ESPN has just announced that they have cancelled the FMX and Snowmobile Best Trick discipline from X-Games.
ESPN released a statement saying, “This change reflects our decision to focus on motor sports disciplines which feature athletes who also compete in multiple, world-class competitions [e.g., professional events and tours] reflecting the highest degree of athlete participation, competitive development and the global nature of our X Games franchise. Over the past 18 years we have made more than 60 changes to our competition lineups at X Games events to capture the evolution of the sport and these continue that growth.” espn.com
Although there have been rumours going around that ESPN were revising their views of Best Trick in the wake of the Tragic death of Snowmobile Best Trick competitor Caleb Moore in January, the decision to cancell FMX Best trick has come as a huge shock!
It is fair to say that FMX Best Trick has always been the most gnarly and dangerous discipline in X-games. It has however also always been the most popular and progressive discipline, allowing riders a platform to showcase the latest and most innovative tricks in the sport of freestyle motocross. So many of the tricks we see in freestyle contests today origionated at best trick, and this will definately leave a hole in the sport.
We will be sad to not see Best Trick at X-Games in 2013, and it seems a bit drastic from our point of view to go from what the event was, to cancelling it outright, without making every effort in between to progress the format of the event in an attempt to make it as safe as possible for the riders. Safety improvements could have been implemented by a number of means like 1. Having a resi-landing 2. Requiring video footage of a trick being being landed to dirt before allowing the rider to enter 3. Having an on-site practice / warm-up foam pit and so on.
Riders such as Kyle Loza who have almost dedicated their careers to innovating and inventing new tricks will feel the effects of this news the hardest for sure.