Photos and Words: Colin Meagher
With all the rain it was a bit of a slop fest for the 4X finals. The track looked as if a tanker truck of peanut butter spilled out on the ground. In all fairness, though, the conditions were the same for all riders, making it a fair race.
Here in Maribor if you drill the hole shot the race is yours to lose, but then again, it’s still 4X racing and anything can happen (as was shown here two years ago with Brian Lopes rear wheel QR popping open in the second straight, sending him out early).
In the women's race, Emmeline Ragot tangled with Anita Molcik in the semi finals early as they headed into turn one. Bang, game over and take a ticket to the small final for your troubles… In an interesting note, Molcik took an extra lane over from Ragot for the small finals, which she went on to win, and took the bottom step of the podium in the process. A similar tangle decided the women's final with Anneke Beerten and Caroline Buchanan getting knotted up in turn two, allowing Fionn Griffiths and Sarsha Huntington to go one-two, with Beerten taking third over Buchanan.
With Jared Graves coming out swinging in Houffalize, and taking hole shot after hole shot with authority in Maribor, it looked as if 'Grubby' Graves was going to be the man on top yet again. Alas for the Aussie, it was not to be.
Tomas Slavik of the RSP 4X racing team had noted Graves' tendency to go outside on the second turn and opted to try an inside-outside move, cutting tight to the gate. He slid out in the effort, forcing Graves and Joost Wichman to almost a full stop. Worse for Graves, this allowed Michal Marosi to shoot by and seize a commanding lead. Graves held off Wichman for second. Kamil Tatarkovic took the win in the small final and the last podium spot.
1. Michal Marosi (RSP 4 CROSS RACING TEAM)
2. Jared Graves (YETI FOX SHOX FACTORY RACE TEAM)
3. Joost Wichman (RSP 4 CROSS RACING TEAM)
4. Tomas Slavik (RSP 4 CROSS RACING TEAM)
5. Kamil Tatarkovic
1. Fionn Griffiths (NORCO WORLD TEAM)
2. Sarsha Huntington
3. Anneke Beerten (SUSPENSION CENTER)
4. Caroline Buchanan
5. Anita Molcik