Motocross

Something for the weekend?

Something for the weekend?

its first ever major international FMX event when the IFMXF take their Night of the Jumps series to Vienna. A total of 15 riders – representing 10 nations – make the trip to the Stadthalle arena for the two-night contest. AUSTRIA SEES its first ever major international FMX event when the IFMXF take their Night of the Jumps series to Vienna. A total of 15 riders – representing 10 nations – make the trip to the Stadthalle arena for the two-night contest.
Unfortunately, Aussie entrant Dayne Kinnaird knocks himself senseless in pre-event practice after landing a little sideways following one of his insane combo tricks. He’ll take no further part in the weekend’s events. Another rider to crash out in practice is Evil 3’s stocky Steve Cousins – but less said about that the better. Eh Steve?
That leaves just 13 riders to battle it out for top spot at the IFMXF-sanctioned event which is not only the first big indoor contest in Austria but also the first FMX contest to be aired live on national TV anywhere.
The event also sees the emergence of South African talent on the Euro FMX scene as Red Star Yamaha youngsters Nick De Wit and Werner Van De Merve make their European debuts. "We’ve never been to anything like this before," says Werner. "We’re just here to learn and we’ll come back stronger next time."
Also making his indoor debut is local hero Martin ‘Muph’ Schenk who goes up against a quality entry comprising British Evil 3 riders Chris Brock and Sean Vukovic, German Upforce team-mates Fab Bauersachs and Busty Wolter, Jimmy Verburgh – who’s celebrating the birth of his son Travis by running #199 on his front number plate, Mad Mike Jones who won last time out in Riesa, Norway’s Ailo Gaup and Oystein Kjorstad, Canada’s Benoit Milot and Frenchman Kevin Burcklen.
It’s certainly a top-class entry and the evening’s entertainment is kicked off in front of an 8,000-strong audience with a top-class pyro show. As the smoke’s still clearing from the opening ceremonies the qualifying session begins. As usual for an IFMXF event, each rider is given a one-minute run with their best eight tricks to count.
Highlights of the qualifying session are definitely Vukovic’s dead-man bar hop, Brock’s signature shoebox, Kjorstad’s massive rock solids and Busty Wolter crashing out after trying a lazy boy to no-hander-lander. But the best qualifying run is from Alloy’s Ailo Gaup – he’s always aggressive and entertaining but tonight he’s on a higher level. Even after crashing during his run, Ailo still manages to take the top score with his flawless McMetzs, double grabs and combo tricks.
With the qualifying session done, the final places taken and the live TV cameras still rolling, the six chosen riders for the best whip contest ride into the arena – the crowd will judge this one with the winner decided by their cheers. The riders take to the course in a train formation and pull some enormous whips. Brock looks good and so does Wolter while Jonesy tries some no-handed whips – but they’re not as flat as they could be. The surprise winner is Milot who receives the loudest cheers and also a huge bottle of champagne for his efforts.
It’s time for a short break to allow the Austrian FMX fans to catch their breath and for the IFMXF ground crew to erect their poles ready for the highest-air contest.
With the break over and the dancing girls finishing their routine, Jones, Verburgh, Brock, Milot and Riesa plus high jump dominators Bauersachs and Wolter all line up to take their shot at clearing the bar.
The bar starts at five metres which all the riders clear easily and it’s not until the bar is raised to 5.8m that Verburgh knocks it down. Bauersachs and Benoit manage to jump six metres before they get knocked out. Out of the remaining three, Wolter is first to crack and he fails to clear the bar at 6.6m but Jones makes it over leaving Chris Brock next up.
The Brock Star gives it a good go but ends up ghost-riding his Yamaha (Jason Higgs’ practice bike), bending the bars and brake lever and bruising his ankle. A delighted Jones takes the win and the champers as a dejected Chris limps back to the pits to try and straighten his bike before the final runs.
First to run in the finals is Wolter. The KTM rider has to borrow a shock absorber after breaking his in qualifying and this unsettles the German whose run isn’t up to his usual standard. But he still sets a good score of 258 points which is the benchmark for the others to beat.
