Race Report – National BMX Series – Telford

Last weekend USN Racing went back to their roots and dusted off the BMX bike. In preparation for the 2018 4X Mountain Bike National Championships which take place in Falmouth in just over a week’s time, part of Scott’s training for the last month has been on the smaller bike as we keep his legs spinning fast in the build up to the championships.

So, we decided to go and race rounds 7 and 8 of the 2018 HSBC BMX National Series at Telford. After 2 years off the BMX bike and only a day available to ride the smaller bike on a track in preparation for the race, to say Scott was rusty would be an understatement. He initially looked like he had never ridden a bicycle let alone a BMX! It was just a training weekend and he had to keep that in mind, but the racer in Scott obviously wanted to do well.

Practice went well and every lap he gained more confidence. In BMX you have 3 qualifying races. Amazingly Scott won all 3 on my way to the final. In the final he chose lane 1 on the inside. The gate dropped, and Scott took the lead. On the second straight he made a small mistake and 2 riders were right on his back wheel. In turn 2 he was passed and ran wide from the pass unfortunately slipping back to fourth. Scott was able to hold that position all the way to the finish. It was a mix of emotions. So near but yet so far.

Sunday rolled around and Scott had a second chance. Similar to Saturday’s race Scott won all 3 qualifying races. For the final he again chose lane 1. The gate dropped, and Scott found himself leading again. He rode a perfect second straight learning from the mistake on Saturday and held the lead through turn 2. In was on the third straight that he came unstuck! A small mistake lost a lot of momentum and in the third turn Scott was passed again in a similar way to Saturday. Unfortunately, he slipped back to fourth again.

It was a fun weekend and the team looking forward to the next rounds of BMX National Series at the end of August in Gosport near Portsmouth.

But for now, it is back to the mountain bikes as we look to defend the 4X National Championships in Falmouth on August 18th.

Full report from that race in the week afterwards.

Images: Sandra Smith/Abi Taylor

4X ProTour 2018 – JBC, Czech Republic

Scott Beaumont

Qualifying – 14th

Race – 10th

The fourth round of the 2018 4X ProTour took place in Jablonec, Czech Republic at the weekend. After a strong season, Scott Beaumont was looking to maintain a top 5 overall position at this penultimate round.

Historically this track hasn’t been the best for Scott with inconsistent results over the years. He was looking to maintain his good form to finally get the result he wants at JBC Bikepark.

The track is in his rivals, Tomas Slavik’s hometown of Jablonec in northern Czech Republic. It is the toughest track on the circuit with the biggest jumps, forest section, rocks, wall rides and rhythm sections. It has it all and it is also the longest track so it is extremely physical.

Practice was unfortunately cancelled on Thursday due to torrential rain and storms that swept through the city. In the evening Scott was one of the top 10 seeded riders who was introduced to the town and the mayor in the opening ceremony. It was great to see the riders being given the star treatment!

On Friday the weather had improved and an extended practice session got underway. Scott was looking comfortable on the track.

The weather was dry for qualifying making the track super-fast and dusty. The sun was shining and the track was absolutely perfect.

Scott was seeded 4th, so he qualified at the end of the session. He rode a good lap, but made a big mistake in the woods losing vital seconds. The rest of his run was not perfect but it was ok and crossed the line in 14th position.

“I made a great start and rode all the lines well. I nearly crashed in the woods and so I’m happy to qualify” said Scott in the finish area.

Race day and thankfully the rain which was forecast did not materialize. There was a short practice session for the riders before the racing started and Scott worked on his track speed.

Before racing started, the top riders were introduced to the huge crowds with a backdrop of dancers and flames flying in the air. It was an awesome start to the event. Then an acrobatic plane flew overhead and the crowds were going wild!

Onto the racing. In Scott’s first race, he took gate 1. With a great start he took the lead and rode his best lap of the weekend. Winning the race from start to finish, Scott was looking in the mood for a great night.

In the quarter finals though disaster struck. Scott had the 4th pick on the gate and was left with gate 4. Making a great start, he opted to stay wide into turn 1. In the move of the night, he made a slingshot move from high in the entry of the corner to low on the exit passing 2 riders. He set off on the second straight in 2nd position! Heading into the woods he was looking good but one of the riders he passed in turn one repaid Scott’s move with a very aggressive pass on the inside. Scott had to change lines to miss a tree and was dropped back to 4th. He charged down the track and was able to make a clean pass for 3rd but he couldn’t get back to 2nd. That was unfortunately the end of his race and an overall position of 10th.

A cruel way to end the night but as Scott said in the finish:

“I would have done exactly the same thing. I was very happy with the pass in turn one but he retaliated in the woods. That’s racing and it was fun out there. Over 10,000 spectators just saw 4X in it’s finest light’.

Now the team are heading home to prepare for the 4X National Championships in 4 weeks time where Scott will look to defend his Championship.

2018 4X World Championships – Val Di Sole, Italy

On Friday 6th July, USN Racing team rider Scott Beaumont lined up on the gate in Val Di Sole, Italy for the 2018 4X World Championships.

