The 2023 4X ProTour finals took place in Jablonec in Czech Republic on Saturday night. It will be remembered as one of the biggest 4X races, if not Mountain Bike races ever to take place.
This incredible venue is home to Tomas Slavik and this was the 10 year anniversary of JBC 4X Revelations. If you want to see the Mountain Bike race that will attract tv viewers who are not mountain bikers then this event is the one. It is absolutely brilliant. A true show but also the simple format of 4X and entertainment all day and night.
Thursday – Practice:
The weekend started on Thursday with the first practice session. A longer than normal session of 3 hours gave the riders plenty of time to master the toughest 4X track in the World. The track was in perfect condition. In fact almost too perfect. The weeks of dry weather had left it extremely dusty. So much so that the fire brigade were called to water the track! The riders were enjoying the new lower sections: bigger berms, fresh stall wall and a new rhythm straight really added to the track.
On Thursday night, the event was launched by Red Bull DJ’s at the lake in town with a BBQ and a fun night. The weekend had started and it was great to be here again. With big crowds and fireworks; this is a town that really embraces their 4X racing. Tomas Slavik is a hero in this town and tens of thousands of people her follow the 4X ProTour all year to see how their rider is doing throughout the year.
Friday – Qualifying:
Friday and it was qualifying day. Again it was blue skies and a perfect track.
Making this track look easy, the reality is anything but. The most technical track on the circuit was being tamed by the World’s best 4X riders. Going in reverse order, riders would have one lap to set a time for qualifying. It is an intense time for the riders where mistakes are punished. The talking point would be what is the fastest bike. We had a couple of hardtails, plenty of full sun 4X bikes, trail bikes, enduro bikes and DH bikes. Each had pros and cons on this huge track.
In the womens, Czech DH champion Simona Jirkova took the fastest time ahead of Josie McFall and Catherine Oldfield.
Tomas Slavik lined up as the final rider in the men’s. His time of 58.756 was good enough for 1st with over a second advantage over the other riders! The home crowd were going crazy. Slavik is a hero in this town and when it counted he delivered. In every year of JBC 4X Revelations, he has qualified fastest and then gone on to win the race. The other riders know this and the warning shot was fired by Slavik in qualifying.
1st – Tomas Slavik
2nd – Pavel Reinl
3rd – Petr Pala
Coming into this race, the points were tight and there were 4 riders who could take the overall 4X ProTour series title. Slavik was leading the points but his rivals lost points in qualifying with Gustaw Dadela in 7th, Tomas Brozik in 8th and Scott Beaumont in 9th.
Saturday – Race Day:
The riders all woke up on Saturday morning to bright sunshine. It was really hot and the fire engines were back at the track to help keep the dust down.
The opening ceremony started with an emotional film showing Anna Slancova’s progress as she recovers from her life changing crash in Val Di Sole last year. A new fundraising drive was publicised to help her continue her rehab. The riders all came on stage with her and the crowd really got behind her.
The top 10 riders then took to the track one by one as the opening ceremony continued. Finally the Red Bull air race plane did some amazing fly bys, the cameras were rolling for the live broadcast and the crowds were bigger than ever. Reportedly 14,000 fans lined the track from start to finish. The party atmosphere was in full effect and the scene was certainly set for a huge night of 4X racing.
The early rounds threw up a few surprises with former British Champion Martin Ogden, Italian champion Davide Dolphin and German Champion Daniel Anger making early exits from the racing. The new track changes Tomas and his team had made were clearly working as there were more passes in the first round of racing than in all previous years. There were options for the riders and they were using them, much to the delight of the thousands of spectators.
In the quarter finals, it was Scott Beaumont that became the big casualty. In stacked quarter final with Tomas Slavik, Tomas Brozik, Tomas Kral and Beaumont, Boom Boom finished 3rd in that race, 9th for the night and that would give him 3rd overall in the 2023 4X ProTour.
The race for the title was now down to Slavik, Brozik and Gustaw Dadela.
In the men’s semi finals, Tomas Slavik took full advantage of his inside gate pick, leading to the first turn and pulling a good lead over Eric Emerich who both transferred to the final. Emerich was having a great weekend. The Propain rider who does it all is still at his best on a 4X track! With the win Slavik was crowned 2023 4X ProTour Champion and it was certainly well deserved. Tomas Brozik went out and that meant he finished 4th overall in the series.
In the second semi final it was Pavel Reinl who backed up his amazing qualifying by going all the way to the final along with Gustaw Dadela. Enough for Dadela to secure 2nd overall in the series.
In the Men’s small final it was a battle between Czech riders Petr Pala Dominic Kvapil for the win. Going all the way to the line it was Pala who took the win and with it the final step of the podium in 5th.
The women lined up next. Almost everyone was looking towards a battle between Josie McFall and Simona Jirkova, but Catherine Oldfield has been getting more confident every lap all weekend so couldn’t be written off. The gate dropped and McFall got the snap. Powering down the first straight though disaster happened as she came together with Jirkova. Both riders crashed hard on the first straight and Oldfield on the outside gate was clear. Thankfully McFall and Jirkova were ok, but it took them a while to get back up and going again. Oldfield had checked out. The crowd could see the huge upset on the cards and were really getting behind her. Crossing the finish line she could not believe what had just happened. Winning the biggest 4X race in the World was ticked off in a minute of riding and she was absolutely ecstatic. Jirkova finished 2nd and McFall in 3rd.
McFall had been consistent all year and she once again took the 2023 4X ProTour Elite Women’s Overall title. Huge congratulations to her.
So, it was the race everyone had been waiting for. The battle for the 2023 king of JBC. Tomas Slavik took gate 1, Pavel Reinl on 2, Eric Emmrich in 3 and Gustaw Dadela in 4. The gate dropped and Slavik flew out from the inside. In turn 1 Emmrich and Dadela came together with both going down. Slavik was away and Reinl looking good in 2nd. Emmerich was up fastest and got going in 3rd. With the big gaps, the position held and Slavik went on to win his 10th straight JBC 4X Revelations event.
Results 4X ProTour 2023 Round 4: JBC 4X Revelations
1st – Catherine Oldfield
2nd – Simona Jirkova
3rd – Josie McFall
1st – Tomas Slavik
2nd – Pavel Reinl
3rd – Eric Emmerich
4th – Gustaw Dadela
5th – Petr Pala
Overall results 2023 4X ProTour:
1st – Josie McFall
2nd – Jolanda Kiener
3rd – Catherine Oldfield
4th – Simona Jirkova
5th – Lena Bauer
1st – Tomas Slavik
2nd – Gustaw Dadela
3rd – Scott Beaumont
4th – Tomas Brozik
5th – Stefano Dolfin
After an incredible podium ceremony, it was time to party. Czech Republics best DJ’s and bands lined up to be a part of this amazing after party.
We would just like to say a huge thank you to Tomas Slavik and his team at JBC bikepark. This guy simply went above and beyond to produce one of, if not the greatest day of mountain bike racing ever. The entertainment, atmosphere, track, riding, fans and party were incredible.
Thank you to the 4X riders and teams; you guys are showing the world what is possible on our mountain bikes.
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