2012 NIGHT of the JUMPs
For a number of years now, the MAXXIS Highest Air Contest has been thrilling not only the fans who turn out to watch NIGHT of the JUMPS live but also the millions who tune in on TV.
In contrast to the complex and highly technical scoring system used in the main freestyle motorcycle competition, the difference between victory and defeat is plain for all to see: the rider who jumps the highest and gets his bike over the bar without knocking it off is the winner!
Commencing with the 2012 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship, an overall league table has now been introduced to give credit where credit is due to the most consistent performers in the MAXXIS Highest Air.
The winner on the night scores five points, the runner-up three and the third man on the podium one. The rider who has amassed the greatest number of points at the end of the series is crowned MAXXIS Highest Air World Champion and receives a specially designed TAG Heuer watch valued at over 2000 euros.
Right from the start of the new season, the NIGHT of the JUMPS freestyle motocross riders have been surpassing themselves in the MAXXIS Highest Air. At the opening event of the FIM Freestyle MX World Championships in Turin, newcomer Ivan Zucconi cleared the bar at eleven metres precisely to smash the existing world record set by Alastair Sayer in 2010, much to the delight of his home crowd. But that wasn’t to be the end of the matter, as the second day of the weekend bill turned out to be even more spectacular.
This time, Ivan Zucconi was up against another local favorite in the shape of Massimo Bianconcini. First, Zucconi cleared a height of 11.10 meters, but Bianconcini immediately hit back with an almost incredible new global benchmark of 11.50 metres. Overnight, Italy had a new sporting legend, and Massimo was rewarded with an invitation to the X Games.
Just two weeks later, the freestyle motocross elite assembled in Berlin for the two German Grands Prix. Bianconcini was to triumph in both, but not without being given a run for his money by Berliner Kai Haase. This was also the first MAXXIS Highest Air outing for 14-year-old Luc Ackermann who took a highly creditable third place on Day 2 with a jump of 6.50 meters.
The FMX circus then decamped to the Swiss city of Basel. On the first evening in the Sankt Jakobshalle, Bianco was in a class of his own. With a jump of seven metres precisely, he added five more points to his tally. Meanwhile, the two German riders Lukas Weis and Luc Ackermann were jousting for the runner-up spot.
Ultimately, though, both tied for second place on 6.80 metres. The second NIGHT of the JUMPS competition in Basel produced a sensational result for the thousands of spectators in the hall and the millions watching at home. On his last attempt, Luc Ackermann revved up his four-stroke KTM 350 and screwed it over the bar at an impressive eight metres. So the 14-year-old prodigy from Thuringia not only claimed his first winner’s trophy but even managed to see off the current world record holder. What an incredible showdown that was at the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship Swiss Grand Prix!
In the first outdoor event of the season in the Russian city of Togliatti, the riders were up against really tough conditions. Because of torrential rain, Day 1 had to be cancelled. The following evening, victory once again went to Bianconcini ahead of Lukas Weis. After seven rounds of the World Championship, Bianconcini now has five victories under his belt. The Italian thus tops the MAXXIS Highest Air table on 31 points and has established himself as the clear favourite for the title. In second place on ten points is Lukas Weis.
Not far behind are Luc Ackermann in third and Ivan Zucconi in fourth, both having scored nine points. If Bianconcini is to be caught in the second half of the season, the challenge for the title – and for the valuable TAG Heuer watch – will come from one of these three. So there will be no let-up in the excitement, and the fans can expect to see further outstanding performances (and maybe even a new world record) when the world’s top FMX riders reassemble after the long summer break in Guangzhou (China) on the weekend of 15th/16th September.
MAXXIS Highest Air 2012
1. Massimo Bianconcini ITA KTM 31 Points
2. Lukas Weis GER Suzuki 10 Points
3. Luc Ackermann GER KTM 9 Points
4. Ivan Zucconi ITA KTM 9 Points
5. Kai Haase GER Suzuki 6 Points
6. Libor Podmol CZE Yamaha 2 Points
8. Maikel Melero ESP KTM 1 Points
For further information and photos/videos, please visit NIGHToftheJUMPs.com.