Next out is Busty’s Upforce team-mate Bauersachs whose fairly standard final run obliterates Wolter’s score. The run consists of a good lazy boy, double grab variations and his signature trick – the Fab-Hop. The judges reckon the run’s worth 293 points which places Fab in the top position.
Evil 3 team leader Chris Brock runs next, barely making it in time after working on his broken bike. Unfortunately, he hasn’t taken the time to attend to his badly swollen ankle and it severely limits his run – but he still manages to pull some huge whips and the best cliffhanger of the entire weekend. Still, his score of 286 isn’t enough to take the lead from Bauersachs.
The next man to go is the first of the Viking invaders, lanky Suzuki rider Oystein Kjorstad. Kjorstad has spent the week training in the sunshine of Spain and it shows in his final run – his timing is spot on and his tricks all fully extended and executed perfectly. The judges appreciate his run, giving him the lead with just two riders left to run.
Mad Mike Jones is next out onto the course but doesn’t ride to his full potential, fluffing several of his tricks and looking a little wooden. This is shown in his final score and he ends up a point shy of Bauersachs – much to his disgust. He gestures towards the judges but their decision is final and, as it’s been said many times before, the judge won’t budge. "The judges suck!" he shouts as he storms back to the pits.
That just leaves Ailo Gaup left to try and take the win from his fellow countryman. Kjorstad looks on nervously from the hot seat as Gaup shreds up the course on his Honda. Gaup’s run is a good one and his mix of bar tricks, grab tricks and combos gets a standing ovation from the fans and a whopping 314 points from the judges – making him the first Norwegian ever to win a major international FMX contest. "I’m so pleased to win, I wasn’t sure I’d even make it to the final after crashing in my qualifying run," says an ecstatic Ailo.
The second day of the contest follows exactly the same format as the first – but with a slightly different outcome. Milot pulls the surprise of the weekend when he comes from nowhere to finish second in the qualifying rounds. All of yesterday’s qualifiers make it through again with the exception of Wolter who crashes while trying a lazy boy to no-hander-lander.
The whip contest is again won by Milot after the crowd decide he’s the best at throwing his bike flat and Verburgh wins the high jump ahead of Wolter, Bauersachs and Jones. Brock sits this one out to rest his swollen ankle.
With the results of these two disciplines done and dusted, it just leaves the two-minute final runs to decide who will win tonight’s Main Event.
Kjorstad, who qualified in sixth, runs first this time but he can’t match his previous evening’s form and looks disappointed. He gets to sit in the hot seat briefly but is soon displaced by an on-form Mad Mike.
Jones does a much better run today and manages to pull a stage dive – double grab to no-hander-lander – which obviously scores highly as he takes the lead.
The next rider to run – Bauersachs – cottons onto the fact that no-hander-landers are being scored highly by the judges as he does about four in his run after technical tricks such as his McMetz and lazy boy. Incredibly, the judges decide Jones and Bauersachs have scored the exact same number of points and they share the hot seat – although, technically, Fab leads with a better score from his qualifying run.
Brock runs next and is still troubled by his swollen ankle. The pain stops him from executing a shoebox successfully but it doesn’t prevent him from pulling a great superman, some double grab variations and one of his sick vertical cliff hangers. The score he’s given is fair enough for the run that he’s put in but he’s not too happy with his weekend. "I didn’t ride very well and my ankle’s wrecking," is all he can say.
Next rider out Milot doesn’t ride to the standard he showed with his qualifying run and scores equal points with the Brock Star, which means the only rider who can beat Bauersachs is last night’s winner Gaup.
Ailo is obviously determined and riding in a very aggressive manner. Although he puts in a solid run it isn’t as smooth, stylish or as fluid as his previous night’s run. He’s still a threat to win though because of the technical difficulty of his tricks but when his score is announced he’s a single point short of taking the win. It’s that close at the top with just two points separating the top three.
So Bauersachs claims his first major win of the year ahead of Jones and Gaup and that wraps up the inaugural Night of the Jumps contest in Vienna.
Words by Sutty