It is the 25th time that Scott has represented his country in the World Championships. 7 times in BMX and 18 times in Mountain Bike. It’s an incredible record and one that Scott is not ready to call time on yet.

Riding as well as he ever has, Scott was here to win.
The week started with a drive over to Italy in the new Dethleffs team truck. Arriving on Monday, the team set up the team area and then went to check out the track. With a few great changes, it looked amazing and Scott was excited to have a ride. Having a steady play, immediately Scott looked comfortable, having fun and jumping everything! Clearly he was in the mood for a good week…….

Thursday rolled around and it was qualifying day. Currently ranked number 7 in UCI World Rankings, Scott was 7th to start his single lap of the track. 4X is a brutal sport. Just a single lap determines the top 32 riders to qualify. If you crash, make a mistake or have a technical problem, your race is over before it has even started. It is a pressure cooker for the riders.

Scott was focused and as he left the start looked on point. However he made a couple of mistakes on his lap and crossing the line in a time of 46.592 he ended up in 8th position.

So after qualifying 8th, it was time to look forward to racing on Friday night. With thousands of fans rolling into the venue to watch the World Championships, the sun set, floodlights came on and everything was ready.

After an hour of practice Scott had his lines dialled. Passing places, options and a good few gates had him ready to go.

21.15 rolled around. It was race time.In his first race, Scott slightly missed the gate and moved into second through the first turn. He looked fast all the way and clearly was looking at options for next round of racing. It was the lap that would set him up for the night.

In the quarter finals, the draw looked tough as Scott lined up against the two Slavik’s. Hannes from Austria and fastest qualifier Tomas from Czech Republic.

Scott made an amazing start and bumped bars with Hannes on the first straight. It was super aggressive from both riders as they fought for that semi final spot. Scott got bumped wide and found himself in third. He stayed on Hannes rear wheel all the way and after learning a fresh line through the rocks in race one, he attacked just at the same time as Hannes made a mistake.

It was timed to perfection and Scott was able to grab second position and qualify through.

In the semi final, Scott again had gate 3. Without doubt, making one of the best starts of his career, he jumped out in the lead. Over the first drops he tangled with defending World Champion Felix Beckman on the first drop which nearly made them both crash. Scott just held on and moved into second. In turn three, Beckman came back and made a big pass on Scott. There was a little contact and it threw Scott’s gears out of sync. It was a big pass but it was a legitimate pass that Scott tipped his hat to.

On the exit of the turn Scott went to pedal and there was nothing there. It simply turned out that his gears had moved from 5th back up to 2nd, so it felt to Scott like his chain had come off.

He lost a lot of ground and his race was over.

No matter how many races you have done, being beaten in the semi final, finishing third in that race and not qualifying to the World Championship final will always be one of the biggest emotional roller coasters in the World.

Then having to regroup and head back to race again 5 minutes later to decide fifth to eighth, it’s a big ask for any rider!

Scott was in the gate and ready to race. Making another good gate he entered the first turn in second. Making another aggressive move he dived inside to take the lead but came up short. In the blink of an eye he was third and then fourth.

Re focusing, Scott clearly focused on carrying speed to catch the riders ahead of him. Into the final turn he was back in touch and made a clean pass before the rocks to take third place in the race and seventh for the 2018 4X World Championships.

As ever, in the finish area, Scott was completely honest about his performance.

“It’s very hard to be happy with seventh, but in a strange way I am. I fought hard all night. Took risks, made plenty of contact with other riders and gave it 100%. I could not have done any more. We were so close to making the final in that semi final and unfortunately the cards did not fall my way. I was one of the fastest riders on track tonight and I am already focused on the 2019 4X World Championships.”

Finally we want to thank all out team partners and sponsors. Without you this incredible performance would not have been possible. We have the best sponsors and an incredible presence at the events.

We are forever thankful for the opportunities you give us and want to sincerely thank you all.

We are now driving across Europe to our next race in Czech Republic – round 4 of the 2018 4X ProTour.

Scott currently sits in third overall so he will be looking for a strong result with just two rounds remaining.

The Malverns 2018

The Malvern’s Classic Mountain Bike Festival was one of my first mountain bike memories back in 1996. Transferring from BMX to MTB at that time, The Malvern’s was perfect for me. Dual Slalom, Dual Descender and Quad Eliminator events were perfect for my BMX background. I ended up finishing on the podium in those events but moreover I remember the huge crowds. More people watching racing than I had ever seen. The atmosphere was electric and it was an awesome event. Unfortunately in the late 90’s the event ended.

Fast forward 20 years and The Malvern’s was back. Organised by former Downhill organiser Simon Paton, everything was thrown at this event to make it a success, and what a weekend it turned out to be.

I raced in the Dual Slalom and Downhill events on Friday and Sunday. Saturday was an interesting day for us as I gained a sister in law! Holly’s sister organised her wedding on the Saturday and so we flew to Dublin, Ireland on Saturday morning and back on Sunday morning. It was a hectic weekend but one I won’t forget!

We arrived on Thursday as Simon Paton had asked me to set up the dual slalom course. It was a true old school feel. A simple grass field and some gates. No jumps or berms. Just old school racing.

