Video: Madness at Fort William in Round 1 of the 4X Pro Tour

Jun 4, 2019 at 14:35
by The 4xProTour  
Views: 3,536    Faves: 3    Comments: 0


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.

during Round 1 of the 2019 4X Pro Tour at Nevis Range Fort William Scotland United Kingdom on June 01 2019. Photo Charles A Robertson
The Scottish crowd brought the noise to cheer the Brits as far as they can.

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.

during Round 1 of the 2019 4X Pro Tour at Nevis Range Fort William Scotland United Kingdom on June 01 2019. Photo Charles A Robertson
Plenty of line variations made for some very close racing... Oh, and the odd coming together.

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.

during Round 1 of the 2019 4X Pro Tour at Nevis Range Fort William Scotland United Kingdom on June 01 2019. Photo Charles A Robertson
If your not winning, style is the next best option. Dan Wagstaff with the no hander mid race run.

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.

during Round 1 of the 2019 4X Pro Tour at Nevis Range Fort William Scotland United Kingdom on June 01 2019. Photo Charles A Robertson
Natasha Bradley showed that she was on form and hungry to win this year.

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.

during Round 1 of the 2019 4X Pro Tour at Nevis Range Fort William Scotland United Kingdom on June 01 2019. Photo Charles A Robertson
Once again, Slavik dominates with Scott Beaumont being the only Brit on the box.

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.

during Round 1 of the 2019 4X Pro Tour at Nevis Range Fort William Scotland United Kingdom on June 01 2019. Photo Charles A Robertson
The next round will be held at Tomas Slavik's stomping JBC Bikepark in the Czech Republic on the 20th of July, will anyone be able to defeat him?

We hope to see you there!

Video and Blog: Behind The Tape Productions
Photos: Charles A Robertson


34 Comments

  • + 21
 I don’t know how other disciplines in mtb have gotten more popular than this one. Come on it’s fun even to watch!!
  • + 1
 It's probably not quite as accessible, there aren't many tracks around compared to mtb trails, and it's closer to bmx than mtb, so not as appealing to many mtb'ers. I don't find it particularly fun to watch personally, often it's just follow the leader. I do think it's a shame for riders and fans that it's no longer part of the world cup though.
  • + 1
 @redrook: I agree with you to a point. It was a decision from above to transform 4x into a lesser bmx event, same way than DH is becoming Bikepark racing and XC was until recently pretty much cyclocross. If they managed to gave back to XC it's MTB soul, why couldn't they do the same for 4X with additions of rock gardens, proper multi-line tracks and what not.
  • + 3
 There has been a time when 4X was a good bit rougher and I definitely felt that was what 4X on mountainbikes was supposed to be like. Watch the mens finals of Vigo 2007 again. It was right in the middle of a BMX supercross and the Megavalanche. Apparently there voices that reeled 4X back in towards BMX racing, which is a bit of a shame. Not sure why it was even. Maybe the higher speeds and bigger jumps work better on tv than the more tech and rough hench slower tracks which only appeal to those who understand what's going on. It is what made them lose some of their legitimacy and even racers like Jared Graves were vocal about what they wanted it to be like. He eventually left the discipline before UCI pulled it off the WC calendar. But yeah, I would love to see 4X shift back towards the rougher style it was a decade ago and attract some great bike handlers. Not saying they aren't still there. Slavik is amazing and don't forget that legendary overtake on the wallride from Michael Marosi on that Czech 4X track. You don't get that kind of stuff in BMX.

