X Games 18 – Results and Highlights
Everthing you need to know about X Games 2012, all in one spot!
Moto X Freestyle
Gold: Taka Higashino
Silver: Levi Sherwood
Bronze: Javier Villegas
Japanese rider Taka Higashino unveiled a never-before-seen “Backflip Rock Solid Double Grab” in the first hit of his first run in the Moto X Freestyle final, claiming his first Gold Medal at X Games. “It’s too exciting: It’s like a dream, it’s like it’s not true,” said Higashino, ecstatic after the final results were posted. Higashino posted a score of 93.33 for his first of two runs, which also featured a Kiss Of Death flip, a heel-clicker flip, and a massive no-handed Superman air to holy grab. The score held for first place, edging out New Zealand’s Levi Sherwood and Chilean rider Javier Villegas, whose bronze medal marks his X Games debut. Nate Adams, last year’s gold medalist, finished in fourth place after a tie-breaker decision that scored his and Villegas’ second runs as an average of all five judges’ scores, instead of the usual average of three scores, with the highest and lowest point-scores dropped out.
Moto X Best TrickGold: Jackson Strong Silver: Taka Higashino Bronze: Cameron SinclairJackson "Jacko" Strong has become the first Australian to win back-to-back gold medals in the X-Games Moto Best Trick category. Strong created history in 2011, when he landed the first ever front-flip in competition. Twelve months on and he has done it again, this time with his never before seen body varial "The Jack". Scoring 91.00 and taking his second consecutive gold medal, the 20 year old from Lockart NSW edged out Japan's Taka Higashino (90.33) and fellow Australian Cameron Sinclair (89.33). "It was great to finally roll out the new trick," Strong said. "It has been six months in the making and to be honest, it is quite a scary one to put down." Strong endured a rough lead-up to this weekend's X-Games 18, with his best mate Luke Stojanovic being seriously injured in a horrific practice crash. "I want to dedicate tonight's win to my best mate Luke Stojanovic who is in hospital back in Australia. I can't wait to get back to hang with you buddy." Taka Higashino's signature trick, the "Backflip Rock Solid Double Grab" secured him a spot on the X Games podium, along with Cam Sinclair throwing down a near perfect double flip.
Moto X Best WhipGold: Jeremy Stenberg Silver: Jarryd McNeil Bronze: Todd PotterJeremy "Twitch" Stenberg added yet another X Games Gold Medal to his collection. A six-minute jam session set the pace for the riders to throw down some innovative and technical whips. The fans voted for the winner (a very controversial system) seeing to it that Monster Energy's Jeremy Stenberg defended his title and took home the Gold. Jarryd McNeil and Todd Potter followed with silver and bronze, respectively.
Moto X Step UpGold: Ronnie Renner Silver: Matt Buyten Bronze: Brian DeeganThe annual duel between Ronnie Renner and Matt Buyten hit a new high during the Moto X Step Up, literally. The longtime rivals shattered the X Games record for height cleared, with Renner ultimately eclipsing a bar set 47 feet off the Staples Center dirt to win his third gold medal and unseat two-time defending champion Buyten. Renner's jump broke the record Buyten set at last year's X Games by 10 feet. The battle between Renner and Buyten brought thousands of spectators to their feet, but left the two veterans wincing in pain and limping away from the jump like wounded gladiators. That was especially true for Renner who suffered a wrist injury midway through the competition and was visibly distressed after each landing. "I wanted that worse than I've ever wanted it," said Renner, who last won in 2009. "I figured, hell, I've got four kids already, so... The wrist, that was kind of the killer." The unprecedented heights Buyten and Renner cleared later in the event bottomed out their shocks and snapped their heads forward with each impact. It almost became painful to watch. But owing to their rivalry, neither wanted to give in. As for how the record height has skyrocketed from 35 feet two years ago to 47 feet this year, Buyten credited an improvised course and stronger machines. "Every year the bikes just get stronger and more powerful, and the X Games crew built a huge lip that lets us do what we can do," he said. "It's awesome."
Moto X Speed And StyleGold: Mike Mason Silver: Nate AdamsMike Mason worked hard to take home his first X Games gold medal, beating one of the most successful Moto X competitors in history to get it. Mason, who'd come up just short in his previous six X Games appearances, edged Nate Adams in a rematch of last year's Speed and Style final Saturday night at the Staples Center. He used his racing background to cross the finish line 2.8 seconds ahead of Adams and overcome a 1.33-point lead Adams had built on the jumps. "It was perfect," Mason said. "I wanted to go up against Nate again and try and win it. You want to have the hardest guy in there." Mason grabbed the holeshot down the ramp and gradually built his lead throughout the four-lap race, sticking his tricks in the process. When he landed a huge Holy Grab and Adams missed his no-handed backflip off the final jump, the gold was all but his. He won 92.8 to 91.33.
Moto X Enduro - MenGold: Mike Brown Silver: Cody Webb Bronze: Cory GraffunderMike Brown took home the gold in the in Men's Enduro X ahead of a field of seasoned competitors, with Cody Webb following in second while Cory Graffunder secured the bronze. Brown made it through the first heat of qualifying in second behind 2011 Enduro X winner Taddy Blazusiak and Webb took first in Heat 2. Graffunder came through in the last chance qualifier to make the final. Blazusiak was unable to make the podium this year, coming in behind Graffunder in fourth. Brown took the holeshot and never let up the lead through the entire contest. In 2011, Brown took silver in the first ever Enduro X event and was gratified to return and capture the win. "To come back from to the silver to the gold is great. That was my goal this year," Brown said. "All day long I was riding good and I had good times, and I knew if I got a good start it would help me win the gold."
Moto X Enduro - WomenGold: Maria Forsberg Silver: Louise Forsley Bronze: Chantelle BykerkMaria Forsberg took her second consecutive gold medal in Moto X Women's Enduro X. Forsberg won the inaugural Women's Enduro X event in 2011 and came back dedicated to defending her title. Louise Forsley came closest to breaking Forsberg's reign in the event, earning the silver medal and Chantelle Bykerk rounded out the podium with the bronze. Lexi Pechout missed out on a medal in fourth and Kacy Martinez, the bronze medalist in 2011, rounded out the top five. "This race was way harder this year. The girls are faster, more consistent and have gone home and done their homework which made for a good race, I'm pumped to be here," said Forsberg.
Moto X Racing – Women
Gold: Vicki Golden
Silver: Tarah Gieger
Bronze: Livia Lancelot
Women’s Moto X Racing fans experienced dejavu, with the podium winners, Vicki Golden, Tarah Geiger and Livia Lancelot, being exactly the same as in 2011. This year’s win marked a return to form for Golden, who broke her collarbone earlier this year and had been missing in action for much of this year’s AMA Arenacross series. “It means a great deal,” Golden said after the competition “When I broke my collarbone before the Arenacross, it really put the fear in me, and I just couldn’t get back. I struggled all year, and I finally started to get to where I felt comfortable again during the end of AMA Arenacross.” Golden took the holeshot from the start and led the entire race, leading Geiger by more than seven seconds as she threw a massive whip across the finish line. It was an emotional win for Golden, who dedicated her gold medal to The Seth Foundation, a teenage heroin advocacy group, in honor of her childhood friend Seth Nothcutt, who died of a heroin overdose in May 2010. “I want to dedicate this win to him because we grew up together and for something like that to happen to him… I can’t imagine,” Golden said, tearing up after her win. “He’s watching me up there and he’s been racing with me.”