Location: Afan, South Wales
Event: 16 September 2012
Saturday 15 September saw the 2012 Schwalbe British 4X Series come to an end with the finals held at Afan fourcross track in South Wales.
Without doubt the toughest track that the series visits each year, Afan is awesome and gave a perfect end to what has been simply an amazing 2012 series.
With its monster sized rock garden, corkscrew bridge, massive berms and huge pro line doubles, this track is full on and challenges the riders from start to finish. With many of the categories overalls still to be decided, there was everything to play for to settle the overall podiums which would be presented after the racing.
Practice began at 10.00am and thankfully the track was dry. Soon the elites started jumping the pro line jumps and then a few seniors and juniors started hitting it as well. With so much to practice on the track, the riders were trying to break the track up into sections to get it all dialled.
Racing started at 12.30pm. In the elites, it was great to see Daniel Prijkel from Netherlands and the Weiss Brothers - Mirco and Adrian from Switzerland entered. Prijkel took three wins in his motos and looked on great form. Lewis Lacey, Scott Beaumont, Isaac Mundy, Will Evans and the rest of the British fourcross elites were going to have their hands full trying to win the final this time.
In the women's racing, all eyes were on Cara Murray and Suzanne Lacey. With just two points separating them it was anyone's guess who was going to take the title, and every race was going to count. Cara made the first mistake in the first moto when she was leading the race, but then left the inside open and Suzanne did not need a second chance as she took the win. The two traded places in all the motos and qualified through to the final.
In the women's final, hats off to Suzanne Lacey. She had to win the race and that's what she did from start to finish, it was an awesome display of just how great British 4X women's racing is. Hitting all the jumps smooth and fast Suzanne took the win and the overall title by just a couple of points. Cara Murray put up an amazing fight all day but it wasn't enough as she finished second to give her second overall in the standings for 2012. Another great ride from Clare Pollard gave her, her best finish of the year in third with Mabel Mundy in fourth. Jess Greaves took the win in the small final to give her fifth overall for the day.
The elite men lined up on the gate. Scott Beaumont had already sealed up the elite men's overall title at the previous round at SW Extreme 4 weeks earlier. Boom Boom was going from gate 3. Prijkel was on 1, Lacey on 2 and Mundy on 4. The gate dropped and Lacey battled Beaumont into turn 1. As Beaumont was forced wide, everyone dived inside and on the exit all 4 riders were together. Lacey was leading then Mundy moved into second. There were bumps and bangs all the way down the track and the result was uncertain till they crossed the finish line, but it was great to see Lewis Lacey take his first win of the year ahead of Mundy, Prijkel and Beaumont. Beaumont and Prijkel had said all day that were focusing on the final Euro race on Sunday and there was a sense that those two were just testing each other ahead of the big showdown and not getting involved in the bumping and banging on course too much....... Alex Metcalfe won the small final to secure fifth and the final spot on the podium.
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