Event: 5 May 2012
Report: 4X Pro Tour
Round 2 of the 2012 4X ProTour took place in Szczawno Zdroj in Poland.
The day began with practice on Saturday morning. The sun was shining, blue skies and 30 degree temperatures got the day off to a perfect start. So onto qualifying and where the fun began. Late entries from the Mechura brothers meant that they went early in the qualification runs. The new format of reverse qualifying meant that Lucas Mechura set the early fastest time and then had to wait for the other big guns to do their runs.
With 20 riders left to go there was some thunder and lightning around the track but it still was not raining. With 12 riders to go, the heavens opened and qualifying had to be stopped. The rain was horrendous. The heaviest rain we have ever seen at a fourcross race. Lightening and driving rain forced the commissaries to pause qualifying in case the lights got hit by the lightening. The top 12 seeded riders were all sheltering in the start hut waiting to see what was going to happen. About 15 minutes later the rain eased and the call was made to resume qualifying.
The track had turned from a high speed, dusty track into a sheet of glass. It was almost impossible to stand on the track. The times from the final 12 riders we all over the place as the riders slipped and slide down the track. The biggest casualties were world Champion, Michal Prokop and Dutch rider Joost Wichman, who both crashed out of the seeding run and would not qualify for the main event. Even in these conditions, last rider to go in qualifying, Tomas Slavik rode amazing and set the third fastest time.
Between qualifying and the race, there was a 45 minute gap, during which riders picked up their race number plates, changed tyres and sorted race kit, rain coats and tear offs. The rain was now set in for the night. It was heavy and going to make the track tough for all the riders, even though they had spikes on. In the first round of racing some of the top riders made mistakes and found themselves going for an early shower. Scott Beaumont, Michal Mechura, Milan Mysik and Blake Carney suffered crashes on the slippery surface. In the second round there were more crashes and mistakes by Scott Roberts, Premek Tejchman and Nathan Parsons.
By the quarter finals, the riders left in the race were really fancying their chances. A lot of the top riders we out and the door was wide open for anyone to seize the opportunity. Fastest qualifier, Lucas Mechura was the next rider to fall foul of the conditions going out in the quarters. Adam Stasek and Michal Marosi also went out in the quarters.
The semi finals saw some great racing and smart passes. Tomas Slavik took the win in semi one, Kamil Tatarkovic looked out of it, but a great pass low down on the track secured his place in the final. Marek Pesko and Jakub Riha also rode smart to make it to the final with a couple of great passes.
First up for the finals were the women. Celine Gros, the fastest qualifier was looking great all night, but Katy Curd, Lucia Oetjens and Tereza Votavova had other ideas. As the gate dropped, Katy got a great snap and led the race through the first turn. Celine was on her rear wheel through turn two and made her move in the third turn on the inside. It wasn't enough though and she lost momentum to give Katy a big lead, which she held to the finish line. Second went to Gros with Oetjens in third and Votavova in fourth.
In the men's small final, Jacub Hnidak made a great start and led the race from start to finish to give him his best result ever at a world fourcross event. Hanes Slavik, Felix Beckeman and Aiko Gohler battled behind Hnidak, but Slavik took second from Beckeman and Gohler.
It was then the main event - the men's final. Tomas Slavik had been unbeaten all day. He took gate one, Jakub Riha was on two, Tatarkovic on three and Pesko was on the outside. As the gate dropped Slavik got the holeshot, but going over the first logs, Pesko got an amazing drive and went into the first turn bar to bar with Slavik.
As Tomas had the inside he led it around turn one but an amazing pass from Riha put him into second. Riha was a fair way behind Slavik but he started to make up ground. Heading towns the 'S' bends, Riha had got right onto Slavik's wheel and looked like he was going to make the pass, but a small mistake threw him over the bars and he crashed out. From here Slavik cruised down to take the win ahead of Pesko, Tatarkovic and Riha.