Basel, 22nd June 2013: The last NIGHT of the JUMPs before the summer break left the audience in the arena (and in front of their PC monitors) baying for more. The ten freestyle motocross stars pulled out all the stops to maximise their championship points haul before the mid-season lay-off.
The riders line up – photo: Adam Simpson
The fans in Basel’s St Jakobshalle had already been treated to some jaw-dropping feats at the qualifying stage. Kai Haase showed off some new flip combos but nearly came unstuck on his heel clickerflip over the Super Kicker, which effectively ruled him out of contention. Massimo Bianconcini seems to have recovered fully from his broken wrist and ran through his entire repertoire but could still progress no further than ninth. Hannes Ackermann was intent on making it through to the final, even pulling off a Tsunami Flip in the attempt, but an error on his heel clicker Flip left him languishing in a frustrating seventh place.
Clinton Moore had even more cause to curse his luck: the Australian was heading for a certain appearance in the final when he took a huge slam coming out of a 360 Nac, casing the landing and getting spat down to the flat. The audience let out a collective gasp but were relieved to see him back on his feet after receiving brief medical attention.
Clinton Moore moments after hitting the deck – photo: Adam Simpson
This left the way clear for Jose Miralles, Maikel Melero, Libor Podmol, David Rinaldo, Brice Izzo and Dany Torres to book the final six places.
Before that, however, the fans were treated to a breathtaking Rockwell Watch Best Whip contest, in which German rider Kai Haase prevailed over five other entrants who all had some big whips. The Maxxis Highest Air Contest was equal in every respect, as Massimo Bianconcini and Maikel Melero pushed each other to the limit. The Italian veteran finally took the trophy, clearing the bar at 9.70 metres.
Massimo Bianconcini dominating the Maxxis highest air – photo: Oliver Franke
The grand finale was then the ultimate showdown. Miralles was the only one who seemed to have run out of steam, which became apparent when he messed up one of his tricks. Maikel Melero, however, fought like a tiger, pulling out a Double Seatgrab Flip at the closing stage of his run. But with everyone on such great form, even this was not enough for a podium finish. For Libor Podmol, it was all about hanging onto his lead in the championship standings. He hoped that his LP Special Roll, his Tsunami Flip, his signature Underflip and Seatgrab Flip would do the trick, but his chance of a podium diminished as David Rinaldo displaced him from the hot seat. The Frenchman threw a big Double Seatgrab Flip and some new variations of his tech triple combos.
Libor Podmol doing his signature underflip indy – photo: Adam Simpson
David Rinaldo throws a huge double grab flip- photo: Adam Simpson
He in turn was then forced to vacate the throne by the next Frenchman in line, as Brice Izzo put in what may well be the best run of his career to date, with perfect extension on his Tsunami, Underflip, Seatgrab Flip and Deadbody. He also undertook the maximum level of difficulty with new tricks such as the Cordova to Superflip and the Saranwrap to One-hand Seatgrab. The only contestant now blocking his path to victory was Dany Torres. The Spaniard included all his backflip combos, but for some reason left out the Rock Solid Backflip which he had been seen performing in free practice. This omission left the way clear for Brice Izzo to claim the winner’s trophy. With Rinaldo finishing as runner-up, the result was a French one-two.
Brice Izzo sending a big superflip – photo: Adam Simpson
The wider implications are that Rinaldo on 98 points has now overtaken Libor Podmol to lead the World Championship by a margin of two points. Reigning world champion Remi Bizouard, who is stuck on 72 points and trailing in fourth position, intends to be fit enough to contest the second half of the season and to mount a vigorous defence of his title.
NIGHT of the JUMPS now goes into a short summer break and will resume on 18th August with the seventh round of the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship inBeijing. Meanwhile, Swiss freestyle motocross fans should mark the weekend of 28th/29th March 2014 in their diaries. That’s when NIGHT of the JUMPs returns to the Sankt Jakobshalle inBaselfor the eighth successive year.
Results: NIGHT of the JUMPs – Final
1. Brice Izzo FRA Yamaha 390 points
2. David Rinaldo FRA Yamaha 390 points
3. Dany Torres ESP KTM 386 points
4. Libor Podmol CZE Yamaha 371 points
5. Maikel Melero ESP KTM 365 points
6. Jose Miralles ESP KTM 310 points
Results: MAXXIS Highest Air
1. Massimo Bianconcini ITA KTM 9.70 metres
3. Maikel Melero ESP KTM 9.50 metres
3. Kai Haase GER DMSB 9.00 metres
Results: ROCKWELL Best Whip Contest
1. Kai Haase GER Suzuki
FIM Freestyle MX World Championships
Ranking (after 6th contest)
1. David Rinaldo FRA Yamaha 98 points
2. Libor Podmol CZE Yamaha 96 points
3. Brice Izzo FRA Yamaha 83 points
4. Remi Bizouard FRA Kawasaki 72 points
5. Dany Torres ESP KTM 64 points
6. Hannes Ackermann GER KTM 53 points
7. Jose Miralles ESP KTM 52 points
8. Petr Pilat CZE KTM 51 points
9. Maikel Melero ESP KTM 41 points
10. Massimo Bianconcini ITA KTM 39 points
11. Kai Haase GER Suzuki 36 points
12. Clinton Moore AUS Yamaha 22 points
13. Gabriel Villegas CHL KTM 16 points
14. Rich Kearns USA Kawasaki 10 points
15. Martin Koren CZE KTM 7 points