Ryan Decenzo takes Game of SK8 gold
Red Bull pro Ryan Decenzo made it back-to-back gold medals in Game of SK8. Decenzo unleashed a barrage of switch rail tricks on his way to another X Games triumph.
“I’m feeling stoked. I’m really glad that I was able to do those switch rail tricks that I had in mind because I knew the other competitors don’t really skate that way so much.”
The challenge in Game of SK8 is to match the tricks pulled off by the other competitors until there’s one man left standing. This year’s event came down to Decenzo and Ishod Wair engaged in some fierce sparring to take top spot.
“Ishod had me in hot water at the end for a minute. He did a backside nosepick on the quarterpipe and I thought to myself “I know how to do this but I’m sure I’m not going to land it now”. But then I was up there and I was into it pretty good and I had to land it. I was pretty cool.”
Then Wair missed a front shove down the steps before Decenzo nailed a switch smith down the rail to seal the victory.
Tarah Gieger claims her third X Games silver
Six of the top female bikers in the world squared off inside the Staples Center for the X Games Moto X Women’s racing competition. Red Bull’s Tarah Gieger had her sights set on coming out on top after the 10-lap final race.
Tarah knew before the race that the girl to beat was last year’s gold medal winner Vicki Golden. Tarah pushed her TLD Honda all the way to the finish line but couldn’t do enough to prevent Vicki from becoming the Golden girl once again.
“Vicki kills it on these tight arenacross-style tracks, so the result was honestly no surprise. The track was tight and really tough to pass on, just like last year. When Vicki got out in front early I knew it would be tough to reel her in.”
Taddy’s team-mate claims Moto X Enduro X gold
Lightening did not strike twice for Taddy Blazusiak at X Games as the Polish EnduroCross star missed out a second consecutive gold medal in LA. Taddy struggled out of the gate during the final race of Men's Moto X Enduro X event and then suffered a fall at the chopped wood pit feature on the course.
Taddy ended the race fourth with the gold medal going to his team-mate, 40-year-old Mike Brown. Cody Webb and Cory Graffunder also finished on the podium after racing over logs, water, tires and rock piles.
Mike was over the moon after proving that there’s still plenty of life in the old dog.
“To win a gold medal at my age? It get harder every year. The track got tough but it’s kinda Supercrossy so it fitted my style.”
X GAMES 18: LEVI LAVALLEE HAS NO LIMITS
Pedro Barros blows away the competition at the Skateboard Park final
Pedro Barros was all smiles as he claimed his second X Games gold medal on Saturday. The Brazilian skater held off some strong competition from Ben Hatchell and Rune Gilfberg in the Skateboard Park final to claim the top prize.
“It was just an amazing finals and to get the score on the last run, I was psyched. It was crazy because Ben got a crazy-good score right at the start of it and he was killing it. I was just trying to work something out to use the whole park, try different lines and make it look like I was riding a bowl. I made it work in the end."
Pedro won silver at the same event last year but some ultra-impressive skating in recent months had made him a prime candidate to claim another gold medal. In the build-up to X-Games 18 Pedro had picked up wins in the States, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. The only concern he had before coming to LA was an injury to his knee.
“I got to the final and it was hurting a lot and I was just like, “I’m going to skate as hard as I can and try to deal with the pain”. It was gnarly. Everyone was skating so good. Glifberg was skating the bowl like it was butter, and Hatchell was out there with his super tech tricks. It was just an amazing final and to be able to get the win feels amazing.”
RallyCross driver transforms X Games into Toy Town
Rally driver Tanner Foust and Hollywood stuntman Greg Tracy smashed a world record at X Games on Saturday. The duo drove two all-wheel-drive rally cars through a 66-foot tall Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare track at X Games 18.
Greg Tracy has pulled off some wild tricks as part of his job as a stuntman but driving upside-down through the loop was career highlight.
“It was unbelievable. I tell you what, I’m lost for words. That was absolutely the coolest thing I’ve ever done. It was a real handful trying to land it and get the car to slow down.”
The track itself measured two football fields in length and was a faithful replica of Mattel’s Hot Wheels Double Dare Snare toy racetrack. Rally Driver Tanner Foust realised playtime was over when he hopped inside his car.
“The moment when it’s go time the heart rate slows down, the adrenaline goes away and it’s a matter of letting it happen. Then the 7Gs hit me and I felt my chin hit my lap. When I was in the loop the whole thing just felt unreal.”
Foust is already a three-time X Games gold medallist and will be out to pick up another glittering prize in Sunday’s RallyCross final.
