Sunday saw the rearranged 3rd round of the National 4X series go off at a venue new to the UK 4X scene, The Edge Mountainboard centre near Bridgnorth.
NPS 4X round 3 – The Edge, Bridgnorth – Sunday 3rd June
Sunday saw the rearranged 3rd round of the National 4X series go off at a venue new to the UK 4X scene, The Edge Mountainboard centre near Bridgnorth. The decision to move the event back by a fortnight due to adverse weather conditions paid off as the riders were greeted with warm, dry and sunny conditions. The track had been cut into the hillside utilising the natural bowl of the field, meaning spectators were able to sit on the bank and see the entire course from one vantage point.
It was a BMX style affair, with three large berms and plenty of jumps. As can be the case with courses of this kind a fast line had developed. However, four riders aiming for one line produces interesting results! Out of the gate, over a set of rolling triples into a step-up, then down into a sweeping left hand berm. This first corner was the scene of plenty of carnage throughout the day as riders attempted to overtake people who were railing the smooth outside line by hitting the loose gravel on the inside of the corner. In some cases this paid off, and in others it failed quite spectacularly. Many races were won and lost in this corner, including two of the finals. Out of the berm, the riders were fired into two sets of doubles then a step-up, round a long right hand berm then into a ski jump style step-down, scene of many a flat landing. Hitting top speed into the final left hand berm, riders then hit a roller, a long tabletop, then the final large step-down jump. Low and fast was the way forward here, though some riders couldn't resist going for as much air as possible making for great entertainment.
After some entertaining racing in the motos, we reached the finals. The novice categories were taken by Rich Robertshaw (12-17) and Mike Webb (18+). In the Juvenile final, Mike Yard rode a clean race to take the win despite the first corner doing it's best to upset proceedings. Special mention must go to Suzanne Lacey (Flow Bikes), who was in the mix until crashing out. Undeterred, she got back on and completed the race, clearing all the jumps in the process to cheers from the crowd.
The Youth category was dominated by Bernard Kerr. Where long sleeve shirts and full face helmets were the order of the day, he was rocking a vest and open face D2 and made the win look almost a formality, whipping the living hell out his bike over every jump in the process. Ryan Vinyard and Scott Roberts rounded out the podium.
In the Junior category, Tom Dowie (Identiti) had been looking fast all day and was perhaps favourite for the win. However, the first corner reared it's ugly head again as riders went down. Pat Campbell-Jenner (Identiti) emerged from the dust cloud and went on to cross the line first and claim the top step of the podium. Dowie recovered to take second and Martyn Wetherelt (Dirt Bike Supply) bagged third place.
The Senior category provided an upset when joint series leader Dave Richardson (Flow Bikes) failed to make the final, however he limited damage by winning the B final. His co leader of the series James Chadwick was in a perfect position to capitalise and capitalise he did, taking the win and maximum points. Tom Burch (Team Funn) took second and James Wilson (Ram Bikes) third.
The Masters gave us a close race, with the winner of the previous two rounds Dave Garland (Stendec Racing) unable to make it three out of three. Ian Hopkins ran out the winner, Darren Howarth pushing him all the way for second. Dominic Bent took third and Garland came home in fourth place.
The Elite Men's final lined up and in the gate were series leader Scott Beaumont (Rocky Mountain), Lewis Lacey (Charge Bikes), Dan Yeomans (Curtis/Howies) and Martin Ogden (Ram Bikes). The gate dropped and Beaumont got the snap, leading into the first berm. Ogden had no choice but to go for the loose inside line in an attempt to gain the lead, and it looked to be a good move but he just couldn't stop his bike from sliding out in the shale and went down in a cloud of dust. Lacey and Yeomans had a bit of a bump as a result, slowing them down and Beaumont was away, keeping it tidy all the way to the finish to take the victory. Lacey recovered quickest from the first corner carnage to take second as Yeomans crossed the line in third to complete the podium. Scott Beaumont now holds a commanding lead in the series and with only three rounds gone it already looks like it's his to lose. However, with the best five out of seven results to count you can be sure the rest of the Elite field will be pushing hard to stop him having it all his own way.
It was a great days racing with serious competition going down in a relaxed atmosphere. The new venue made a solid debut and hopefully will now be a part of the series for years to come as the already entertaining track has scope for further improvement. The series now moves north in a fortnight's time to Fort William and the new World Championship track, so it's an ideal chance to test yourselves against the course the world's best will be facing come September. The new SX format will take place on Saturday 16th June and the fourth round of the National 4X series on Sunday 17th.