By Rob Jones, Cyclingnews.com
The Four-Cross World Cup series concluded on Saturday evening, with the crowning of Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox), who had already locked up the title, as he finished the season the way he started it - taking a victory.
The natural terrain that highlighted the Windham course made for some tight racing, with passes and crashes meaning that no one was assured of moving on through the heats until they crossed the finish line.
Graves qualified first and then easily rode away from everyone in each heat. There were no real surprises in the line up for the final, with Graves joined by his regular rivals from RSP 4 Cross Racing - Tomas Slavik and Joost Wichman - plus Michal Prokop (Agang Racing).
Out of the gate it was Graves and Wichman battling, with Prokop and Slavik just behind. Wichman hit the corner too hot and had to go wide, allowing Graves to get by. The other three got tangled up fighting for position, but in the end Prokop took the silver medal, followed by Slavik and Wichman.
Graves finished the season with four wins in six races, for 660 points, followed by Slavik at 475 and Wichman at 385.
"That final was pretty crazy up at the top. I say Joost coming in [to the first corner] foot out, sliding, and I sort of had a feeling something like that was gonna happen," said Graves.
"Lane one was the inside, but it lined up terribly with the first corner, which made it really hard. But I saw him early enough that I could get on the brakes a bit and let him go, knew he was gonna come out wide and then go back past him on the second straight. From there is was smooth and good, so I'm really happy with that one.
"My goal was to get a win, here especially with the World Champs next week. It is really good for the confidence. Really happy to get a win here. First time back in America for a World Cup in 5 years, and with Yeti being an American company, it's great to get the win for them."
For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.