2013 X Games Brazil Motocross Recap

Video courtesy of X Games/ESPN

Late last year, ESPN announced a format change to the X Games. Rather than have only two stops, one Winter and one Summer, there would be six total events. The first two would cover the Winter formats and take place in Aspen, Colorado, and Tignes, France, while the final four dotted the globe with events in Brazil, Spain, Germany, and the Los Angeles. This past weekend the first stop of the Summer games took place in Foz do Iguaçu and overlooked the massive Iguazu Falls. A number of motocross and motorcycle events were on the schedule, including Freestyle Motocross, Step Up, Speed & Style, Best Whip, and Endrocross.

Endurocross

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Taddy Blazusiak and Cody Webb carried their longstanding rivalry to Brazil, where the two met on an extremely difficult and massive Endurocross layout that was unlike any other ever built. Laid across the red South American clay were stacks of logs, fields of boulders, and treacherous waterpits  which became even more challenging when rain began to during the main event. After qualifying, Webb was considered the favorite, but it was impossible to rule out five time Erzberg Rodeo champion Blazusiak out of contention.

KTM’s Mike Brown used his motocross background to his advantage at the start of the 10-lap final and rocketed out of the gate ahead of the rest of the pack, but carried too much speed into the tight left hand turn and overshot his mark. This dropped the American to last place and allowed David Knight to overtake the lead. Although Knight is world famous for his off-road skill, Brazil marked his first X Games appearance, due to a long list of setbacks and surgeries. The Honda mounted Knight led the pack for the first moments of the race before a miscue in a log filled section killed his momentum and gave Blazusiak a chance to take control. The Polish KTM racer began to distance the field almost immediately by launching the log jumps but showed a weakness in the rock turn. Each time Blazusiak negotiated the section with a wide line, he gave up tremendous time to Webb and allowed the two stroke equipped American to close in. Webb made his first pass for the lead by doubling a pair of logs, but high-centered his bike in a following section and let Blazusiak back by.

In just three laps, five lead changes occurred. At that point in the race, Webb was in front and starting to build a small gap when he crashed two times, handed his rival the lead, and allowed third place Knight to close in. Despite Webb’s best efforts to reel the leader in, it would be the final exchange of the lead, as Blazusiak rode patiently to a gold medal. Webb stumbled in the final slick turn and fell, but remounted to still take second while Knight claimed third.

Results

1. Taddy Blazusiak
2. Cody Webb
3. David Knight
4. Colton Haaker
5. Taylor Robert
6. Mike Brown
7. Cory Graffunder
8. Kyle Redmond
9. Alfredo Gomez
10. Max Gerston
11. Geoff Aaron
12. Bobby Prochnau
13. Bryan Roper
14. Ricky Dietrich
15. Gary Sutherlin

Best Whip

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The voting method for Best Whip was another change for Brazil, as the contest now required fans to cast votes by using Twitter and the hashtag #bestwhip after their favorite rider’s name. As expected, multi-time champion Jeremy “Twitch” Stenburg was the favorite heading into the session, but the freestyle icon had stiff competition from icon Edgar Torronteras. From the start, Twitch held a lead in the polls over the Spaniard and fellow Dirt Bike Kid Josh Hansen, but in the waning moments, Torronteras closed the gap with massive look-back and inverted whips. When the polls closed, Stenberg had claimed 45-percent of the votes and his third gold medal in the event.

Results

1. Jeremy Stenberg 45.00
2. Edgar Torronteras 30.00
3. Josh Hansen 17.00
4. Ronnie Renner 5.00
5. Taka Higashino 2.00
6. Wes Agee 1.00

Step-Up

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Six of the sport’s most talented and fearless riders lined up to launch themselves over the bar perched high above the vertical takeoff for a chance at taking home a medal. Among the roster was Italian Massimo Bianconcini, a former holder of the Step-Up world record, Josh Hansen, rookie Bryce Hudson, Ronnie Renner, Libor Podmol, and Brian Foster. Hansen and Renner had a brief confrontation in the midst of battle, as the controversial racer did his best to rattle the multi-time medalist. It would be all for not, because Renner shook off the issue and launched to a silver medal. Southern California’s Bryce Hudson, in his first X Games appearance, outlasted the experienced field and was the only rider to soar over the bar when it was placed at the 31-foot mark. The Czech Republic native Podmol, a virtual unknown to the American masses, landed a bronze medal with his vault over the 29-foot high bar.

Results

1. Bryce Hudson 31.00 feet
2. Ronnie Renner 30.00 feet
3. Libor Podmol 29.00 feet
4. Josh Hansen 28.00 feet
5. Massimo Bianconcini 25.00 feet
6. Brian Foster 23.00 feet

Speed & Style

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A handful of rookies made their presence known in Brazil, but few were as successful as Lance Coury. A member of the RCH/Hart & Huntington freestyle team, the Southern California native has cut his teeth in the sport with countless rides in demos and photo shoots. He climbed through the head-to-head bracket and picked off Gilmar Flores and Libor Podmol on his way to the finals, where he met Andre Villa.

Coury grabbed the early lead with a better start off of the line, but Villa closed in on the final lap. As they hopped through a technical rhythm section, the sound of Villa’s bike startled Coury, forcing him to falter. Villa made a mistake of his own, but his would be far more critical and sent him off the track. Coury’s physical lead allowed him to overcome the deficit in style points (84.66 to 84.00) and earned him the first medal of his career.

Results

1. Lance Coury 97.853
2. Andre Villa 84.66
3. Mat Rebeaud 89.136

Freestyle Motocross

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Defending X Games Freestyle Motocross gold medalist Taka Higashino came into the event as the favorite, and the Japanese rider had extra motivation to perform. With the recent death of his close friend and fellow countryman Eigo Sato still very much on the mind of the FMX community, Higashino blasted the course with a speed and aggressiveness that his competitors could not successfully match. He threw his trademark mover, the Rock Solid flip, over one of the largest jumps on the course and fully extended each of his moves to earn a 91.66 score.

Australian Rob Adelberg worked a number of upright and inverted Superman and cliffhanger variations into his run to score a silver medal, while American and Metal Mulisha soldier Wes Agee flicked his KTM around the massive jumps that lined the course to take bronze. Two-time X Games gold medalist Jackson Strong started his first run off with a front flip, but his eagerness and excitement following the landing caused him to botch a line of jumps, case a landing, and break his lower leg.

Results 

1. Taka Higashino 91.66
2. Rob Adelberg 88.66
3. Wes Agee 87.33