photo: Marko Manthey, Oliver Franke / NOTJ.de
Gdansk, 23rd March 2013: After missing out on staging NIGHT of the JUMPs last year, Poland once again rolled out the red carpet for the world’s top freestylers at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk, the venue for the fourth round of the 2013 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship.
Local challenger Artur Puzio entered the fray as the beneficiary of the wild card rule but unfortunately went out at the qualifying stage in twelfth place. The two Spanish riders making their return to the competition, Maikel Melero and Dany Torres, experienced very different starts to their evening. After Melero’s dead sailor flip ruled him out of the final, Torres qualified in first position with such tricks as the Doublegrap Flip, Paris Hilton Flip and his new Shaolin to Superflip combo. Jose Miralles, the third of the Spanish trio, suffered the same fate as Melero; after aborting one of his jumps, he was condemned to watch the rest of the proceedings from the grandstands.
Meanwhile, the French tricoleur battalion of Remi Bizouard, Brice Izzo and David Rinaldo progressed through to the final with impressive runs. They were joined by Hannes Ackermann who seems to have rediscovered his affinity for the Tsunami Flip.
David Rinaldo – photo: Marko Manthey, Oliver Franke / NOTJ.de
Petr Pilat, Massimo Bianconcini and Kai Haase also went out at this early stage, but their visit to Gdansk was not in vain: first, Massimo Bianconcini secured victory in the Rockwell Time Race & Style contest, then Haase jumped 8.5 metres to win the Maxxis Highest Air, and finally Petr Pilat joined former kickboxing world champion and Polish MP Iwona Guzowska to delight the fans with a Tandem Flip.
The finale promised to be high-voltage affair: with Torres having emerged victorious from the preliminary round, there was every chance that the top rung of the podium would be occupied by a fourth incumbent of the new World Championship season. But that was the last thing NIGHT of the JUMPs top dogs Podmol, Bizouard, Izzo and Rinaldo wanted to see. The final got off to an anticlimax as Ackermann ignominiously ruled himself out of contention with a dead sailor. Meanwhile, Izzo improved on his performance from earlier in the evening with a debut Clicker to Superflip combo.
Libor Podmol – photo: Marko Manthey, Oliver Franke / NOTJ.de
Remi Bizouard then made sure of a podium with a consummate Ruler Flip, but he was ultimately to miss out on the winner’s trophy by one point to David Rinaldo who somehow magicked up a sequence of new triple combos. Libor Podmol battled his way through to third place but had to wait for confirmation as Dany Torres sought to justify his qualifying lead. The pressure may have got to the Spanish rider who disappointed on his first run with a dead sailor. After a botched landing on his Paris Hilton Flip, he knew the game was up and that he would have to settle for sixth.
Remi Bizouard – photo: Marko Manthey, Oliver Franke / NOTJ.de
So it was that David Rinaldo celebrated his second Grand Prix victory of the season, which elevates him to main challenger in the World Championship. Although Remi Bizouard still heads the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship standings on 72 points, Rinaldo and Podmol are both hot on his heels with 68 each.
The NIGHT of the JUMPs season continues one month from now, when the world’s top riders convene at the Olympiahalle in Munich for the third round of the FMX European Championship. The next World Championship points will be awarded at NIGHT of the JUMPs in Basel.
Results NIGHT of the JUMPs – Final
1. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 378 Points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki 377 Points
3. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Yamaha 370 Points
4. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 354 Points
5. Hannes Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 276 Points
6. Dany Torres ESP RFME KTM 204 Points
Results MAXXIS Highest Air
1. Kai Haase GER Suzuki 8,50 Meters
2. Jose Miralles ESP KTM 8,00 Meters
3. Maikel Melero ESP KTM 7,50 Meters
4. Massimo Bianconcini ITA KTM 7,00 Meters
Results ROCKWELL Time Race & Style Contest
1. Massimo Bianconcini ITA PZM KTM
2. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM
3. Kai Haase GER DMSB Suzuki