Just one week after the NIGHT of the JUMPs season opener in Linz, Europs best freestyle motocross riders were back in action for Round 3 of the Freestyle MX European Championship, this time at the Stadthalle in Graz, Austria. Having already notched up two wins in the 2014 campaign, Libor Podmol was looking to extend his championship lead; the rest of the pack were equally determined to knock him off his perch.
Photo Credit: Oliver Franke / NOTJ.de
Remi Bizouard, Maikel Melero& Brice Izzo on the podium
Podmol’s task was made easier when his closest pursuer had to retire at the free practice stage, with the kicker ramp proving to be Petr Pilat’s undoing. Birthday boy Maikel Melero was inspired form, however, pulling off a Doublegrab Flip in the qualifying round, which was good enough to secure pole position in the final.
Germany’s Luc Ackermann astonished everyone with his qualifying run. After taking a tumble last weekend, the 16-year-old Red Bull rider became the youngest contestant ever to make it through to the last six at a NIGHT of the JUMPs event.
Podmol’s main rivals for the title – Remi Bizouard (FRA) and Brice Izzo (FRA) – qualified for the final without any problem. It was also a big night for Jeremy Rouanet who joined the finalists for the first time in his career. Australian star Joel Brown’s challenge came to a premature end when he botched his double-up jump in the preliminary round.
The Maxxis Highest Air was a three-way battle between Luc Ackermann, Kevin Ferrari and Maikel Melero. The diminutive Spaniard claimed the trophy ahead ofItaly’s Ferrari, with Ackermann taking third place. The Rockwell Watch Best Whip contest was won by Remi Bizouard ahead of fellow Frenchman Jeremy Rouanet.
Luc Ackermann went first in the final round and executed a Tsunami Flip in the Double-Up to the evident delight of a full house. But that still wasn’t enough to take him past Rouanet whose routine included a No-Hand Flip and a Shaolin Backflip. Regardless of the outcome, the two youngsters can feel proud to have finished fifth and sixth.
Libor Podmol was keen to extend his lead in the championship but didn’t even make it onto the podium after messing up one of his tricks. The French duo of Izzo and Bizouard subsequently put in flawless runs. After Izzo consolidated his third place with a stylish display, Bizouard went on to execute a Ruler Flip in the double-up and put himself in the hot seat. But his reign was brief as Maikel Melero conjured up the best tricks from his extensive repertoire, including Superman Seatgrab Flip, Underflip, Surfer to Tsunami, Double Seatgrab Flip and a couple of triple combos. The Spanish rider celebrated this special occasion in fitting fashion, and the Austrian fans spontaneously chimed in with a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday to You’.
In the Freestyle MX European Championship standings, Libor Podmol retains the lead on 54 points. Maikel Melero’s victory on Saturday night was enough to promote him to second place with Remi Bizouard close behind. The competition continues tomorrow asGrazonce again plays host to NIGHT of the JUMPs and Round 4 of the Freestyle MX European Championship.
Melero’s winning run:
Top 3 runs:
Results: NIGHT of the JUMPs – Final
1. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 391 points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki 381 points
3. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 373 points
4. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Yamaha 370 points
5. Jeremy Rouanet FRA FFM Yamaha 330 points
6. Luc Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 283 points
1. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 348 points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki 328 points
3. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 326 points
4. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Yamaha 306 points
5. Jeremy Rouanet FRA FFM Yamaha 279 points
6. Luc Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 270 points
7. Joel Brown AUS MA Yamaha 266 points
8. Nikolay Ivankov RUS Yamaha 223 points
9. Kevin Ferrari ITA PZM KTM 215 points
10. Ondrej Zaruba CZE ACCR KTM 212 points
11. Ales Liemann CZE ACCR KTM 127 points
Results: Rockwell Watch Best Whip Contest
1. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki
2. Jeremy Rouanet FRA FFM Yamaha
Maxxis Highest Air
1. Maikel Melero ESP RFME KTM 7.50 metres
2. Kevin Ferrari ITA PZM KTM 7.00 metres
3. Luc Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 6.00 metres
Freestyle MX European Championship
Ranking (after Round 3)
1. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Yamaha 54 points
2. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 50 points
3. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki 48 points
4. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 44 points
5. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 32 points
6. Joel Brown AUS MA Yamaha 28 points
7. Massimo Bianconcini ITA PZM KTM 19 points
8. Maxime Gregoire FRA FFM Yamaha 16 points
9. Luc Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 14 points
10. Leonardo Fini ITA PZM KTM 14 points
11. Jeremy Rouanet FRA FFM Yamaha 10 points
12. Nikolay Ivankov RUS Yamaha 8 points
13. Kevin Ferrari ITA PZM KTM 7 points
14. Fred Wasner FRA FFM Yamaha 6 points
15. Ondrej Zaruba CZE ACCR KTM 6 points
16. Martin Koren CZE ACCR KTM 5 points
17. Ales Liemann CZE ACCR KTM 5 points