Friday night was stamped into the history books of Freestyle Motocross sport. 11 riders from 6 nations competed in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin at NIGHT of the JUMPs. In the first of the two German rounds of the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship competitions, the spectators were left with the most thrilling end to the battle.
The two main players in the World Championship battle at the start of the season are the reigning World Champion Maikel Melero from Spain and the 20-year-old German, Luc Ackermann. The German struck first by finishing the qualification in first position by stomping big tricks such as the Egg Roll, the Flair and the Surfer Tsunami Flip. Luc took the Pole Position into the Final ahead of Melero who landed the Flair in his otherwise safe run, to end in 3rd position in qualifying. It was the rider in the middle of Luc and Maikel who could make a difference in the final rankings, Remi Bizouard who qualified in second place with his huge Tsunami Flip and Egg Roll.
Also making it into the finals were the two Czech Republic riders, Libor Podmol and Petr Pilat and also Rob Adelberg. The Australian returned to the FIM World Championships after a 17 months hiatus. Adelberg missed the first round of the 2018 season in Basel due to the Winter X Games in America where he secured the Gold Medal for the Snowbike Best Trick with a California Roll. In the final however, the Australian put together a stylish run but only enough to find himself in third position on the podium.
Remi Bizouard, who planted himself firmly on the podium at the Swiss opener in January with a Volt, decided to finish the first night in Berlin without the Volt and was pipped by Adelberg and relegated to fourth position.
Libor Podmol washed out on the landing from his Egg Roll and wasn’t able to recover, by throwing a Dead Sailor in his final run which saw him sit in sixth position overall. His Czech compatriot, Petr Pilat impressed everybody with his sheer determination to even ride after struggling after his shoulder surgery over the Winter Break and was rewarded with fifth position after landing his flair again in competition.
The battle was down to the top two Championship riders in 2018. Maikel Melero did what was needed to pick up 405 points and take his position on the Hot Seat before the final rider, Luc Ackermann would challenge him. Luc demonstrated perhaps his cleanest run we’ve ever seen at NIGHT of the JUMPs with the Flair, 360, Egg Roll, Hart Flip, Ruler Indy Flip and Long Distance 360 Nac-Nac. Luc was about to perform his final trick of the run, the Surfer Tsunami Flip, however he had the awareness to realise he had run out of time and needed to abort this trick and get ready for the Double Up jump. Luc quickly spun around, got into position and headed towards the super kicker. With that, Luc wrote history as the German FMX Wunderkind after stomping the landing on a clean Double Backflip under the roof of the Mercedes-Benz Arena with the first ever Double Backflip in a competition in the history of NIGHT of the JUMPs. The fans went ballistic with excitement for the young 20 years old, however with missing one trick in his run, the victory went to Melero and Ackermann finished in second only 12 points behind.
The German crowd had even more to cheer about, with the Berliner and local hero, Kai Haase, managing to defeat Massimo Bianconcini in the Maxxis Highest Air competition. Haase cleared the 8.00 metre height with ease, and took the win after the Italian was forced to retire due to a mechanical fault.
The overall standings of the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship is still very tight after two rounds, with Melero on the maximum points possible of 40 points, just ahead of Luc Ackermann with 36 points. With Saturday’s competition giving another round to the FIM World Championship series points tally, all the riders have the chance to improve their rankings at the third round of the World Championship in the Berlin Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Results NIGHT of the JUMPs – Final
1. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 405 Points
2. Luc Ackermann GER DMSB Husqvarna 393 Points
3. Rob Adelberg AUS MA Yamaha 383 Points
4. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki 382 Points
5. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 381 Points
6. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Husqvarna 263 Points
1. Luc Ackermann GER DMSB Husqvarna 359 Points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki 349 Points
3. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 338 Points
4. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Husqvarna 334 Points
5. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 326 Points
6. Rob Adelberg AUS MA Yamaha 325 Points
7. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 317 Points
8. Pat Bowden AUS MA Yamaha 306 Points
9. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 300 Points
10. Leonardo Fini ITA PZM KTM 283 Points
11. Kai Haase GER DMSB Suzuki 246 Points
1. Kai Haase GER DMSB Suzuki 8,00 Meter
2. Massimo Bianconcini ITA PZM KTM 7,50 Meter
3. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 6,00 Meter
Results Team Synchro Contest
1. Kai Haase GER / Maikel Melero ESP
Ranking (after 2nd contest)
1. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 40 Points
2. Luc Ackermann GER DMSB Husqvarna 36 Points
3. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Kawasaki 30 Points
4. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Husqvarna 24 Points
5. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 21 Points
6. Pat Bowden AUS MA Yamaha 20 Points
7. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 19 Points
8. Rob Adelberg AUS MA Yamaha 16 Point
9. Brice Izzo FRA FFM Kawasaki 15 Points
10. Leonardo Fini ITA PZM KTM 13 Points
11. Marc Pinyol ESP RFME Yamaha 6 Points
Text and pictures NightOfTheJumps