The most viewed event of the weekend, Moto-X Step-Up, kicked off Friday night, and with a grip of talented riders making up the roster, the contest was sure to be a nail biter.
Matt Buyten was the first rider to clip the bar during his first attempt at a “low” 24 feet, but the multi-time gold medalist regrouped and leapt into the next round. Brian Foster was the first to be eliminated from the contest, as he was unable to clear the bar perched 31 feet off the stadium floor. He was followed by Southern California local and Brazil Step-Up gold medalist Bryce Hudson, who was eliminated at 32 feet. Newly crowned Best Whip gold medalist Josh Hansen clipped the bar twice at the 34 foot mark, and his dismissal set the chiseled the field down to the final three riders: Ronnie Renner, Matt Buyten, and Libor Podmol.
Many expected Buyten and Renner to battle head-to-head for the gold medal, but miscues on Buyten’s part knocked the Nevada rider out of gold medal contention at the 37.6 feet. Podmol’s night had a few close calls, including a miss at 31 feet, but he overcame the mistake to advance to the gold medal fight against Renner. Th Czech rider had no issues boosting his Yamaha high over the bar, but clearing it to make the landing proved to be a challenge. He clipped the bar twice with his front-end at 38.6 feet, and settled for silver.
There was simply no topping Ronnie Renner. His technique of whipping his KTM on the face and over the bar gave him plenty of extra room to maneuver while in the air. He was the only rider to get over the 38.6 mark, and with that claimed his fifth X Games Step-Up gold medal.
1. Ronnie Renner
2. Libor Podmol
3. Matt Buyten
Photos: Michael Antonovich/Chris Kimball