That's not the only reason why it left though. Proper tracks (especially the smoother kind) are expensive to build and then they are too technical to open them for the general public. A BMX supercross track is expensive too but it is olympic so there is a lot of tax money to fund it. The other reason of course is, there is little money in it for the industry. When enduro racing came around it was a great new reason tell stuff. People need dropper posts, amazing suspension, "progressive" geometry, convertible (or very breathable) helmets, extra comfy padding, on-bike storage of tools and spares and even portable tools could suddenly be three times as expensive because they could slide in your crank axle. And even if you suck at skills, you can still buy all that and ride relatively "gnarly" trails. You can't sell much to the 4X crowd. They can get a cheap generic aluminium hardtail, set their forks up stiff, cheapest road cassette and rear mech and that's it. All the rest is about strength and skill. And the industry can't make money off that.
  • + 1
 Just looked it up for you:

This is Michael Marosi winning a race in JCB bike park Czeck Republic.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1yeDW3dHdw

And this is the WC 4X in Vigo 2007 (from Earthed):
www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sl2yL-cowQ
  • + 2
 @vinay: That vigo clip is just crashing carnage not racing. Most of the guys there are world cup downhillers who left because you can't seriously compete at dh and race 4X the same day. Fort bill DH is hard enough as it is.
  • + 2
 @Alfonso21: You're right, the Vigo edit has too much emphasis on the crashes. There definitely was proper racing going on there though. The same goes with events like the Megavalanche. You rarely even get to see the fun woods sections you get to ride below Alpe d'Huez. I thought that was more fun than the high alpine stuff. But they don't make it in the videos. Then again, compared to the crashes they had on huge jumps at later 4X events, these lower speed crashes here at least came with less severe consequences (though maybe that cameraman should have got himselff a safer spot). I also think that if there were more races like the one in Vigo, riders would have come more prepared, bike development might even have stepped up (better tires for these conditions etc) and more riders would have been able to stay upright. The DH race in Champery that same year also became legendary because people got to see amazing riding skill that you don't get to see when everything is smooth.

So yeah, I believe mountainbike riding isn't about smooth terrain. I would actually love to see that they actually leave the Albstadt XC pure and raw for the world championship race next year. It may be slower, but that doesn't matter as it is slower for everyone. But the best riders actually get to show how well they can handle wet roots, rocks and mud rather than just ride a track that favours those who are just best at climbing smooth stuff.
  • - 1
 I thought wasting champagne was illegal in Scotland.
  • - 1
 @redrook: Alcohol abuse is no laughing matter hahahaha
  • - 1
 @redrook: Forgot the sense of humor never made it back over the pond mate.
  • + 1
 @jorgeposada: That must be it, couldn't be that you can't explain your own joke.
  • + 1
 @jorgeposada: Gotta say, I have no idea what joke you're trying to make either.
  • - 2
 @rbeach: I guess you wish I cared but we both know that isn't happening.
  • + 2
 @jorgeposada: Cared enough to comment bud Wink
  • + 0
 @rbeach: Yes and
  • + 17
 Unfortunate that this 4X Pro Tour coincided with the European series in Winterberg. Both races had some great riders and it would have been nice to see them compete in the same race. On the other hand, it goes to show that 4X is still very much alive. It may actually be cool to see it added to the crankworx series too.
  • + 1
 Yes! 4x at crankworx!!!!
  • + 4
 Damn so much action! Great crowd and that’s a sick no hander in the picture
  • + 6
 More 4x please!
  • + 1
 I LOVE THIS ! Kind of a full circle for me, elbows up and get the hole shot ! Do they have any events in California, Oregon or Nevada ? Would love to give it a try, if they run an old man class !!!!!
  • + 2
 Still my favorite form of racing to watch. It's like old school downhill BMX, tracks with speeds like Corona produced. Elbows out!
  • + 4
 #UCIbringback4x
  • + 4
 Boom-boom still rocking
  • + 2
 4X is so damn good - more edits like this needed to get more people stoked on it again!
  • + 2
 The crowd was amazing this year. Atmosphere like no other
  • + 1
 What a race! Great video!
  • - 1
 What a wet and wild weekend!
4x is still the best mtb race to watch!
The dh looked like XC from the fort ????‍♂️????‍♂️
  • + 1
 braaaaap!!!! nice one!!!!
  • + 1
 Is there any way to watch it live?
  • + 1
 3:27 What a save!!!
  • + 1
 AWESOME stuff
  • - 2
 ????????????????????

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