Head to head racing in any sport will always be the most exciting for spectators. A clear winner as the athletes cross the finish line is simple to understand and easy to promote.
This realisation came for mountain bike racing in the 1990’s when a short, fast race format was explored using dual slalom. Two separate race tracks were created parallel to each other and normally consisted of flags marking out the tracks on a grassy hillside. Races were fun and it certainly brought some entertainment to Cross Country mountain bike events on a Saturday night. However, races dragged on a little bit and there lacked an extreme nature. The full potential was yet to be discovered.
In the mid 1990’s the world governing body for cycling – UCI and TV company – Eurosport worked together to create a new sport – Dual, where there were still only two riders racing, but they were on the same race track. This style of track had become much more extreme with jumps, banked corners and high speed. The spectators loved it, but there were problems. To move onto the next round of racing, competitors simply had to win the race by any means. This led to a lot of crashes as riders battled to simply knock their opponent off their bikes and cross the finish line first!
In the year 2000, 4X was born. Now the smart, tactical rider would prevail, as you could not just knock an opponent off and win. Four riders raced head to head on manmade tracks. Big banked corners, huge jumps and high speed now gave the riders, the sponsors, the spectators, the governing bodies and the TV companies a sport that had everyone on the edge of their seats with excitement, as the riders were whittled down through the knockout stages until a winner was crowned.
British 4X was created in 2003 with the first ever event being held at Apex Moto X Track in Worcester. Since then a minimum of 5 rounds per year has always been organised by the British 4X team.
Schwalbe has always been a huge supporter of 4X and since 2012 has been the title sponsor of the British 4X Series. Known now as the Schwalbe British 4X Series, we continue to evolve and create the most unique form of Mountain Bike racing on the planet.
Riders love 4X. Families love 4X. Long live 4X.