Redhill in Gloucestershire is one of Britain's finest 4X tracks. A cornerstone of the British 4X Series this fast, flowing track is always a favourite for riders and spectators. With fun jumps, high berms and split lines on the track, racing is always amazing and on sunday it was no different.
Above: Scott Beaumont powers to his third Schwalbe British 4X Series win of 2013.
With weather forecasts all week saying that a wet weekend was in store. On Saturday, clouds loomed, rain threatened but it did not arrived. Loads of riders were on track and having a blast getting their lines dialled. As always, Saturday night was all about BBQs, fun and talk about the race on Sunday.
Sunday morning arrived and surprisingly, there was still no rain! Would we be lucky and avoid the rain that all forecasts had talked about....
Practice got underway at 09.30 and and all the riders got going. The first turn is tight at Redhill, so you could see riders starting to look at lines in that turn especially, but also using insides on several other turns. Redhill is famous for passing so riders were looking for the places they would use in racing.
Gate practice started at 10.30 and there was a problem straight away. The gate had a problem dropping for the first gate and Scott Beaumont, Dave Richardson, Adam Richardson and James Tresman went over the gate. It was nasty and all 4 riders were injured with bumps and cuts. It looked like Boom Boom might not race as he re-injured his leg after his crash at 4X ProTour last week. Some medical treatment and plenty of ice and Beaumont would line up for racing.
I think it's safe to say that every race had some drama throughout the day. By finals time we were down to the fastest men and women. In the fun class Luke Roberts took the win and looked smooth all the way to the victory. In Big Fun, Redhill local and fast 4X racer, Morgan Hampton won every race all day and in a class with 21 riders took the win in the final also. Hopefully we will see all the fun and big fun riders racing again at round 5 in Bridgnorth.
The Rippers class has been introduced in 2013 to cater for riders who are 10-12 years old. Without a doubt, these guys get the biggest cheers and support from the crowds. Riding a mix of 24" and 26" wheeled bikes these guys all have style and speed. The future is starting young in British 4X. Jamie Emmett took the win ahead of Harry Fernihough, Travis Diwell Wilson and Alex Gray.
Juveniles and Stealth 4X rider Brandon Fermor took the win and then he was immediately followed by team mate Ryan Hutchinson taking the win in Youth. Luke Cryer won juniors with a great ride. Luke is definitely one of the riders that will be pushing in elite in the next couple of years. In seniors, Dave Richardson was unstoppable. He has dominated seniors all year and his win in the final here more or less seals up the overall title for him. Masters is always a favourite category and it was Nick Hill who won ahead of Chris Cumming. The vets have also been a revelation in 2013. 9 guys started the day, but by the finish line, it was Dave Godfrey who won from Paul Baker and Billy Stupple.
In the women's category, the fantastic rise in numbers in 2013 continued as 15 women entered and as with every other British race the women's racing was some of the best all day.
Above: Series leader Katy Curd eyes another victory at Redhill.
Queen of World 4X right now, Katy Curd was here and looking hungry for another win. She was tearing the track apart in her motos and without doubt went into the final as the favourite. She took gate 1, Michelle Eaton in 2, Cara Murray in 3 and Joanna Kistle in 4. As the gate dropped it was no surprise to see Katy Curd get the holeshot. Redhill local, Cara Murray was hot on her heels though and on the exit of the first turn Cara was tracking Katy. However in the long split straight, Katy pulled a good lead and held on all the way to the finish. Cara held 2nd and in a great battle for 3rd and 4th ended with Michelle Eaton in 3rd and Joanna Kistle in 4th.
In the men's, and without a doubt, this was one of the best Elite 4X races in recent years. Every moto, the semis and final all had action, suspense and drama. Scott Beaumont after his practice incident was hobbling around but on the bike looked fast winning all his motos. Tom Dowie won all his motos as well and Will Evans and Nathan Parsons were looking fast too.
In semi final 1 there was drama. Beaumont led in turn 1 but as everyone bunched together, Boom Boom, Parsons and Dan Bateson went down. Leon Rosser got around the carnage and was clear for his place in the final, but as the other 3 got untangled, Nate had the advantage from Bateson and Beaumont. On the split straight Beaumont moved into 3rd and was catching Nate. In the last turn, Beaumont did not brake, held it wide open and went around the outside to grab 2nd and a place in the final. The crowds were going crazy and it was a great race to watch.
In the 2nd semi final Tom Dowie led from start to finish but after a battle with Will Evans it was Alex Metcalfe that got himself into 2nd and onto the final.
So in the final it was Beaumont in gate 1, Dowie in 2, Metcalfe in 3 and Rosser in 4. The gate dropped and predictably Beaumont got the holeshot into turn 1. In a great move, Dowie dived really tight and with zero contact took the lead. Beaumont settled into 2nd, and it was game on for another great race! On Dowie's back wheel the crowd could see Boom Boom searching for a way past. The first move came before the step up where he dived inside, briefly taking the lead before Dowie carried enough speed to get back in front. Through the esses and Dowie went tight to protect the inside. Beaumont went wide and found speed from no where to fly past Dowie. Over the last table top and it was still close but Beaumont held on across the finish from Dowie, Metcalfe and Rosser.
It was a fantastic Elite final and all the crowd appreciated what they had just witnessed. This was 4X racing from the top drawer with clean, calculated passes by riders going flat out. It was awesome.