Race Report – 4X ProTour finals: Val Di Sole, Italy

On Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd September, Scott Beaumont lined up on the gate in Val Di Sole, Italy for the 2022 4X ProTour finals.

The track in Val Di Sole, as always, was immaculate. The separation that the team there had done on the track was incredible and we were excited to get out there.

Riding as well as he ever has, fresh off the back of taking the win at the Malverns Classic Dual Slalom a week earlier, Scott was here to win. 

The week started with a drive over to Italy in the 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 tfor practice to start on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the organisers asked Scott and a few others to test the track ahead of official practice on Thursday. Fresh floodlights had been placed on the track so lighting needed to be tested ahead of the event starting. The track was riding brilliant. The best it has ever been. Scott hit all the jumps and looked extremely comfortable out there.

Thursday rolled around and it was qualifying day. A different format at this race would see riders doing 2 qualifying runs. The first run would qualify riders to to round 6 on Friday evening, and the second run would qualify riders to round 7 on Saturday night. Currently ranked number 2 in the 4X ProTour World Rankings, Scott was the penultimate rider 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. He looked perfect on track – as good as he ever has. Fast, smooth and precise. Crossing the finish line, he took over the hot seat with the fastest time. With just Tomas Slavik to go, Scott was assured of at least 2nd in qualifying. Slavik put down an awesome lap…..but it wasn’t good enough. For the first time this year, Scott took the fastest time and qualified for Friday nights Round 6 in P1.

There was no time to celebrate though. It was back up to the top for his second run to qualify for round 7. Incredibly, Scott rode an almost identical lap – 18 thousandths of a second slower than his first run. It was good enough for 3rd in qualifying for Saturday night and the 4X ProTour finals – round 7.

Friday Night – 4X ProTour Round 6:

It was time to start racing on Friday night. With thousands of fans rolling into the venue to watch the 4X, the sun set, floodlights came on and everything was ready.

After the first hour of practice Scott had his lines dialled. Passing places, and race plans were set. It was go time.

Scott lined up for his first round on gate 1. He made a perfect start and led the race from start to finish. It was a great start to the evening. Onto the quarter final and again he had gate 1. He made it work perfectly and took the lead into turn 1 – again leading from start to finish.

In the semi final, Scott again took gate 1. He made a great start and led into turn 1. As he drifted out and started to exit the turn another rider took the chance and dived inside. He made it infant of Scott and through came another rider too. Scott in the chaos found himself in 3rd. He regrouped and started closing in. Heading into the lower rock section he set up a passing chance only to have the line cut off by the rider in front. He lost too much speed and unfortunately went out in 3rd position.

All was not over though as the final step of the podium was still there to be won in the small final.

It was at this point that the evening took an awful twist. In the women small final, Czech Republic rider Anna Slancova had an awful crash. Up at the start gate we all knew it was bad. The medics were immediately with her to give on site treatment. It soon became apparent that the injuries sustained were very serious and an air ambulance was on route.

The remaining riders in the women’s final, men’s small final and men’s final were all called together by Scott. Scott is also the 4X ProTour organiser…..

The riders were informed about the seriousness of the crash and the immediate diagnosis of potential injuries that had been sustained. The riders voted 12-0 to immediately stop racing as our thoughts were completely with Anna. 

The race was immediately halted and results were declared using qualification times within the final that riders had reached. With the fastest qualifying time and being in the small final, this placed Scott 5th – purely for the record.

On nights like this, bicycle racing does not matter. All our thoughts, prayers and hearts were with Anna. She was flown to Trento hospital and underwent a 10 hour operation throughout the night. In due course, I am happy to update any of you who want to know more information. Please just ask.

On Saturday morning, all riders who had made the men’s and women’s finals voted again 12-0 to donate all the prize money from Friday night to Anna and her family to help with their costs in the coming weeks. Thank you to Val Di Sole organisers for agreeing to this and facilitating the payment in the next few days.

Saturday night – round 7:

So. After one of the worst race nights ever, a line had to be drawn underneath the events of Friday evening and the show continued on Saturday night with the 4X ProTour finals – round 7. As mentioned earlier Scott had qualified in 3rd and was confident heading into racing.

In the first round he rode an awesome lap. Faultless and took a great win. Into the quarter finals, again he nailed it and took another win to move forward to the semi final.

In the semi final he was up against downhill rider Matt Walker who had qualified 2nd and chose gate 1. Scott was in 2. Erik Emerich in 3 and Leonard Hermes in 4. The gate dropped and Scott had the holeshot. But…. in turn 1 Walker used his downhill skills and cut hard inside to cut Scott off. Through went Walker and Emerich. Scott was off track and scrambling to get going again. He set off in pursuit. It wasn’t enough though. He got onto the back wheel but couldn’t make the pass. Scott finished 3rd and was frustrated. It was so close, but it was into the small final to work out 5th to 8th places.

Wanting to end the year on a high, Scott took the small final by the scruff of its neck and absolutely smashed it. Perfect gate, perfect lap and took the win by a huge margin. It was a brilliant way to end the series. He finished 5th and was content.

“This has been one of the hardest weekends ever for 4X ProTour riders. It was important tonight to draw a line under last night and give the fans a great show tonight. We did that.

I wanted to win. I just left too much space in turn 1 and that’s all he needed in the semi final. Today has been the best I have felt on the bike ever. The set up is perfect and I was fast today. I’m happy to be on the podium and I am stoked to finish the year in 2nd overall. 2nd in the World. I’ve only just remembered. Yesssss. I’m stoked. Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year.”

Emotions were clearly all over the place in the finish area, but yes as Scott mentioned, this result was enough to secure 2nd overall in the 4X ProTour for  Scott. He deserved it. He has ridden amazing all year and we are proud of what he has achieved.

We will be looking towards 2023 and taking that number 1 position in the coming days, but for now it’s time to celebrate an incredible season. Scott Beaumont. World number 2. Absolutely brilliant.

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.