If you thought that Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg got lucky when he walked out of downtown Los Angeles this summer with a shiny gold medal around his neck from the X Games Best Trick competition, think again. Last weekend in Aspen, Colorado, Twitch backed up his summer performance with another solid X Games win, this time in the snow.
Though the prelims were delayed due to heavy snowfall (the flurries were a factor throughout the weekend), when the weather finally broke and the final went down, Twitch took on all comers with a smooth, never-before-seen trick combo. The move was a no-handed backflip to side-saddle landing, and it was strong enough to secure Stenberg a solid 93-point score, beating second-place finisher Mat Rebeaud’s 92.4 score. TransWorld Motocross caught up with Twitch (who is also our Freestyle Rider of the Year) when he got back to California to ask him about his weekend in the snow…
Congrats on your X win. Did you go to Aspen expecting to dominate?
Yes, I went there planning on winning. When I got there, I wasn’t completely comfortable with the jump, though, so then I started kind of second-guessing myself. The landing was so hard, and it really intimidated me. Basically, just landing so hard from a perfect jump hurt, so I could just imagine if you fell! I actually couldn’t pull one of the tricks that I thought I was going to try because of the hard ice. When it came down to the finals, I decided to do what I came here to do, which was win, so I threw down the trick that I have been practicing for the last few months and it worked.
Coming in, whom did you see as your biggest competition?
I was thinking that my biggest competition was either going to be Nate Adams or Ronnie Faisst. We’ve all been riding a bunch together, and I knew that they would all be on their game in Aspen. I also knew to expect something big from Rebeaud; he’s not scared to throw huge stuff and he wants to win contests just like us, so he’s always a threat.
Did you do anything special to practice and prepare for Winter X and the snow?
The only thing we did differently at all was that we built a dirt jump to practice instead of using a ramp so that we could get used to flipping out of ruts. That’s the biggest difference with Winter X and the snow, the ruts sometimes get really deep, but the dirt jump really helped us with that…
What, in your opinion, made your trick stand out so much from the other backflip variations at X?
I would say just how smooth my trick was. I know Metz got ticked off because he got scored pretty badly for a trick he did, but the thing is, he did his pretty sketchy. Mine was so smooth, I honestly don’t think I could have done it any smoother if I tried. That really pushed me over the edge compared to the others, in my opinion.
Was the side-saddle landing easier or more difficult than you thought it would be in the snow?
I knew it was going to be a little hard once I got there, but when I actually did it, it was way easier than I thought. Before the contest, I was definitely stressing a little, but I kept telling myself that this is what I came here to do, and that I’ve done it a million times in practice, so I just did the trick the way I’ve been doing it, and it turned out exactly perfect.
Did you have another trick up your sleeve had you needed to bust something out last-minute?
Yeah, my main trick was going to be a no-handed flip to no-handed landing with no bar check. It was possible, but it was also a huge risk there in the snow because the landing was so hard. What it came down to was that it wasn’t worth throwing the rest of my year away to take the chance of doing that trick. I would have definitely been hurt had it not worked out right, and I want to be healthy for the Dew Tour and other things this year.
If there was anything you could have changed in Aspen thiss weekend, what would it have been?
Really, nothing, it was the perfect weekend for me, I couldn’t have asked for anything else up there. My goal this year was to come home with the gold medal, and I did, so things were perfect.
Were you surprised by Mat Rebeaud’s skills, and were you nervous after he beat you in qualifying?
No, I wasn’t nervous or surprised, because I knew he was going to go for something big. I thought his trick was good, but I didn’t think his jump was quite as smooth as mine, so I wasn’t too worried. He had the panic rev going the whole time in the air, and it just looked a little out of control. He’s a good rider and definitely someone to look out for this year, but in Aspen he just wasn’t smooth enough.
What’s next on your schedule? Where do you go from here?
I’m just planning on practicing twice as hard as I have been so I can win every event out there this year! The Red Bull X Fighters event is coming up, so that’s the next one I am setting my sights for.