X Games Los Angeles 2012 Primer

X Games Los Angeles 2012 Primer

-Cory Stem

Wow hard to believe it’s been a year (okay 11 months) since X Games has happened but it’s right on us again in just 10 days!  There is tons of news and gossip that has been forming as usual, like Shaun White not coming out for Skate this year which surely disappointed many teen age girls.  But we like to concentrate on the moto here so let’s do just that and take a look who is on tap to put it all on the line for some metal medals!

Alright, before we do, I had to talk about something that caught my eye as soon as I opened up the X Games site while researching this story- The Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare. Undoubtedly, if you are the kind of person reading this you owned Hot Wheels cars toys when you were a kid, and someone in your pre-teen posse always had the bad ass track that launched cars into the most fragile or expensive item in your parents’ house (by accident of course).  Take that to full size and you get some crazy stuff going on like a double loop featuring real cars, with real people in those cars.  The loops are over sixty feet tall so there is no room for error here and I am calling this the stunt of the year already.  Drivers are Tanner Foust, more known for sideways antics than upside down and stunt man Greg Tracy. 

Now we move into moto and quickly break down who is coming and what they are doing.

Best Trick:  Every year this category gets lots of attention and it should. The Back Flip, then Double, then Front Flips were all pretty much debuted to the world here as well as a host of other tricks over the years that worked their way in to everyday runs.  2011 had a three rider Oz-Fest taking the podium with Jacko Strong (Front Flip), Cam Sinclair (Double Back with Variation) and Josh Sheehan with a standard (?) Double Back.  All but Sheehan reappear this year but I have my eye on another Australian- Clinton Moore and his 720.  I’ve seen it to foam, and have it on good word that dirt is going to happen pretty easy.  I’ll call it a winner if he lands it just because it looks like it really shouldn’t happen on a 240 pound machine.  Taka Higashino apparently is working on something upside down and the Mulisha Ninja can’t be counted out as I really think that the judges are going to put a premium on smoother landings this year. Thomas Pages is a real wild card- he isn’t known to flip- but is known to throw out some crazy stuff like Flat Spin 360’s and Body Varials.  No Namer of the Year is Bruce Cook from Canada.  I have heard of about 47 different tricks he supposedly is doing, so I won’t add to it but will say that X always seems to check off the Carnage box and puts in someone who gets the crowd wondering.  Hope it’s cool Cook and hope it doesn’t hurt you.

Best Whip: In what is probably the most polarizing event talked about after the fact by FMX riders and aficionados, Whip (I want everyone to say it like Stewie on Family Guy this year with emphasis on the H) has the usual revenue producers/fan faves like Todd Potter and Jeremy Stenberg who finished second and first last year along with Jarryd McNeil who took the final medal.  Neat additions this year getting some buzz are MX’er Billy Laninovich who can crank it pretty damn good and the Godfather Mike Metzger.  The last whips I saw from Metz live were at one of our shows last year.  He was riding a pretty beat KTM and hitting the ramp set at 75 feet tapped out in second like it was a free ride hit. He was even coming at the ramp at a 30 degree angle-pretty scary/neat/fun to watch and I look for Metz to add a little excitement and push everyone else to beat his style.  This event gets banged on pretty hard for being “Fan-Boy” text vote, so I suggest everyone do what I do: Hang with your FMX buddies and pick your own winner while just enjoying the sights, then vote for the worst whips to even out the scores some.

Speed and Style: Blending moto with FMX got tougher for a few years as it was hard to find riders who could do both well, but as FMX gained popularity the MX crowd got better at it and more FMX riders spent some time with their roots so now it’s easier to get a talented group to watch.  Last year it was all FMX on the podium with Nate Adams and Mike Mason taking the top two spots ahead of a freshly healed Ronnie Faisst.  This one is always too hard to call ahead of time due to the variables involved.  Interesting entry-Edgar Torronteras who has a mean old whip and might sneak into that contest too.

Step Up:  I am totally biased on this one every year. Why?  Because my good friend and regular on the Monster Energy FreestyleMX.com tour, Matt Buyten is in it, and usually wins it.  As the rider with the most Gold in Step Up at X Games (SEVEN!) he is always the guy to beat and this year he does it for Step Up for Autism (www.stepupforautism.com) so that makes him even cooler!  Ronnie Renner is in it again this year and seems to always be the one pushing Matt to the limit which was 37 feet last year, a world record!  Now apparently a new kid in coming from Italy named Massimo Bianconcini (If Matt is Buy-10, then this kid is B-12 now) who jumped 37 feet and about 7 inches at a Night of the Jumps event in March of this year.  The run in on the one You Tube video I could find (http://youtu.be/M_jELVzxAmU) looks a couple feet longer, but who knows.  I say it’s not a record if it doesn’t happen at X.  Should be a good one.

Freestyle Moto:  Very cool this year I think. I am really excited and happy to see Javier Villegas make it in and the return of super talents like Levi Sherwood, Andre Villa, Bilko and Taka.  Of course heavy favorites are Nate Adams looking to repeat Gold, Adam Jones who wants to trade Silver for Gold and Dany Torres who got Bronze last year. Wonder if his little mini feud with Todd Potter will fire him up or cause a flame out?  Expect some big things this year though as a few of these guys have been pretty quiet the last few months. The course is pretty basic, and that means it’s much easier to learn allowing the riders to safely concentrate on TV ratings gathering “bangers”.

Well that’s what I think and know right now- scan the watch times right here and keep coming back to Freestylemx.com to read Manny’s take on what’s happening.  I am going to be really busy through X so I will let him (I am a little scared) give his take on what is going down at X this year while it happens. If he behaves a little, I might even let him throw out updates on our Facebook too (Freestylemx.com if you don’t already know!)

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