4X ProTour – Jablonec, Czech Republic
We have just returned from a roller coaster of a weekend in Jablonec, Czech Republic – venue for round 3 of the 2016 4X ProTour.
Famed for the ‘Marosi Wall ride pass’; this track has it all. Gap jump from the start, huge jumps, wooded section full of roots and rocks, wall ride and technical jumps that really catch the riders out. It is the ultimate 4X challenge.
The event was scheduled to start on Thursday with practice. Unfortunately torrential rain all day meant that this session was cancelled and moved to an extended session on Friday. The track guys worked tirelessly throughout the night to get the track ready for practice on Friday and qualifying. On Thursday there was the opening ceremony in the centre of Jablonec town with the mayor giving out the number plates to the top ranked riders, along with interviews with them all in front of huge crowds. The atmosphere and expectation for the race was already bubbling with the locals, and it was great to see the whole city getting behind the event.
Friday Practice and Qualifying:
On Friday the practice session was extended to 3 hours to give the riders plenty of time to get to grips with this extremely challenging track. Throughout the session the track dried out and by the time qualifying rolled around the track was in great condition. Scott was riding well, but like the majority of riders he was having trouble with the wet track and cross winds on the huge double jumps.
In his qualifying run a slip made him elect to miss the huge doubles and instead carry speed around them. The rest of the run was really fast but that slip left Scott in 9th position.
Saturday – Race Day
Saturday morning and thankfully the sun decided to make an appearance. The temperature was rising and the track was quickly drying. The final practice session started and the crowds were building. The crowds turned up in their thousands. At an estimate there were 10,000 passionate Czech 4X fans all with air horns, flags and whistles. There was a true party atmosphere and this was going to be a fantastic night of action. Scott spent the final practice session getting his lines dialled. He felt much quicker on Saturday so was confident heading into racing.
Racing rolled around and Scott was ready. In his first round he made a good gate and was in the thick of the action. In turn 1 there was some bumping though and on the exit Scott found himself in 3rd. No panicking, Scott set his passing move up entering the woods. In the mid section he dived inside and on the exit had moved neatly into 2nd. Gaining on the leader across the finish line Scott almost made he pass for the win but settled into 2nd. Everything was going great and Scott moved into the quarter finals. In the quarter again Scott made a great start but some more bumping in turn 1 left Scott again in 3rd. Charging on the lower sections Scott was on the back wheel of the rider in 2nd but this time could not find a way through. 3rd place in the quarter final and Scott finished his night off in 10th overall.
Not a great result by any means but this is a top 10 score which could be vital at the final round towards the overall rankings.
4X ProTour now takes a break and Scott’s next 4X race will be the 2016 4X World Championships which will be held in Val Di Sole, Italy on September 10th.
In the meantime this coming weekend sees Scott back on the small bike as he competes in the final 2 rounds of the British BMX Series.
All Images – Charles Robertson