On 22nd October, the NIGHT of the JUMPs summer break finally comes to an end. That’s when the best freestyle motocross riders line up for the eighth round of this year’s FIM Freestyle MX World Championship in the Latvian capital of Riga. Since 2007, the largest metropolis in the Baltic states has been a regular fixture on the world championship calendar of NIGHT of the JUMPs. And in the Arena Riga, the organisers have found a worthy venue to kick-start the second half of the 2011 FMX World Championship.
Latvian rookie Martin Alexandrovics has been allocated a slot in the programme outside the official competition to wow his fellow countrymen with his freestyle skills. Then the big names on the international freestyle circuit will take to the track and try to outdo each other with all the spectacular tricks they have been rehearsing over the summer.
The world title battle promises to be a sizzling affair. Javier Villegas from Chile currently leads the standings. 18 points behind is Jose Miralles from Spain, with two-time world champion Remi Bizouard (FRA) breathing down his neck. All three will be sizing up their chances against each other, but they must also be worried about the challenge from FMX shooting star Josh Sheehan. The Australian has not only won the last six NIGHT of the JUMPs in succession but was also signed up for the X Games, where he won bronze with a double backflip. As a new Red Bull rider, he won X-Fighters in Sydney. If Sheehan triumphs in Riga, he becomes a genuine contender for the world championship, in which he is currently lying sixth. Unless his opponents have a secret plan to stop his onward march...
But let’s not forget the likes of David Rinaldo (FRA), Maikel Melero (ESP) and Petr Pilat (Red Bull, CZE), the ‘young guns’ who will have spent every minute in summer camp practising outlandish stunts to make their mark in the second half of the season. We are especially keen to see how Brice Izzo performs in his comeback appearance. The 2010 world championship runner-up, who has been injured since January, is set to return to the track for NIGHT of the JUMPs in Riga. Reigning world champion Libor Podmol will be travelling to Latvia with renewed motivation after seeing his form dip before the break, due in part to carrying a couple of injuries. If he still wants to have a say in the destination of the trophy, nothing less than outright victory in the Baltic will suffice.
Germany is represented by Fabian Bauersachs from Coburg and Hannes Ackermann from Thuringia. Ackermann recently won his third German FMX championship and will want to carry through the momentum from this triumph into the autumn rounds of the competition. Currently lying eighth in the table, Bauersachs will be looking to make further progress in his career.
The field boasts another Red Bull rider in the shape of Aleksey Koleshnikov. The Russian has a lot of backflip combos in his repertoire but has yet to make it through to a NIGHT of the JUMPs shootout. Maybe he will surprise us all in Riga. As for the spectators, they can look forward to high-voltage entertainment and the ultimate in freestyle motocross tricks.
NIGHT of the JUMPs / FIM Freestyle MX World Championship
Round 8, 21st October 2011, Arena Riga, Riga / Latvia
Josh Sheehan (AUS)
Javier Villegas (CHL)
Jose Miralles (ESP)
Libor Podmol (CZE)
Remi Bizouard (FRA)
Maikel Melero (ESP)
David Rinaldo (FRA)
Fabian Bauersachs (GER)
Massimo Bianconcini (ITA)
Brice Izzo (FRA)
Hannes Ackermann (GER)
Petr Pilat (CZE)
Aleksey Koleshnikov (RUS)
+ Martin Alexandrovics (LVA) (slot outside the official competition)
FIM Freestyle MX World Championships
Ranking (after 7th contest)
1. Javier Villegas CHL AMA Yamaha 118 Points
2. Jose Miralles ESP RFME KTM 100 Points
3. Remi Bizouard FRA FFM Yamaha 97 Points
4. Maikel Melero ESP RFME Yamaha 86 Points
5. Libor Podmol CZE ACCR Suzuki 81 Points
6. Josh Sheehan AUS MA Honda 80 Points
7. David Rinaldo FRA FFM Yamaha 76 Points
8. Fabian Bauersachs GER DMSB KTM 57 Points
9. Romain Izzo FRA FFM Yamaha 52 Points
10. Massimo Bianconcini ITAL ACCR KTM 36 Points
11. Lukas Weis GER DMSB Suzuki 36 Points
12. Hannes Ackermann GER DMSB KTM 35 Points
13. Petr Pilat CZE ACCR KTM 17 Points
14. Kai Haase GER DMSB Suzuki 10 Points
15. Nikolay Ivankov RUS MFR Honda 7 Points