- Bike Checks
There was a lot of hype leading up to the 4th round of the 2013 4X Protour, mainly because of the track designed for the occasion by Tomas Slavik. Incorporating huge jumps, a multi line-choice section through the woods, and a serious rock garden, the track promised to take 4X in a new direction.
After the qualification runs we were all curious to see how the track would race. We weren't disappointed, the racing was fast and furious and there were plenty of surprises - none bigger than Czech rider Hynek Strouha who progressed relentlessly through the rounds on his full DH bike. Giving up bike lengths at each gate snap, he would then pour on the gas to make up for lost time through the rougher sections of the track. He was ultimately only to be overpowered in the final, where the deficit out the gate was simply too much to make up for.
This shows that 4X can still evolve, and that gated racing can become more exciting than ever. With carefully chosen venues, it brings the sport closer to the people as well - there was a big crowd on hand at this round.
The second big story line was Protour leader and course designer Tomas Slavik, who injured his hand before qualifications started. We are still unclear on exactly what injuries he sustained, although it would seem that he at a minimum damaged some cartilage and a tendon in the thumb. He rode through the pain for the rest of the weekend, and was untouchable throughout - never threatened, he qualified first and then went on to make it a clean sweep of the rounds for a well-deserved home win. Congrats Tomas!
The women's racing was ultimately a bit of a disappointment, with a very small start list and none of the girls feeling up for hitting the big proline. In the final, Katy Curd came through for a solid win after qualifying second, continuing her unbeaten run this year and taking the series overall win with one round to spare. Congrats Katy!