June 18, 2012
4X ProTour finals – Willingen, Germany
What has been an awesome first year of 4X ProTour, culminated in one of the most exciting races in Willingen, Germany.
When the ProTour finals were announced that they were going to be in Willingen, Joost Wichman stepped forward suggesting changes that could make the existing track better and give more chances for passing. The changes he made were absolutlely amazing and the racing all night was top drawer.
In qualifying, Joost Wichman made his intentions clear from the start setting the fastest time. David Graf, fresh from the BMX World Championships and competing in his first 4X ProTour of 2012 was 2nd ahead of Tomas Slavik and Jakub Riha. The times were incredibly tight with just 2 seconds seperating the top 20 men.
In the womens, World Champion, Anneke Beerten took the fastest time in front of Celine Gros, Lucia Oejtens and Steffi Marth was in 4th. This made the overall points very interesting with 3 women in contention of taking the overall title.
So onto the racing. The shock of the first round was Jakub Riha who went out with a big crash in the first race. Another shock came from Mik Hannah who, riding in his first ProTour found himself on the floor in the first turn when he simply ran out of track. A side from Riha and Hannah, all the other mens contenders progressed to the second round of racing.
In the second round, there were passes galore. Michal Marossi, in a photo finish was overtaken by Nico Vink who was riding absolutely superb all weekend. For those who thought that 4X racing was all over in the first turn, the ProTour has proven that wrong time and time again.
Onto the semi finals. Joost Wichman, Lucas Mechura, Michal Prokop and Scott Beaumont were in the gate. Joost got the snap and led the race. The others all were wheel to wheel for 2nd. In the final turn, Mechura and Prokop came together with Prokop crashing out. Joost and Mechura were through.
In the second semi final, Graf was against Slavik, Derbier and Vink. This race went the way of qualifying with Graf and Slavik going through.
In the womens final, Anneke Beerten lined up against Celine Gros, Lucia Oejens and Steffi Marth. With the overall title on the line, Anneke got the snap and just did not look back. Anneke hit the pro line doubles and took the win which was also enough to give her the 2012 4X ProTour overall title. 2nd went to Lucia, 3rd was Steffi and unfortunately Celine Gros crashed out of the race. Celine has had a fantastic year and this was enough to give her 2nd overall ahead of Katy Curd who finished 5th today, enough for 3rd overall.
So, it was the final main event of 2012. Wichman, Graf, Slavik and Mechura were on the gate. Slavik got the snap but Graf got inside of him on turn 2. The two of them went bar to bar on the proline doubles but Graf got the edge and Slavik had to roll the first double. Graf looked like he was away, but Wichman charged whilst he was battling with Slavik and got into the lead on turn 3. Through the rhythm section, Graf got close then on the final turn he dived inside and took the lead. Across the line, it was close, but Graf took it from Wichman, Mechura and Slavik in 4th. This was one of the best finals all year and yet again showcased just how fantastic 4X racing is right now.
Roll on 2013!