HIGH DRAMA AT THE RED BULL X-FIGHTERS
The show master of freestyle motocross triumphed in the first appearance at the Red Bull X-Fighters in the biggest bullfighting arena worldwide: Plaza México, Mexico City! Ronnie Renner wowed the jury and 42,000 fans!
Fastened to a tall concrete wall surrounding the perimeter of Mexico City's Monumental Plaza México are two massive bronze plaques. On these plaques are the names of 117 matadors. In embossed letters, these men are forever immortalized for claiming the tail of the bulls that they killed: The ultimate honour for a bullfighter, the tail is rewarded for showing great poise, skill, dignity and bravery while in the ring.
The sold out arena with 42.000 spectators
While the bullfighting has been going on 2000 B.C., for the first time ever, daring young men and their flying 215-pound, 250cc, 50-horsepower flying machines took to the sand of the Plaza México as part of the Red Bull X-Fighters freestyle motocross show. And while the nine world-class freestyle MX riders were not in Mexico City to try and become the 118th name on the Monumental wall, all of them were there to leave a lasting impression on the crowd. For only the second time in history of the world's biggest bullfighting stadium, the Red Bull X-Fighters drew a sell-out crowd, all of whom had come to see the planet's best freestyle performers take to the steep metal ramps and dirt jumps crowding the 40-degree, perfect circle bullfight ring.
The riders chilling before the storm!
The Plaza México hosted well over 42,000 fans, all of who looked down from their seats to watch the most competitive FMX event since last summer's X Games in Los Angeles. When all was said and done, it was Ronnie Renner winning the hearts of the five man judging panel, as well as the waves of humanity which were left so spellbound throughout the entire affair that stories of it will likely be passed down for generations. After making it out of the first round, as well as through the semi, Renner was able to get the better of Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg and Kenny "The Cowboy" Bartram in the three-man final.
Ailo Gaup with a nice Cracknac during the training session.
"This is the raddest day of my life right here, man," said Renner, taking a quick breather from signing seat cushions, T-shirts, magazines and programs. "To have this many people here... Man, I was born to do this; I love to do this; the competition -was unreal. And the crowd... I was having so much fun and they were so good to me, that I didn't want to get off the big dirt jump."
Jeremy Stenberg doing a nice whipped out Backflip
Placing second - just 0.2 of a point behind Renner's winning score of 94.6 - was Stenberg: "I'm so stoked to be here, I'm just pissed I didn't win," he lamented, standing in a tunnel deep beneath the bullring. "I just wanted the god damn first place trophy."
Third overall went to Bartram. After pulling the highest score in the opening nine man heat with a 92.6, the Oklahoman looked to be the man to beat in Mexico City: "No rider is ever okay with third, but I definitely had some mistakes that cost me. Everybody rode really clean here. I think it was tough on the judges.
Nick Franklin doing an extended Cliffhanger
To many on hand, the Red Bull X-Fighters just may go down as the greatest freestyle motocross contest ever. The whips performed by Ronnie Renner, as well as those of Stenberg, defied physics. Moreover, so common was the back flip throughout the contest, that the variations the riders called tino action all evening were mind boggling. Perhaps the best trick of the night was Stenberg's "back flip to side saddle landing" in the final run of the evening. All things considered, it was an epic display of riding talent that had the 42,000 fans filling the ring chanting, cheering, and screaming.
Kenny Bartram (Backflip / 3rd place) and Ronnie Renner (1st place)
Ronnie Renner may not have been awarded a bull's tail, but if one were given away in FMX, his would be the first name on a bronze plaque up on a wall in the Monumental Plaza México. Ernest Hemingway would have been proud.
1. Ronnie Renner (USA)
2. Twitch Stenberg (USA)
3. Kenny Batram (USA)
4. Ailo Gaup (NOR)
5. Beau Bamburg (USA)
6. Jim McNeil (USA)
7. Manu Troux (FRA)
8. Javier Villegas (CHI)
9. Nick Franklin (NZL)
Andy Harrington USA
Brandon Zundel USA
Edgar Torronteras ESP
Nate Adams USA
Mike Jones USA