RACE REPORT & VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
The town of Leigh, near Wigan, hosted the first ever back to back Viking Pro Series event with both rounds two and three taking place in the Civic Plaza.
LEGEND RIDER JESS STONE (IN BLUE) CHASES DOWN BECCI SKELTON (IN RED)
The Pro Rider line up included many of the riders who had done battle the day before. For the Pro Female category this included: Jess Stone (Race winner for round 2), Charlotte Green (2nd place in round 2) Rowena Price, Jess Watts, Charlotte Cole-Hussein, Alice Staniford and Becci Skelton.
For the Pro Male we had Round 2 winner Craig Maclean MBE, Sergio Layos, Jono Jones and round 2's luckiest rider Csaba Csenge (who came back from a penalty in qualifying and his first elimination race to end up battling Craig in the Big Final).
The expectation was that those riders making their debut in Round 2 would improve their times with the benefit of experience resulting in an even closer competition.
CSABA CSENGE GRABBED THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO FOR GOLD
They didn't disappoint! The qualifying session started with the guys setting down some great times and, this time incurring no penalty, Hungarian Csaba Csenge secured his first top seeding in the Viking Pro Series.
Behind him was Craig, Jono all within 0.12 seconds of Csaba. Sergio, who overcooked his entry into turn 2 and lost precious time wound up last 1.38 seconds back.
In the Pro Female category Jess Stone continued to dominate. But UCI BMX Champion Charlotte Green had managed to close the gap and finished the best of the rest ahead of Viking Pro Series regulars Rowena and Jess Watts.
WATCH THE PRO MALE RACE HIGHLIGHTS NOW
Csaba was in top form and dominated his race against Sergio setting himself up for another bite of the cherry in the Big Final.
JONO JONES MADE RAPID PROGRESS FROM DEBUT RIDER TO BIG FINAL CONTENDER
Craig was caught out by Jono Jones' new starting technique which sees him do a running start before jumping on to his bike before turn 1. Despite his power Craig couldn't overhaul the small lead Jono had established within the first half lap.
So it would be a Jono v Csaba final. Meaning which ever rider won the Viking Pro Series would have a new Gold medal rider.
In the small final Craig experimented with the 'Jono start' and putting it to good effect beat Sergio to the bronze medal position.
CRAIG USES HIS SMALL FINAL RACE TO EXPERIMENT WITH A 'JONO START'
That left Csaba and Jono to do battle for the big one. Csaba, who has struggled to stay within the Johnson line all series has experienced his fair share of penalties. Could he keep it all together to claim his first Gold?
Possibly the pressure of keeping within those white lines hindered his usually flowing style or was it the speed of Jono's new trade mark start? Either way it was Jono who claimed the top spot and the prize money.
His win also secured him a top seeding at the SuperFinals on 16th August. The other top seeds will be Patrick Robinson, Csaba Csange and Sergio Layos (thanks to his bronze medal from Round 2).
JONO CLAIMS THE TOP PRIZE AND A SEEDING POSITION FOR THE SUPERFINALS
Check out the latest Pro Rider Rankings here
WATCH THE PRO FEMALE RACE HIGHLIGHTS NOW
Charlotte Cole-Hussain crashed in her encounter against Charlotte Green resulting in a painful end to her day. Her poor luck sent her namesake into the semi finals and a show down with Rowena.
CHARLOTTE COLE-HUSSAIN SHOWED OFF HER TRACK STAND SKILLS
Meanwhile Jess Stone cruised through to the semi finals, going on to beat Jess Watts for a place in the Big Final.
But who would she be facing? Charlotte Green was rapidly closing the gap between her and the more experienced StreetVelodromers. Rowena who has competed in the top flight since 2016 was not going to have it easy.
To the surprise of many Charlotte came out on top of a very close race, meaning she would, for a second time, have the chance to take the fight to Jess Stone.
CHARLOTTE GREEN WAS HAPPY WITH HER PROGRESS OVER THE WEEKEND'S RACING
Rowena went on to claim bronze from Jess Watts in the small final. But it was the performances of Jess Stone and Charlotte Green that the crowd were eagerly waiting.
Neither rider disappointed. In a fast paced, yet smoothly ridden final, both riders traded lap times with nothing more than hundreths between them. But it was, once again, the imperious Jess Stone who came out on top and maintaining her 100% unbeaten record.
The results mean both Jess, Charlotte, Rowena and Jess Watts will all benefit from top seeding at the SuperFinals on 16th August.
JESS STONE ACKNOWLEDGES THE CHALLENGE OF CHARLOTTE GREEN
Check out the latest Pro Rider Rankings here
Look out for our special SUPERFINALS 2018 preview coming soon