Linz NIGHT of the JUMPs Freestyle Motocross
A double bill of FMX at Linz reached its climax on Saturday night as the Tips Arena hosted a second exemplary display of extreme sport by the 12-strong field of freestyle motocross stars. And taking his first win in the Freestyle MX Championship was the Czech rider Petr Pilat. But it wasn’t a runaway victory.
First off the blocks was Hannes Ackermann, who has fond memories of a previous podium finish at this same venue in 2013. After botching his run on Friday, the German staged a great comeback, showcasing his full repertoire of tricks. But the inherent disadvantage of leading off was once again a factor as he missed out on the final.
Melero made up for his failure on Day One, when he omitted a trick, by going through in the Top Six. This time, the run went to plan, and the world champion qualified in third place.
Luc Ackermann, the youngest contestant on the night, also made the cut. However, this was only after the 17-year-old first pulled out of his Cordova Flip and then managed it at the second attempt with time almost running out. In the final, he surprised and delighted the judges and fans with the first Nac 360 ever performed by German FMX rider, but in such a high calibre field, it was still only enough for fifth place overall.
Someone else pulling off a trick premiere was Petr Pilat with a Dead Body Flip, the first time this jump has featured on a NIGHT of the JUMPs track. With his sequence of flips and triple combos, the Czech claimed pole position, from which neither reigning world champion Maikel Melero nor former world champions David Rinaldo and Remi Bizouard would be able to dislodge him. Rinaldo straight-aired a Dead Sailor on his first jump of the final and then played safety first for the rest of the run.
Melero executed a perfect Doublegrab Flip to thrill the Austrian spectators, but still fell short of victory by a narrow three-point margin. Bizouard came even closer to ousting Pilat from the hot seat with his usual bag of tricks and assured delivery. In fact, the two of them tied on points, but Petr Pilat deservedly prevailed by virtue of the scratch score. So it was that the Czech rider celebrated his maiden NIGHT of the JUMPs triumph.
In the LifeProof Best Whip contest, US pinup James Carter made it a double by securing his second trophy of the weekend. For the first time in the history of NIGHT of the JUMPs, one of the judges also competed in a sideshow. Massimo Bianconcini – in full racing gear – raised his score card then ran from the judges’ tribune to jump on his bike ready for both the Best Whip and the Maxxis Highest Air. In Saturday’s high jump competition, the Italian picked up the Maxxis Cup.
Victory in the freestyle contest puts Pilat on level pegging with competition leader Bizouard in the Freestyle MX European Championship. Both have 36 points. The next two rounds of this series will be contested in one week’s time at NIGHT of the JUMPs in the Graz Stadthalle (January 24-25).
Linz NIGHT of the JUMPs Round 2 Results:
1. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 379 Points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki 379 Points
3. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 376 Points
4. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 339 Points
5. Luc Ackermann GER DMSB Husqvarna 334 Points
6. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 314 Points
1. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 355 Points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki 345 Points
3. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 341 Points
4. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 338 Points
5. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 308 Points
6. Luc Ackermann GER DMSB Husqvarna 308 Points
7. James Carter USA AMA Honda 306 Points
8. Hannes Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 301 Points
9. David Rossi ITA PZM KTM 289 Points
10. Leonardo Fini ITA PZM KTM 261 Points
11. Steve Sommerfeld AUS PZM KTM 257 Points
12. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 253 Points
Results Lifeproof Best Whip Contest:
1. James Carter USA AMA Honda
2. David Rossi ITA PZM KTM
1. Massimo Bianconcini ITA PZM KTM 8,50 Meter
2. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 8,00 Meter
3. Marc Puniol ESP RFME KTM 7,50 Meter
Freestyle MX European Championships Ranking (after 2nd contest):
1. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki 36 Points
2. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 36 Points
3. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 34 Points
4. Luc Ackermann GER DMSB Husqvarna 26 Points
5. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 25 Points
6. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 20 Points
5. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 17 Points
8. James Carter USA AMA Honda 17 Points
9. Leonardo Fini ITA PZM KTM 14 Points
10. Hannes Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 12 Points
11. Steve Sommerfeld AUS PZM KTM 11 Points
12. David Rossi ITA PZM KTM 6 Points