Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2022 Schwalbe British 4X Series took place at Afan in South Wales at the weekend. The season would begin on this iconic track and as the defending champion, Scott was excited to get the season started.
A cornerstone of the British 4X Series for many years, Afan is fast, flowing and always a favourite for riders and spectators. With fun jumps, high berms, rocks, corkscrew bridges and split lines on the track, racing is always amazing. The sun was shining and the stage was set for a great weekend of racing.
On Friday, Scott did a photoshoot with team photographer Charles Robertson to get some images on Afan’s trails as well as on the 4X track.
Then, Scott did a small amount of practice on Friday evening on the 4X track to see how the track was riding and dial in some lines.
Saturday – Round 1:
The British 4X Series uses the moto system for qualification which means Scott would race 3 qualifying races against different riders to qualify through to the knockout rounds.
Racing got underway at 12.00. Scott’s first moto was going to plan until the final corners where another rider dived inside of him. There was contact and Scott unfortunately crashed out of the race. It was a fairly slow crash so didn’t look like it was anything to worry about. On any other day he would have been straight back up and on his feet, but something was wrong. He stayed down and looked uncomfortable. After a few minutes he tried to stand but couldn’t so he was carried off the track and over to the waiting ambulance. After a thorough examination, it was determined that he had twisted his knee and that the lateral collateral ligaments had been stretched.
So……. Scott made his way back to the truck and was obviously distraught. There was a small delay as the track repairs were carried out. The whole team could see Scott was weighing the options up. After a few minutes, his race bike was ready to go again and he immediately took the bike around the back of the truck (out of sight) and had a roll around. Incredibly, he reported that there was no pain when riding his bike. So. In typical Scott fashion, he decided to give it a go. His 2nd moto was the easiest of his motos on paper. Scott made an ok start but was able to make a good move in turn 1 and he ended up winning the race! This was enough for him to roll down in his 3rd moto and still qualify for the semi final. So that’s what he did to preserve his focus and energy.
By the time the semi-finals rolled around, Scott was feeling confident. With his results in the motos, he had final pick of the start and was left outside on gate 4. He made an incredible gate and tried to get across to the inside. He didn’t make it all the way and settled into 2nd. He was able to hold position and crossed the finish line to qualify for the final.
The team were ecstatic. We had gone from retiring from the meeting after moto 1 to making it to the final!
In the final, Scott was left again with gate 4. Saving his best till last, Scott made a perfect start and was able to get all the way across the other riders to take the holeshot! He was pulling away until the tight turn above the rock section. His rear wheel skipped off a rock and he had to unclip and dab a foot (luckily his right), before setting off again. The pack were on him again and Scott powered down the rocks and into the pro line doubles. He pulled a slight lead again and it was enough. Crossing the line Scott was clearly in disbelief! From a disastrous start to winning the opening round in a couple of hours.
“I could not be any happier. This has been one of the toughest days of my racing career. It also goes down as one of my best British 4X races ever. After that crash earlier, I thought it was all over. But we have stayed focused all day and made it happen. I am absolutely stoked to have won. Thank you to everyone for their support.”
After the podiums, photographs and film interviews were done, the team returned to the Dethleffs team motorhome, where Sunday was discussed. Unanimously we decided that Scott would sit out Sundays round 2 race to now rest his knee and focus on the 4X ProTour series which starts in Fort William in two weeks.
Sunday – Round 2:
The team got the call absolutely 100% right. After a nights sleep, Scott’s knee had bruised up and it was not possible to compete on Sunday.
However. What a story Saturday was. As Scott said it was his best ever British 4X race. We couldn’t agree more. He toughed out a huge amount of pain and was able to beat the best 4X riders in the country. It was an incredible day that we will celebrate for years to come.
Thank you to all our team partners. We could not do this without you.