What a perfect weekend. Amazing 4X track, blue skies, brilliant racing and an electric atmosphere all weekend. Round 2 of the 2016 Schwalbe British 4X Series did not disappoint and took 4X entertainment up a level.
Ahead of the race Duncan Ferris from Architrail did some course maintenance along with Robbie the main man at Afan 4X track. The track was perfect and would make for some fantastic 4X racing. The Afan track has loose turns, corkscrew bridge, huge rock section and pro line doubles that all test the riders skill and nerve over the 40-second track. Practice began on Friday. Sunshine was certainly here to stay over the weekend but there was quite a bit of wind which was making some parts of the track tricky - especially the pro-line doubles. With photographers snapping away, everyone was getting the track dialled. After practice, there were lots of BBQ’s and talk about the race on Saturday!
Saturday arrived and the weather was perfect again. Blue skies, warm temperatures and thankfully less wind. Practice ran until 11.30 then racing began at 12.
In Elite women, Natasha Bradley looked dominant taking the wins in her motos, but heading to the finals, Tyde D'Souza, Hannah Escott and Mabel Mundy could not be ruled out. In Elite men, Alex Metcalfe, Luke Cryer, and Will Evans were flying. Scott Beaumont was back and looked fast. Duncan Ferris and Nathan Parsons were an absolute spectacle for the crowd too. Making the tricky track seem effortless, it was hard to predict who was going to be the favourite for the final.Finals
In the finals, the rippers category was won by Tyler Partridge ahead of Louie Partridge and Callum Greenwood. These guys are aged between 10 and 12 and were making this tough track look easy. Amazing to watch the future stars in action. In Big Fun, it was Ady Chaplin from Stephen Mould and James Ferrand. Will Mills stormed to the win in Juvenile ahead of Rhys Mahon and Joe Cooper. Tom Bell claimed the honours in Youth, beating Finn Keogh and Oscar Powell. Get well soon to Dec Willicombe who unfortunately crashed in his 2nd moto breaking his femur.
In Junior, these guys are always showing why they are the next Elite stars. In Afan, Charlie Currie held it together to take a fantastic win from Matthew Griffin and Kieron Abbott.
In Masters it was Gareth Parr who was unstoppable all day taking the win ahead of Matti Pearce, Chris Smith, and David Jacquin. In the ever tougher vets class, it was Jason Jessop who took the win ahead of Neil Harbour and Philip Gray. In Senior men, Alistar Keen claimed the win from Lewis Ashe and Simon Nash.
Elite Women were next up. In the small final, Anna Cipullo took the win to give her 5th place for the day and the final step on the podium. In the main final, Natasha Bradley got the snap and the led the race all the way to take her second win of the series. Behind Natasha, Tyde D'Souza and Hannah Escott were trading places all the way, but across the finish line, it was D'Souza from Escott and Mundy.
So finally, it was time for Elite Men. In the small final, Alex Metcalfe led the race start to finish and claimed 5th place for the day. The last race of the day was the Elite Men main final. Luke Cryer took gate 1, Scott Beaumont in 2, Will Evans took 3 and Davi Roberts went into 4. The gate dropped and Beaumont got the snap. In the first turn Evans went for the cutback but he didn’t quite make it, bumping with Beaumont on the exit. In turn two whilst Beaumont and Evans were battling, a sling shot from Cryer moved him briefly into the lead into turn three but Beaumont did not shut off and went around the outside of him. The race was tight through the rocks and heading into the pro-line Cryer opted to the smaller section whilst Beaumont and Evans hit the doubles. Evans landed back in 2nd place then in the last turn Cryer went wide and Roberts seized his chance to dive inside. The end result was Roberts and Cryer tangled and crashed out. Beaumont took the win from Evans and Cryer with Roberts in 4th.
After the podiums, it was time to reflect on a great day of racing. It was action packed and proved yet again just why this is the best Mountain Bike spectator sport out there. The next round is on June 19th at the famous Redhill track in Gloucestershire for round 3 of the 2016 Schwalbe British 4X Series.
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Full results are here.
Words By Chris Roberts