The FMX elite assembled in Arena Riga for the penultimate contest of the 2012 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship on Saturday.
On this occasion, NIGHT of the JUMPS could justifiably have been rebranded as NIGHT of the COMEBACKS, with the trio of Josh Sheehan (Australia), Javier Villegas (Chile) and Maikel Melero (Spain) making their return to World Championship competition after a long absence.
For Sheehan and Villegas, the qualification stage went pretty much to plan, with both of them going through in second and third positions on equal points. David Rinaldo also matched their score to qualify for the final. Libor Podmol, who had to get past the preliminary stage if he was to keep alive his slender hopes of taking the title, duly progressed on the basis of his Indyflip combos.
Joining the above in sixth place was Hannes Ackermann after performing the most extreme Tsunami Flip of the season. But once again dominating proceedings was Remi Bizouard who, not content to play it safe, went into all-out attack mode.
Birthday boy Massimo Bianconcini may have finished last in the evening’s freestyle competition but had the immense satisfaction of prevailing in the Maxxis Highest Air Contest, his tenth triumph of the season in this classification. Petr Pilat, Maikel Melero and Brice Izzo will have been disappointed to go out early despite putting in some strong runs that included a 360 Over Kicker (Pilat), Clicker Underflip (Izzo) and Superman Seatgrab Flip (Melero). Having gallantly turned up in Riga with a broken shoulder, Jose Miralles still managed a creditable tenth.
The finale promised to be the championship showdown of all time between Podmol and Bizouard. Libor pulled out all the Indyflip combos imaginable and succeeded in displacing Hannes Ackermann from the hot seat, despite the German showing off his new Saranwrap to Nac Flip. The Czech rider did not hold onto the lead for long, however, as David Rinaldo pulled a Lazyflip and Double Seatgrab Backflip to move ahead on the night. The Frenchman stayed on top after Sheehan took a tumble on his penultimate trick to finish in sixth.
The event win finally came down to a battle between last year’s world championship rivals Villegas and Bizouard. The Chilean had to dig deep into his repertoire of tricks to fend off Bizouard. In the double-up, he pulled off a Cordova to Superflip which put him ahead. Bizouard replied with Rulerflip, Cliffhanger Flip and Hart Attack Flip. Ultimately, the judges ruled Villegas the winner by a single-point margin – a great way to mark your comeback to the world championship arena. At the same time, mild disappointment for Bizouard, but much easier to swallow than at this stage last year, the runner-up spot sufficing to secure the 2012 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship title for the Frenchman ahead of time. This makes him FMX World Champion for the third time.
The last points up for grabs in the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship will be awarded at the grand finale of the NIGHT of the JUMPs in Sofia on 15th December. And even if the world champion is already wearing the crown, the lesser prizes will still be hotly contested.
FIM Freestyle MX World Championships Riga, Oct. 27 – Round 11
Results NIGHT of the JUMPs – Final
1. Javier Villegas CHL FMC Yamaha 387 Points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA RFME Honda 386 Points
3. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 362 Points
4. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Yamaha 348 Points
5. Hannes Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 321 Points
6. Josh Sheehan AUS MA Honda 264 Points
1. Remi Bizouard FRA RFME Honda 326 Points
2. Javier Villegas CHL FMC Yamaha 318 Points
3. Josh Sheehan AUS MA Honda 318 Points
4. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 318 Points
5. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Yamaha 310 Points
6. Hannes Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 305 Points
7. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 288 Points
8. Maikel Melero ESP RFME KTM 286 Points
9. Brice Izzo RA FFM Yamaha 278 Points
10. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 255 Points
11. Massimo Bianconcini ITA PZM KTM 252 Points
Results Whip Contest
1. Josh Sheehan AUS MA Honda
2. Massimo Bianconcini ITA PZM KTM
3. Javier Villegas CHL FMC Yamaha
Results MAXXIS Highest Air
1. Massimo Bianconcini ITA 7,50 Meter
2. Maikel Melero ESP 7,00 Meter
FIM Freestyle MX World Championships Ranking (after 11th contest)
1. Remi Bizouard FRA RFME Honda 192 Points
2. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Yamaha 172 Points
3. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 138 Points
4. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 131 Points
5. Hannes Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 95 Points
6. Maikel Melero ESP RFME KTM 80 Points
7. Massimo Bianconcini ITAL PZM KTM 77 Points
8. Javier Villegas CHL FMC Yamaha 67 Points
9. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 54 Points
10. Lukas Weis GER DMSB Suzuki 38 Points
11. Ivan Zucconi ITA PZM KTM 37 Points
12. Clinton Moore AUS MA Yamaha 34 Points
13. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 33 Points
14. Martin Koren CZE ACCR KTM 29 Points
15. Aleksey Koleshnikov RUS MFR Yamaha 27 Points