Buyten, (No) Hands Down

As Clear Channel¿s freestyle tour goes into its summer break, Thor-clad Matt Buyten¿s ascension to the top of freestyle ranks continues with the reigning X-Games Step-Up Gold Medalist also leading the IFMA season points standings by a comfortable margin.

With 9 wins and a 50-point lead coming into the weekend, the Thor-Parts Unlimited sponsored Buyten went into the break after 3-1 finishes in Milwaukee¿s Bradley Center, taking the win on Saturday night.

After previous visits to Milwaukee taking place on the slick and obviously hard paved front straight of the Milwaukee Mile car racing facility, the tour¿s first visit indoors would see the freestyle riders competing on near-damp and tacky soil. Some competitors found the rutted landings a factor, including Buyten.

Buyten held the “hot seat” on Friday before being bumped by Nevada neighbors and long-time practice partners Dustin Miller and Drake McElroy with Miller taking the win. Although the third place finish reflected the quality of the Thor rider¿s tricks while in the air, he elected not to include his usual surfeit of no-handed landings. Buyten returned to the arena on Saturday determined to throw that caution–and his hands–to the “wind” and took the win with several legs-only landings.

“Yeah, it was just about pulling it out on Saturday. The dirt would have been great for a race¿corners, all that¿but it had a little too much grab to land smooth. But tonight, I just did them anyway, and it was all smooth,” Buyten said. “It was good to get the win, and I¿m getting ready to kill it this summer.”

Buyten, the 2003 IFMA Rookie of the Year, held a 974-934 lead over second place Jake Windham and extended that margin going into the IFMA hiatus when Windham failed to crack the top five either night. Buyten will ride selected high profile events, concentrating on a successful defense of his X-Games crown in the Step-Up event and a run at the Freestyle and Big Trick big medals.