The first round of the 2023 4X ProTour took place in Winterberg, Germany at the weekend. Held as part of the IXS Dirt Masters Festival, this event attracts thousands of fans who flock to Winterberg to watch 4X ProTour, IXS Downhill Cup, and the impressive FMB Slopestyle event.
The track in Winterberg has evolved over the years and now presents a real challenge to the riders with log drops and off cambers making it tough to hit all your marks in race runs. Practice was busy, and the track had a constant flow of riders as everyone got to grips with it. The weather was dry all weekend making it super-fast and dusty. The sun was shining, and the track was absolutely perfect. The format for this year’s race was all on one day. So practice, qualifying and the race itself all took place on Saturday 20th May.
After practice it was qualifying. With just one lap to qualify into the main event, the pressure was on all the riders to have a smooth but aggressive lap.
Starting the riders were the next generation of 4X riders. The organisers allowed a couple of 4X fans to press the start button for the qualifying rounds. It was a really nice gesture from the organisers.
A huge field of hobby, rookie and master riders qualified and had some great racing in Winterberg. Great to see the next generation of 4X riders here racing the same track as their stars of 4X.
In the elite women’s qualifying, it was an amazing ride from defending 4X ProTour champion Josie McFall as she took the fastest qualifier ahead of Austrian rider Lena Bauer.
In elite men’s qualifying, it was going to be tight. Every rider was looking for a perfect run but the rougher track this year was tricky and catching a few riders out. At the sharp end, it was defending 4X ProTour Champion Tomas Slavik from Czech Republic who had a perfect run to take the fastest time ahead of Scott Beaumont, with Hannes Slavik in 3rd.
So onto the race.
In the quarter finals Dave Richardson made the pass of the day on Daniel Anger to snatch the qualifying position on the last corner. An unfortunate crash for Johannes Rauterberg needed medical attention and we wish him a speedy recovery.
In semi-final one, Scott Beaumont, Hannes Slavik, Adrien Loren and Ingo Kaufmann lined up. The gate dropped and Hannes Slavik got the holes shot. In turn one Loren rode Beaumont wide and this set up an epic battle all the way down with Beaumont moving back into 2nd but then repassed by Loren in the final corner. It was a brilliant race and Slavik moved to the final with Loren.
In semi-final two, Tomas Slavik led from start to finish with Gustaw Dadela tucked in behind him in 2nd. Dadela was looking quick and certainly watched Slavik lines! Tomas Brozik and Dave Richardson kept the leaders honest but it was not to be.
So onto the finals and first up were the women. Josie McFall had looked fast all day but Bauer was pushing her. It was bar to bar on the first straight but McFall edged ahead. The lead changed hands several times down the course and the race came dow to a photo finish. McFall taking the win and starting her defence of the title in style. Bauer finished 2nd and certainly stamped her arrival on the 4X ProTour.
The men’s finals stepped up to the start. Scott Beaumont made no mistake in the small final and led the race from start to finish to claim 5th overall for the day. Tomas Brozik finished 2nd with Info Kaufmann in 3rd and a great day for Dave Richardson in 4th.
The last race of the day was the elite men’s final. Tomas Slavik took gate 3, Hannes Slavik took gate 4, Gustaw Dadella took 2 and Adrien Loren was left with 1. As the gate dropped, all four riders were level but then disaster hit Tomas Slavik as he unclipped from his pedal. Dadella took the lead into turn 1. Hannes Slavik and Adrien Loren battled hard through turn 1 with both riders running wide. This allowed Tomas Slavik back into 2nd. He tracked down Dadella and got onto his rear wheel but then disaster struck again as Slavik tagged Dadellas back wheel! Slavik crashed out allowing Loren and Hannes Slavik by.
But it was celebration for Gustaw Dadella who took the win and the early points lead in the 2023 4X ProTour.
After the race an impressive podium was held and the awards were given out to the winners.
The next stop of the 2023 4X ProTour will take place in 2 weeks, on June 3rd/4th at Bikepark Dobrany, home of pro rider Tomas Brozik. This new festival will attract the best 4X riders and huge crowds watching one of the most technical tracks on the circuit.
It’s going to be a great season.
1. Josie McFall
2. Lena Bauer
1. Gustaw Dadela
2. Adrien Loren
3. Hannes Slavik
4. Tomas Slavik
5. Scott Beaumont
That’s it from Winterberg. Incredible racing and huge crowds. Thank you IXS Dirtmasters for another amazing 4X ProTour race.
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Photo Credits: Charles Robertson