On Friday morning we had some practice as the crowds began to flood in to the venue. In the afternoon we had qualifying. It was not great for me as a slide and then hitting a pole lost me vital tenths of a second. I placed 9th but that didn’t matter too much as I felt much quicker.

Onto the racing and slalom is a format where there are two riders racing head to head in the red and blue lanes. You do a run in each lane against your opponent and the combined times determine the winner.

In the first round I had a good couple of rides to transfer to round 2. This was a bit tougher as I was up against a fellow 4X rider who is really quick. I won the first round by 0.2 seconds. I knew in the second race I would have to really push it to win. I made a great start and pulled a good lead. Then the crowd let out a huge oooooooooo and the other rider had crashed. I was able to cruise to the finish and transfer.

In the third round I was up against former pro and mountain bike legend Dave Hemming. A cool moment for us both as we raced each other back in 1996. I was able to ride 2 good laps and continue my run.

Next up the quarter finals. I was against the fastest qualifier. I made a great start and took the lead. It was close all the way until I clipped a flag and it threw me completely off line. I lost a lot of time and ended the race 2 seconds behind him. In run two I had to throw everything I had at it to see where I would end up. Again I made a great start and pushed hard. I led the race from start to finish, but unfortunately, I could not pull back the difference. That was the end of my racing and 5th place for my efforts. It was a fun race and in front of a huge crowd it was a decent night.

As I then left for Dublin, my mechanic set up the team tent so that the crowds could look at my bikes during Saturday.

Flying back on Sunday morning it was straight back to the venue and time for some Downhill racing. I hadn’t raced downhill in 10 years so was looking forward to a fun day.

After a few practice runs we moved onto seeding. With a good run I was very happy to place in 4th crossing the line. I then had enough time to check out the festival and catch up with a few of my sponsors who were in attendance. Then it was back up the hill for my race run. Carrying much more speed and getting more used to the lines, I rode a great lap and felt on it…..until the final corner. I drifted a little wide and had to tighten my line up which caused me to slide a little bit. I nearly crashed and lost a lot of speed. Crossing the line it was good enough for 4th – just 0.2 seconds off 2nd position. I would not have won but I am certain without this tiny mistake I would have finished 2nd. It didn’t matter though. I had a great day and finished much better than I anticipated anyway.

The stand looked great all weekend and we spoke to a lot of fans about the products we are using for 2018.

Next up for the team is the 2018 4X World Championships in Val Di Sole, Italy on July 6th. We are training every day working towards our ultimate goal.

4X ProTour 2018: Round 3 – Fort William, Scotland

Last weekend, Scott had one of his most important races on the 2018 calendar. The 4X ProTour round in Fort William, Scotland. Held as part of the Fort William Downhill World Cup weekend, this event attracts thousands of fans who flock to the Scottish Highlands to watch 4X ProTour, Downhill World Cup and the impressive side events.

The race had a good entry, so when practice started the track had a constant flow of riders as everyone got to grips with it. The weather was wet, but in many ways, that helped the new track changes to bind together. The new changes were good as they added 2 extra turns to the track which would really help passing opportunities come race time.

Scott has had some great results here in the past and always rides his track well so we were confident heading into qualifying.

With most of the top riders injury free, this year’s 4X ProTour looked set to be one of the best ever. With 10 of the elite men riders all more than capable of taking wins and the overall title, the strength in depth of 4X ProTour is now better than ever. Scott knows that consistency will be the key and was looking for a decent qualifying to set up his race night.

Qualifying:

In his qualifying run, visually, Scott looked one of the quickest on course. He crossed the finish in 6th. Clearly gutted, Scott knew he was on a flier but he was a little cautious in the final turn and did not carry speed onto the last straight. It was time to forget it and to plan for the racing on Saturday night. After the run Scott said:

“I made a great start and rode all the lines well. I really messed up in the final turn and that cost me today but we will be back tomorrow”.

Race Day:

Race day rolled around and the weather continued to stay dry, despite forecasts saying rain and storms. With huge crowds, Scott was ready. Winning his first round of racing Scott was looking good. In the second round he had a great battle and again moved through to the quarter finals. In his quarter final Scott made a great gate and led the race into turn 1. Ahead of Quentin Derbier, Scott looked comfortable until he nearly crashed in the 2nd turn. Losing all his speed Scott went back to 3rd and unfortunately could not make the ground back. He was out of the race and would end up with 9th overall for the night.

It wasn’t Scott’s best race in Fort William, but he was very happy with the way he raced on the night:

“I am pretty disappointed with 9th but at the same time happy with how I rode. Just a simple slip in the wrong place cost me dearly tonight. That was a race where anyone could have won but I gave it my all and 9th was the result. We have a few weeks now to prepare for the next round in Czech Republic”.

The next round of 4X ProTour is on Saturday 14th July. However before then we have the Malvern’s Festival, Round 4 of British 4X Series and the small matter of the 2018 4X World Championships in Val Di Sole, Italy. A huge month coming up. Stay tuned for all the news.