For the first time in the history of NIGHT of the JUMPs, the FMX elite will be performing at a Russian venue. On the weekend of 18th/19th June, the world’s most daring motorcycle riders will descend on the rugby stadium in the city of Penza (approx 550 kilometres south-east of Moscow) to contest the last FIM Freestyle MX World Championship points up for grabs before the summer break.
For the first time this season, a Russian name will appear on the bill as Red Bull rider Aleksey Koleshnikov digs deep into his repertoire to make it into the final round. Not an easy task in such a stellar field of riders. For a start, he is up against Josh Sheehan (AUS), the runaway winner of the last four NIGHT of the JUMPs events, whose presence guarantees a high-calibre battle of tricks with two-time world champion Remi Bizouard (FRA) and current championship leader Javier Villegas (CHL). And last year’s world championship runner-up Jose Miralles (ESP) is sure to have been swatting up on new stunts during the two-week break to aid his campaign.
The situation in the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship going into the Penza weekend is that Villegas on 86 points has a narrow lead over Bizouard on 82. Only four points behind in third place is Miralles.
But as NIGHT of the JUMPs in Munich showed, the young guns of David Rinaldo (FRA), Maikel Melero (ESP) and Petr Pilat (CZE) are always capable of muscling in on the final or even clinching a podium. And the quality of tricks that these boys pull out is enough to put the top names under considerable pressure.
In the first outdoor competition of the season, however, the experience of old hands Bianconcini Massimo (ITA), Fabian Bauersachs (GER) and Lukas Weis (GER) could stand them in good stead, as they are always up for a tough fight. And their ability to conjure up new tricks was demonstrated in convincing fashion recently when Bianconcini performed a Cliffhanger Flip and Weis pulled off a massive 360-Style Underflip.
A big question mark still hangs over reigning World Champion Libor Podmol: the Czech broke a couple of ribs in the last World Championship meet in Basle but is doing his very best to avoid writing off the second half of the season in his title defence.
Romain Izzo (FRA) and Hannes Ackermann (GER) complete the starting field for the NIGHT of the JUMPs / FIM Freestyle MX World Championship in Russia. And surprises are in store, as Izzo proved with his final run in Munich and Ackermann with his Tsunami Flip.
Will rounds 6 and 7 of the World Championship result in a shake-up at the top of the standings, and will Josh Sheehan continue to dominate as he makes his debut in Russia? The fans in Penza can look forward to high drama and a display of the toughest freestyle motocross tricks in the world.
Javier Villegas (CH)
Remi Bizouard (FRA)
Jose Miralles (ESP)
Josh Sheehan (AUS)
Massimo Bianconcini (ITA)
David Rinaldo (FRA)
Maikel Melero (ESP)
Fabian Bauersachs (GER)
Romain Izzo (FRA)
Hannes Ackermann (GER)
Petr Pilat (CZE)
Lukas Weis (GER)
Aleksey Koleshnikov (RUS)
Libor Podmol (CZE) tbc.
FIM Freestyle MX World Championships
Ranking (after 5th contest)
1. Javier Villegas CHL AMA Yamaha 86 Points
2. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Yamaha 82 Points
3. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 78 Points
4. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Suzuki 58 Points
5. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 58 Points
6. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 42 Points
7. Romain Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 41 Points
8. Josh Sheehan AUS MA Honda 40 Points
9. Fabian Bauersachs GER DMSB KTM 39 Points
10. Hannes Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 29 Points
11. Massimo Bianconcini ITA ACCR KTM 24 Points
12. Lukas Weis GER DMSB Suzuki 22 Points
13. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 17 Points
14. Kai Haase GER DMSB Suzuki 10 Points
15. Vanni Oddera ITA ACCR KTM 6 Points