In an exciting and chaotic Men’s EnduroX final at Munich’s Olympic Stadium, American Taylor Robert won out from Alfredo Gomez and Taddy Blazusiak to claim X Games gold.
Behind the podium finishers came the 2013 Red Bull Hare Scramble winner Graham Jarvis and X Games Barcelona gold medallist Mike Brown, who finished fifth.
On a tricky, slick course, made that way by yesterday’s heavy rainfall that caused the event to be postponed until this afternoon, it was Brown who initially had the advantage, grabbing the hole shot when the gate dropped.
But on the rock/log section that had already ruined a lot of people’s afternoons in the heat races leading up to the final, Brown faltered and allowed Robert to move into the lead.
Taddy Blazusiak, coming back from a big crash at last month’s X Games Barcelona, also struggled over the section on lap one, falling off the bike and sliding down the side of the obstacle. Blazusiak remounted and set off in chase of the leaders.
By lap two, Robert was leading Brown and 2012 Red Bull Hare Scramble winner Jonny Walker, but the rock/log section struck again as Walker fell, allowing Jarvis’ Husaberg team-mate Gomez to move up into third. Gomez gained another place when Brown fell in – you guessed it – the rock/log section, with Jarvis and Blazusiak also pushing past as the pair fought for third.
It was a fight that Blazusiak would eventually win, with Jarvis dropping back from the Polish rider as Robert continued to lead out at the front.
With one lap left to run, the crowd was on its feet as Robert dropped his bike with Gomez closing in fast behind him. But Robert was able to remount before the Spaniard passed him and held on to claim the win.
“We had all the biggest guys here, the best extreme enduro riders in the world,” said Robert after the podium ceremony. “I felt good here and this was the hardest Endurocross we’ve ever had, so it felt awesome.”
Commenting on the infamous rock/log section, Robert said: “It was bad! It was all wet and muddy and those rocks were slippery, they didn’t have any grip to them. So it was a battle all the way around!”
After taking the bronze medal Blazusiak, who had finished fourth at X Games Barcelona despite his crash which ruled him out of this year’s Erzbergrodeo, looked pleased to be back on form, if not on the top step of the podium.
“I made a big mistake on the first lap, I was top three and I went down,” he said. “I restarted, worked my way through and got back to the podium, which is good and which I’m happy with.”
In the Women’s event, Maria Forsberg finally ended Laia Sanz’s dominant run of X Games gold medals this summer, with the KTM rider comfortably winning ahead of the Spanish pair of Sanz and Sandra Gomez Cantero.
Forsberg nearly sacrificed her victory on the final lap when she dropped her bike going through the rock section while trying to lap Kacy Martinez. But Sanz, who didn’t look to have the form that she’s shown at the previous two events of this year’s X Games Summer Tour, dropped her own Honda in the same section, allowing Forsberg to take a comfortable win.
"It's cool to get the win here in the Olympic Stadium on the toughest course we've had yet,” said Forsberg of her victory. “You've just got to stay mentally strong and you can't let a little crash or hang up get to you,"