XDL: Freestyle Sportbike in Scottsdale
After a humid Round 1 in Florida, a dry heat wave hit Arizona for the latest event with highs near 100 in the afternoon. There were clear skies, an enthusiastic crowd, and some of the most exciting moments in all of XDL history!
Promotions leading up to the event were incredible, filling the stands on game day, and everything ran exceptionally smooth with help from local MMI volunteers.
Friday’s FMF Cup qualifying brought out some great riding which landed Racing 905 rider Luke ‘Duke’ Emmons in the first position.
The Wheelie Teach Wheelie Race, which requires riders to wheelie down the track, turn around a cone while still in wheelie, and return to a line at the track’s half way point before setting the front tire down, was thoroughly enjoyed by both the crowd and the riders.
Sending Dan Jackson to 3rd place, fellow team members Nick Brocha and Ernie Vigil battled side by side for first with Nick edging out the win.
Radio station 98 KUPD brought the hot local band The Brix to perform live on stage after the riding on Friday night.
Saturday brought the first two FMF cup rounds, K&N Circle Challenge, Battle of the Brands, Racing 905 Speed & Style Showdown, the FMF Cup Main Event and the coveted Stuntride Sickest Trick.
The K&N Circle Challenge was won by Aaron Twite at just a quarter turn ahead of Nick ‘Apex’ Brocha. Ernie Vigil had worked his way to the top three as well, but took himself out, securing a third place finish.
The Battle of the Brands was won by the newest brand to enter the competition: Josh Borne. He secured the win on his Korean built Hyosung.
The Racing 905 Speed & Style Showdown was a big hit with a finish so close that a winner could not be determined by the human eye! An actual frame-by-frame video review revealed Aaron Colton at less than a wheel diameter ahead of Dan Jackson!
The FMF Cup Main Event really brought out some incredible riding at this venue. A couple of the most memorable runs were laid down by Shin and former champion Alex Flores, who earned his way back onto the podium at 5th. Yamaha factory rider Bill Dixon’s consistent riding brought in fourth place and a new rivalry was born as Racing 905’s Luke Emmons drifted around Bill as he entered for his final run.
Dixon later returned the favor when he rode on to the surface after Emmons during the Stuntride.com Sickest Trick. There is a chance this tit-for-tat will continue for the rest of the season. Shin Kinoshita, affectionately referred to as the ‘Little Ninja’, took a third place trophy back across the Pacific Ocean to his home in Japan.
Luke Emmons brought “The Fury” for second place with clean riding devoid of mistakes and the volume turned up on speed and aggression. Nick Brocha earned a huge 82.5 points from a killer final run that was added to his 80 point second run to deliver a giant 9 point lead for 1st place!
XDL Scottsdale closed out with the Stuntride Sickest Trick competition, which delivered one of the most spectacular feats yet! A new format was introduced offering one minute to complete a single trick in as many tries as the rider chose to attempt. This really increased the level of riding and entertainment value of the event.
It almost seemed scripted as hometown rider “Savage” Lin Eshalom came in limping from a crash into the wall in his final FMF Cup run that left his ankle swollen and front end of his bike tweaked. He had his little daughter watching from the edge of center track as he asked for the water barriers to be removed from the hot pit area so that he could come in hot on a never before attempted high speed stoppie using his recently added front brake lever on the rear of his tail.
Not only did he kill it, rolling high and at least 100-feet long, but Lin even took his hands off during the roll.
Fans and fellow competitors were impressed and in awe as the crowd went crazy! It was a fitting end to a day full of spectacular riding and showmanship.
Now it is on to the XDL Round 3 at the Nashville Speedway in Nashville, TN on June 10 and 11.