4X is dead, Long live 4X!

September 22nd, 2011

By Factory Jackson in Features

Well, it seems the speculations of the UCI’s wavering enthusiasm for 4X has hammered the last nail into the sport’s coffin with no UCI sanctioned series for 2012 and beyond. Or has it? This will no doubt please some, but for others this will be a smashing blow to a sport that has struggled to find it’s feet. But 4X will go on, that I am sure. With athletes like the UK’s Scott Beaumont amongst many who see 4X in a different light to the spandex loving bean counters in Switzerland and see this sport as something that is both unique and still has a place in the greater sport that is mountain biking.

After spectating at a recent UK National, it struck me just how fun and laid back 4X is to downhill. I’m not saying it’s better, I am a downhiller through and through, but it was refreshing and reminded me of a bye gone age when bicycle racing was just that. The bikes are cheaper and at least in the UK and Europe, the tracks are plentiful and of a high standard. The atmosphere was fun and without pretense and as an outsider, felt welcome and thoroughly enjoyed the racing. But this downfall from above may be the sports saving grace. The UCI have long been negligent to gravity disciplines compared to the spandex disciplines, which is obvious for many reasons that I won’t go into, but I only hope the sport uses this separation to move forward and go down a path it has always wanted to and I’m confident that 4X will be around in years to come.

Mountain biking is a melting pot of other sports and 4X is the biggest example of this and encapsulates why this sport as a whole is a great thing – open minded, welcoming and embracing of external influences. My other hope is that the UCI put what cash they are saving and invest it into DH, which seems to be returning to where it was back in the 90’s, but I’m sure it will go on more red tape and typically euro-esqui bureaucracy. Lets see where 4X goes, you never know, if done correctly they could pave the way for downhill…..

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