Through my job with HARO bikes I made another trip to the MTB World Championships. If you have to pick one race a year, it might as well be the biggest event. After a long drive I arrived in the French Alps, Les Gets to be exact. I ran into Dale Holmes who was already looking for hot bitches on his Free Agent MTB. I soon made my way over to the Boomerang bar which was supposed to be the hot spot in town.
I met up with Mike King, Mick Hannah and Ed Chavez, the HARO crew that made it over already. Later that night Chris Shephard needed to be picked up in Montreux and I offered to do some co-driving. After 12 hours on the road that day I was feeling a bit tired but riding shotgun with Ed Chavez wouldn't be a problem. That is until we hit the Swiss border and Ed had forgotten his passport and got denied access in Switzerland. I left Ed at the border cafe and made my way over to the Montreux train station to pick up Chris in a white van with taped off windows.
Sheps arrived in time and we made our way back to the Swiss/French border. After some explaining why we had taped off the windows we made it back into France looking for our friend Ed. We sure looked like illegal immigrant smugglers there.
As you can imagine, lots of (ex-)BMX-ers make it over to this race to participate in the 4-X (four-cross) event. It's basically BMX going down a mountain with only 4 people lined up at the (NBL) BMX gate. The course was hella fast and had a few decent jumps. Because of the speed it was hard to pass making the start and getting out of the first turn in front a priority.
The women's class had a podium of BMX-ers. One's Horakova surprised everyone in her 5th 4X race and grabbed the title away from well paid pro ladies. Jill Kintner finished second and Tara Llanes got third. Yes, the Americans were bummed to be beat by an unknown Czech girl. Ann Carline Chausson you ask? She was out with a broken collarbone after setting the fastest time in time practice. That left the door open for a new women's champ.
The men's class was hectic. So many good riders. Every elimination run could be the end for anyone. Mick Hannah set the fastest time in practice and had the number one plate on his bike but that didn't help much as he cased the step up going into the first turn and went OTB in the quarters. It was out for Lopes as well as he tangled with Prokop right out of the start. Dale Holmes looked quite good but the final wasn't meant to be. Same for Mike King who got stuck in the semi but won the B-final (for 5th).
Needless to say, 4 (ex-)BMX-ers made the final of the 2004 UCI 4X World Championships: Roger Rinderknecht (Switzerland), Mickael Deldycke (France), Eric Carter (USA) and Michael Prokop (Czech Republic). With fast starters Prokop and Deldycke taking off on the first straight, Eric Carter stayed on the outside to high-low both of them in the first turn. This move was sooo sweet. Rinderknecht decided to crash so he was out for the medals. Prokop and Deldycke tried to catch the American but on a fast course like this it was not possible. Carter had checked out to win his first MTB world title. The Frenchman got second and third was for last year's champ Prokop.
With my ex-GT colleagues in town (Franky & Mark) it was party time that night. The Boomerang turned out to be the right spot indeed. Cheers.