Schwalbe Euro 4X Series finals – Afan, South Wales, UK
The Schwalbe Euro 4X Series always provides close racing and the overall title, year after year comes down to the final race.
2012 will be remembered for the same reason. Coming into the final round, Tomas Slavik was leading the series ahead of Scott Beaumont and Daniel Prijkel. The scores were incredibly tight and either of these riders could win to claim the overall title.
The drama began on Friday when it emerged that the injury Slavik sustained at the World Championships was going to prevent him racing. A blow for Slavik, but this set up a real head to head battle between Beaumont and Prijkel.
The weather was ok in the morning, but the low cloud turned to drizzle then rain by the end of the day. The track was holding up good and at 12.00 qualifying began. Daniel was one of the first riders to set a time. He went fastest and took to the hot seat. Rider after rider tried but no one could beat his time. Scott was the number 1 seeded rider and he was the final rider to qualify. With Prijkel anxiously sat in the hot seat, Scott set off from the gate. With a good lap, even hitting the massive pro line doubles, Scott got the fastest time and with it the full 16 points for fastest qualifier. Prijkel got 15 for 2nd. 3rd went to Tom Gethin and 4th Isaac Mundy.
Scott now led the overall series by 9 points over Prijkel. It was still going to come down to whoever finished ahead was going to take the overall crown.
Scott and Daniel would not race each other till the final – provided they both made it there.
In the women’s qualifying, Katy Curd took the fastest time ahead of Suzanne Lacey and Cara Murray. Katy was looking in determined mood as she looked to add the European Series title to the European Championship title she won 4 weeks ago.
In the final, Katy took gate 1, Suzanne on 2, Cara on 3 and Jess Greaves was on 4. Katy got the snap and checked out. She rode a perfect lap to take the win and be crowned the 2012 Schwalbe Euro 4X Series Women’s champion. A great battled behind Katy ended with Suzanne in 2nd, Jess in 3rd and Cara 4th. A quick mention to Erin Maquire who finished 5th. In only her 2nd ever 4X race, the 16 year old Erin already looks like she has a huge future in 4X and her qualification time was impressive. Looking forward to seeing how she progresses into 2013.
The rookies also had a great final. Ryan Hutchinson who is in his first ever year racing 4X took his first win ahead of Dylan Grell Delsol, Connor Sellors and Cai Wootton. These guys are the stars of the future so remember these names.
So back to the elite men. There was some awesome racing through the rounds. This format of straight knockout really throws up some surprises as senior riders go against elites. By the final the field had been whittled down to Scott Beaumont, Daniel Prijkel, Issac Mundy and Mirco Weiss.
Beaumont chose gate one, Prijkel with second gate pick went for gate three, Mundy took two and Mirco Weiss went in four. Prijkel was planning the high low move in the first turn for sure. Scott got the gate and lead into turn one. Mundy and Prijkel cut back under Scott and he was bumped into third on the exit. Powering into second position by turn two Scott’s sights were set on Prijkel who was leading. Scott closed the gap and coming into the tight right corner before the rocks drew level with Prijkel. As everyone bunched up Prijkel, Beaumont and Mundy bumped together. Prijkel went down, Mundy took the lead and Boom Boom was in second – ahead of Prijkel. Knowing he had the series in the bag, he set off after Mundy. In the last turn, Scott went tight and took the lead, but Mundy using good speed from the berm passed Scott at the finish line. An awesome race for the crowd to watch and really interesting to see Isaac celebrating his win, but Scott celebrating more with his 2nd place!
At the finish, Scott said:
‘To win this title means everything to me. I’ve won British titles, World Championships, but a European title was the one missing for me. I’m so stoked. Thanks to all our team sponsors for giving us the opportunity to win this title’ I’m just blown away by the season we have had. Amazing.’
At that point all of Scott’s team, team mate Dave Richardson and his mates who had stuck around after the British 4X round on Saturday to watch him battle for this title, jumped on him and screams and whoops were heard for a few minutes. It was an emotional victory that obviously meant so much to Scott.
Daniel Prijkel was gutted but very gratious in defeat. Scott and Daniel are good mates and the respect for each other after the race was clear to see.
So the 2012 Schwalbe Euro 4X Series overall was:
1st Katy Curd
1st Scott Beaumont
2nd Daniel Prijkel
3rd Tomas Slavik
That’s it for the 2012 Schwalbe Euro 4X Series. A huge thank you to Series sponsor Schwalbe. Michael Kull and Dave Taylor from Schwalbe, the organisers in Winterberg, Leibstadt and Afan, the marshals, medics, officials, fans and riders. The 2012 Series was a huge success, and it will be back for 2013 bigger and better.
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