title and Pro tour win she has racked up this year. (Plus there was an awesome 4x after party!)
Elliott Lined up in a stacked men's final featuring a 4x World Champion in Felix Beckman, a BMX World Championship silver medallist Romain Mayet and veteran of 4x racing Urban Rotnik. He was 4th into the first corner but an awesome move around the outside saw off Felix and Urban. Giving it everything, he closed the gap on Romain around the 2nd turn nearly drawing level but Romain's power and BMX experience down the Pro section jump straight was just too much and he pulled away slightly from Elliott. He still finished 2nd and earned himself a World Championships Silver medal! What an amazing achievement from Elliott. To further prove his credentials as an all-round rider he has a Junior Downhill World Cup series overall 3rd place, an under 21 Enduro World Title and now an Elite 4X World Championship Silver medal to his name. There was no time to celebrate for Elliott as he was straight on the plane to the Whistler round of the Enduro World Series and Crankworx events!
Roll on 2020 when Natasha and Elliott hope to be back to go for the Rainbow Stripes again. www.Nukeproof.com