2011 Freestyle Sportbike
The 2011 XDL Nashville round was a complete reversal from last year, when the event took place on the heels of once-in-a-century flooding in Middle Tennessee, and it rained on both event days. And even though it was sandwiched between the CMAs and Bonaroo, two massive music festivals taking place the same weekend, XDL Nashville was a total success.
For the first time since 2006, the longest stoppie competition was brought back into the format as the main event on Friday.
Randy Grube (XDL Series Founder) says: “Longest stoppie is inherently dangerous. In order to roll far, the rider needs to accelerate to triple digits and at the pick up point, hit the front brake and bring up the rear of the bike.
“Any small mistake can spell disaster. So to be quite honest, as the event organizer, I was in no mood to introduce this additional element of danger, especially because I didn’t want to put the athletes at risk. But at the season opener this year Jamal Kindred and Nick Hernandez sat me down and gave me convincing and logical arguments for why we needed this competition at Nashville and I listened. I’m glad I did.”
Nashville presented a unique opportunity because it is the only venue in the XDL schedule that provides a long surface. Longest stoppie could only be done in Nashville and whomever won would be King for a year.
Talk on the web started heating up almost as soon as the competition was announced. Among the top contenders, LocoX.com rider Jesse Toler took it upon himself to start posting his practice videos on the web, which further built the hype. Toler first rolled 656 feet off a 120 foot approach, then 900 feet off a 200 foot approach.
XDL Nashville would provide a 400 foot approach so the bar had been set very high. Commented Toler on the opening day of competition: “I’ve only had two days practicing on a 400 foot approach and we’re just gonna go all out. It is definitely the fastest, longest approach I’ve ever done. I’m making about 105 mph so I’m hoping for a very good distance here.”
During the practice session Jesse Toler and Mitch Adams emerged as the main contenders, both easily clearing 900 feet, with Toler even rolling an unofficial 1,140 feet. The possibility of a new record loomed in the air. After practice Adams stated he was ready for the main event: “I only did about 10-12 passes, but I’m feeling pretty good. I feel like I’ll be giving Jesse a run for his money.”
In the main event each rider got three tries to set a long distance and on his last try Mitch Adams rolled out 925 feet. Based on practice distances that seemed very beatable but the last man in the order, Jesse Toler, could only match the 925 feet on his second run, which amounted to a tie. So now it came down to the very last run of the day to determine a winner. One more time Toler accelerated through the 400 foot approach and this time he squeezed out an additional 39 feet, taking a well-deserved victory and putting his stamp on a night for the ages: “I’ve never actually been able to beat Mitch on a long approach because I am on a 600 and he is on a jet of a 1000, so it feels good to finally win at a longer approach.”
Saturday featured a pivotal battle in FMF Cup between Racing 905’s Luke Emmons, Graves Yamaha rider Bill Dixon and Icon/Monster Energy’s Nick Brocha, the three title contenders. A win by Brocha would give him a virtual lock on the championship so the pressure was on Dixon and Emmons to shake things up. After qualifying it didn’t look good. Brocha clinched the top spot, with Emmons in second and Dixon in third. “I feel very good about my qualifying run because this track is my nemisis” said Brocha. “I qualified first, which I wasn’t expecting, so it is great to be in this position.”
Brocha’s fears were realized when Dixon laid down the two highest scoring runs of the evening and put together an almost flawless main event. His performance secured the win and kept his championship hopes alive. “I had to beat Nick to keep my championship hopes alive, I did that, and that is what I came here for” remarked an elated Bill Dixon. Brocha still managed to finish second keeping him 5 points ahead of Dixon in the title chase. Dixon will have to win both Monterey and Indy and hope Brocha falters to realize his dream of becoming the first-ever three-peat XDL Champion.
The Racing 905 Speed & Style Showdown was decided in a round robin format that saw Red Bull rider Aaron Colton edge out Dan Jackson for the win.
Team Empire swept the K&N Circle Challenge with Icon/Monster Energy rider Ernie Vigil beating out his teammates Joel Figueroa and Kris Higdon.
Racing 905’s Dena Sodano maintained her winning form to take Sartso Women’s Cup even though she suffered a substantial wreck in practice after flipping a stoppie and getting pummeled by her bike.
The Wheelie Teach Wheelie Race once again went to Nick Brocha, who has now proclaimed this his favorite event within XDL.
The final event of the evening, the Stuntride.com Sickest Trick went to Team Empire’s Shinsuke Kinoshita from Japan who finally managed to land his 180 elevator in competition. But after the initial round Kinoshita was tied with “Sick” Nick Hernandez at 23 points each. So for the first time ever, Sickest Trick went into a sudden death format and both riders had to redo their tricks. Hernandez laid down a blazing 4th gear high chair stoppie that took everyone’s breath away, but Kinoshita completely nailed the 180 elevator for the win. “I was actually scared when they said we had to go to sudden death” said Kinoshita. “My trick is very dangerous and I don’t land it often, so I didn’t want to go again but it worked out in the end.”
Needless to say, the thousands of Nashville fans went home happy after another thrilling XDL weekend.
Next up is Round 4 in Monterey as part of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on July 22 & 23. XDL can be followed on www.xdlshow.com.
FMF Cup Final
1. Bill Dixon (174.5); 2. Nick Brocha (161.0); 3. Luke Emmons (158.0); 4. Chris McNeil (155.5); 5. Shinsuke Kinoshita (148.0)
1. Jesse Toler (964 feet); 2. Mitch Adams (925 feet); 3. Bill Dixon (642 feet)
K&N Circle Challenge
1. Ernie Vigil; 2. Joel Figueroa; 3. Kris Higdon
Stuntride.com Sickest Trick
1. Shinsuke Kinoshita; 2. Nick Hernandez; 3. David Boyd
Sartso Women’s Cup
1. Dena Sodano (87.0); 2. Brytni Noell (68.5)
Racing 905 Speed & Style Showdown
1. Aaron Colton; 2. Dan Jackson; 3. Jesse Toler
Wheelie Teach Wheelie Race
1. Nick Brocha; 2. Aaron Colton; 3. Dan Jackson