Qualifying – 2nd
Race – 1st
The 2017 4X National Championships were held in Moelfre, North Wales. On a track where Scott had won the title in the previous two years, he was confident of retaining the title. This would in fact be the sixth consecutive year that Scott would win the title if he were to win.
The track had undergone some major changes, extended by 300m and with new jumps and an incredible start hill added. There was plenty to learn that’s for sure. Unfortunately, the weather had not been so kind. In the lead up to the event there had been lots of rain making the track very soft in places.
When we arrived on Saturday Scott immediately made the decision to change to spike tyres as the ground was so muddy. With practice starting at 12.00 Scott went up the hill to begin his practice. Incredibly the track had really dried out in places and already it was looking like changing back to Scott’s preferred Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres. Mid way through practice he made the call and jumped back to his dry settings on the suspension and dry tyres.
After practice there was a small break and then Scott went up for his qualification run. With just one lap to determine the fastest riders, there is zero room for error. With his famous 96 number plate, Scott actually qualified early on as at National Championships riders qualify in reverse number order. Crossing the finish line, his time would ultimately be good enough for 2nd position.
“I’m fairly happy with the run. A couple of mistakes here and there but nothing serious and I am sure that most other riders made some mistakes too, so I am happy with that. We are ready to race.”
Onto the racing and Scott qualified through to the quarter finals with no problem. In the quarter he made a great start and led the race from start to finish moving onto the semi final.
In the semi final he lined up on gate one and this was certainly going to be a tough race. With his trade mark start, Boom Boom fired into the lead and checked out. Each lap he was getting quicker and quicker and looking strong.
So it was final time. With second gate pick he went for gate 2. His game plan was simply. Make the gate, run to the outside on the first turn which would give him the inside in the second turn covering any passing moves for the lead. He made a great start and didn’t even try to cover the inside for turn one, sticking to his plan. He railed the first turn with no brakes and dived inside for turn two cleanly moving into the lead. Riders had been saying all day if you break into turn one you will lose come final time. Certainly Scott gave it a deathgrip in turn one not even touching the brakes and it was what made the difference. On the exit of turn two he was away and pulled a couple of bike lengths lead. This gap held all the way to the last turn where he slowed to cover the inside line. It was a calculated, smart race that was very impressive to watch.
Crossing the finish line Scott immediately rode straight to his dad and mechanic Mike to celebrate what was clearly a win that he wanted badly.
“To win the National Championships an eighth time and for the sixth time in a row, is very special. I felt very quick all day and in the final, rode my fastest lap of the day, making a smart move in turn two to take the win. All the hours of training leading up to this moment is what makes it so special. In this sport you have to do more than the next rider and then use your head to win and with the support of all my sponsors we are happy to have won today. Now it’s time to celebrate and then look towards World Championships in 4 weeks”.
The podiums were held immediately after the finals and Scott was awarded the National Champion jersey which means he will race with the union jack sleeve on his jersey throughout the next year.
Some interviews with the media and then it was home to continue preparation for the World Championships which take place in Italy on August 25th.
We just want to thank all our team sponsors for their support of the team throughout Scott’s career. He is riding better than ever right now and his focus all year has been solely on World Championships. Let’s see what he can achieve.
Text – USN Racing
Images – Andy Whitehouse