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Event Coverage [Event Archive]


Javier Villegas heading for FMX world title
Story and pictures by Oliver Franke/IFMXF.com

Riga, 22nd October 2011: Freestyle motocross fans have been suffering withdrawal symptoms for the past four months, waiting for the resumption of NIGHT of the JUMPs. Yesterday (Saturday), the summer break finally came to an end as the FMX elite assembled for the eighth round of the 2011 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship in Riga. World championship leader Javier Villegas (CHL) made the best possible start to the second half of the season, firmly putting Remi Bizouard (FRA) and Josh Sheehan (AUS) in their place.

A total of 14 freestyle motocross riders from eight countries lined up for the qualifying stage – but only after Latvian Martins Alexandrovics had laid on a one-man show and whipped up the frenzy with the first backflip of the evening.

Then it was the turn of the professionals. The two Russian riders Nikolay Ivankov and Aleksey Koleshnikov had big ambitions for the evening, but had to content themselves with the last two places. In the ‘Best of the Germans’ stakes, Hannes Ackermann edged out Fabian Bauersachs, but this duo was also destined for an early exit. Last year’s runner-up Brice Izzo staged his long-awaited comeback after a long injury, but it was obvious that he still needs some time to regain his previous form.


Petr Pilat - Picture Credit Oliver Franke

But perhaps the biggest surprise of all was to see reigning champion Libor Podmol go out in qualifying. Massimo Bianconcini and David Rinaldo were also eliminated, so the top six going through to the final were: Petr Pilat (CZE), Jose Miralles (ESP), Maikel Melero (ESP), Javier Villegas, Remi Bizouard and Josh Sheehan.

In the Whip contest, local hero Alexandrovics got as far as the semi-finals, but then had to concede defeat to Bianconcini, who in turn lost out to Josh Sheehan. It’s been a long time since Libor Podmol has competed in a Maxxis Highest Air contest, but he won this one fairly easily.


Libor Podmol - Picture Credit Oliver Franke

The final of the Baltic Grand Prix sprung some further surprises. For example, Red Bull rider Petr Pilat was in impressive form, surpassing the two Spaniards Maikel Melero and Jose Miralles with a sequence of new tricks such as his One-hand Takeoff Backflip and Tsunami Flip to claim the hot seat. But his short tenure lasted only until world championship leader Javier Villegas performed a run of Nac Underflip, Tsunami Flip and a couple of other daredevil tricks.


Josh Sheehan - Picture Credit Oliver Franke

Remi Bizouard pulled out all the stops on his final run, rattling off Ruler Flip, Cliffhanger Flip, Switchblade Flip, Ruler Tsunami and more. But the panel aroused the ire of the Frenchman by judging Villegas superior.

So the only obstacle to a Chilean victory was now Josh Sheehan. However, the Australian FMX wunderkind was struggling with an injured shoulder and consequently had to leave the trademark Heelclicker 360 out of his routine on the night, finishing in third place behind Bizouard.


Javier Villegas - Picture Credit Oliver Franke

This victory in Riga further extends Javier Villegas’s lead in the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship. Sitting pretty on 138 points, he has a comfortable 23-point cushion over his closest pursuer Remi Bizouard (115 points).


Remi Bizouard, Javier Villegas and Josh Sheehan - Picture Credit Oliver Franke

The riders now have four weeks to work on other tricks. On 19th November, they will all meet again for the ninth round of the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship at NIGHT of the JUMPs in the Czech city of Ostrava. Riga is also a fixture on next year’s world championship calendar and will be hosting the FMX riders on 20th October 2012.

Statistics: NIGHT of the JUMPs – FIM Freestyle MX World Championships
Riga, 22nd October 2011 – Round 8

Results: NIGHT of the JUMPs – Final

1. Javier Villegas CHL AMA Yamaha 379 points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Honda 378 points
3. Josh Sheehan AUS MA Honda 376 points
4. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 364 points
5. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 364 points
6. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 346 points

Results: Qualification

1. Josh Sheehan AUS MA Honda 351 points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Honda 343 points
3. Javier Villegas CHL AMA Yamaha 343 points
4. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 334 points
5. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 332 points
6. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 331 points
7. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 322 points
8. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Suzuki 319 points
9. Massimo Bianconcini ITA DMSB KTM 311 points
10. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 296 points
11. Hannes Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 286 points
12. Fabian Bauersachs GER DMSB KTM 282 points
13. Nikolay Ivankov RUS MFR Honda 232 points
14. Aleksey Koleshnikov RUS MFR Yamaha 220 points

Results: Whip Contest
1. Josh Sheehan AUS MA Honda
2. Massimo Bianconcini ITA DMSB KTM

Results MAXXIS Highest Air
1. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Suzuki 8.40 metres
2. Massimo Bianconcini ITA DMSB KTM 8.10 metres

FIM Freestyle MX World Championships
Ranking (after 8th contest)

1. Javier Villegas CHL AMA Yamaha 138 points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Yamaha 115 points
3. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 112 points
4. Josh Sheehan AUS MA Honda 96 points
5. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 96 points
6. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Suzuki 89 points
7. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 85 points
8. Fabian Bauersachs GER DMSB KTM 61 points
9. Romain Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 52 points
10. Massimo Bianconcini ITAL ACCR KTM 43 points
11. Hannes Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 40 points
12. Lukas Weis GER DMSB Suzuki 36 points
13. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 31 points
14. Kai Haase GER DMSB Suzuki 10 points
15. Nikolay Ivankov RUS MFR Honda 10 points


 




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