Gronholm injured in crash
RallyCross driver Marcus Gronholm, of Finland, was taken to hospital on Saturday after crashing in practice at the X Games in Los Angeles.
The 2012 Global RallyCross tour leader and former World Rally Champion was unconscious but breathing after crashing into the base of a light post following a jump. He was later said to be awake and alert in hospital.
On Friday another Finnish driver, Toomas Heikkinen, broke his ankle after crashing at the jump in practice.
Another golden year for Garrett
Things got tense in the final of X Games BMX Street on Friday with Red Bull-backed Garrett Reynolds coming under pressure from rookie Chad Kerley. Garrett had dominated the event since it was introduced to X Games five years ago, winning every available gold medal so far…
With pressure piling on Garrett pulled out the highest score of the final on his very last run. After Garrett saw he had done enough to clinch his fifth X Games gold medal he collapsed under his bike on the concrete.
“Chad Kerley killed it out there. If it was up to me I would’ve given the gold medal to him.”
Garrett’s score of 43 points on his final run saw him beat Kerley by just two points on the leaderboard. Garrett won his first X Games gold at 17-years-old and was clearly impressed with Kerley who had graduated from high school days before X Games.
The key trick to Garrett getting his hands on gold was the all-or-nothing wallride 540 barspin on his final run. Garrett was the only biker to land this trick during the finals.
Renner steps up
Ronnie Renner and Matt Buyten took their annual battle for top dog in the MotoX Step-up to new heights on Friday as the riders shattered the X Games record as Renner ultimately set the bar at a new high of 47 feet and claim his third gold medal.
The tit-for-tat contest saw a field of riders besting each other's jumps 11 times before Renner eventually set a new record at 47 feet – beating the one set by Buyten at last year's X Games by a whole 10 feet.
While it brought fans to their feet in the Staples Center in LA, it left the riders on their knees as Renner and Buyten limped away Renner nursing a wrist injury he picked up halfway through the competition.
"I wanted that worse than I've ever wanted it," said Renner, who was last a winner here in 2009. "I figured, hell, I've got four kids already, so... The wrist, that was kind of the killer."
"I looked around at one point, and the entire Staples Center was standing," Buyten said. "It really made me appreciate why I do this. I may have lost this battle, but it was an awesome fight. We've got a hell of a rivalry going. I got the last two years, Renner got this one."
FMX medals for Red Bull X-Fighters
Japanese biker Taka Higashino rocked the Staples Centre on Thursday night on his first run in the Moto X Freestyle final. Higashino landed a never-seen-before trick – a backflip Rock Solid double grab.
Higashino's opening statement was backed-up with yet more impressive stunts that eventually saw him become the first Japanese winner of an X Games gold medal.
“It’s too exciting, more like a dream than reality. To win here has always been my dream. I’ve been working hard every day for five years working on this X Games dream. It was all about that Rock Solid for me. After landing that I don’t even remember anything else from my run.”
Higashino racked up a score of 93.33 for his first two runs as he performed trick after trick. He followed up his backflip Rock Solid double grab with a Kiss of Death flip, a heel-clicker flip and a massive no handed Superman Air to holy grab.
Red Bull X-Fighters star Levi Sherwood took the Moto X Freestyle silver medal while Chilean Javier Villegas took home bronze. Villegas admitted that his third place finish had smashed his pre-competition expectations.
“I was just happy to be selected to compete here where they only take the top 10 riders in the world. To end up with a medal is fantastic. It was the best run I could put together on this amazing course. I cleared my head and it was just the ramp, the bike and me. I managed to empty the stadium in my head but when I landed my last trick I saw the stadium full again.”
While Higashino made history with his backflip Rock Solid double grab in the Moto X Freestyle final there was also another first in Thursday’s Big Air elimination round.
Revolutions in the Big Air
15-year-old Mitchie Brusco landed a 900 and became the youngest skater to land a two-and-a-half midair revolution trick at the X Games.
“That was just the second time I had tried to land the trick this week. I kept putting it off and putting it off until finally I figured I just had to go for it.”
It was only a matter of minutes until Mitchie’s record was broken by 12-year-old Tom Schaar. The young talent from Malibu then pulled off another 900 before setting his sights on landing a 1080. Tom became the first skater to land a 1080 in competition when he nailed the trick at X Games Asia earlier this year.
Mitchie and Tom will once again do battle at Friday’s Big Air finals. Red Bull will be there again to bring you even more X Games history in the making.