Luc Ackermann took home the gold at the Red Bull Dirt Diggers
On Saturday, ten men routed around in the dirt in the pithead stocks of Lohberg, Germany. But they were not mining coal; these men set out under the hot September sun in front of ecstatic fans to see who would come out on top as the motocross champion. The best international motocrossers rode on one of the world’s biggest freeride courses for the Red Bull Dirt Diggers to find out who is the best all-rounder of their sport. And freestyle history was made, with one world premiere after the next, like a Contest Double Backflip over the Dirt Takeoff.
German FMX terminator Luc Ackermann of Niederdorla took home the gold, landing tricks that lead to victory in all three contests. Ackermann said about his victory: “It is absolutely unbelievable. I am so happy to have won. Props to all of the other riders for their performance today.” Another German came in third: Kai Haase of Berlin was third only to Luc and David Rinaldo (FRA).
Ten freestyle riders from seven countries were challenged in three categories on a six hectare course: on the “Snake Run” riders had to complete a slippery, flowing line of freeride jumps. In the FMX stage “Compound” they catapulted over the ramps with spectacular jumps. And the spectators were witness to fantastic jumps on “The Big Dogs.”
New Category to play hard & creative
The event started off with the “Snake Run,” where spectacular tricks were not the primary focus: the judges wanted to see smooth runs and original lines. Kai Haase impressed the judges, creating a line that was all his own and coming in second place. Australia’s Pat Bowden was out to get points with tricks, doing an overly long Tsunami Flip over the Step Up Takeoff. But he wasn’t able to land the flip and ultimately fell behind. The other rider from Down Under, Jarryd McNeil, showed off awesome Whips and a smooth line, which helped him secure third place. Then Luc Ackermann let loose. He started out with a Double Backflip over the Step Up Dirt Kicker and crashed, and fans were left holding their breath. But he jumped right back onto his Husqvarna, tried the double rotation again, and landed it perfectly. It was a world premiere: the first double flip over a sand takeoff in a competition.
An awesome FMX Stage
The FMX stage was opened up by Pat Bowden, who pounded out two Frontflips, one No Hand and another Seatgrab Indy Frontflip. These tricks combined with his best extended flips brought him to second place in the FMX ranking. France’s David Rinaldo was the only other rider who could have beat him out of his rank as the only one in the line-up to land a Body Varial (when the body turns while the bike does not rotate) and Rock Solid Flip. Rinaldo wanted to finish off his ride with the Ruler Frontflip, but he crashed, placing him behind Pat Bowden. For the Best Moments on the FMX course, Jarryd McNeil showed off a One Hand Takeoff Whip To No Hand. The German riders ended the FMX session. First, Kai Haase awed with tricks like the Lazy Flip, Cordova Flip (rotating the extended body with feet under the handle bars) and the Super Flip, temporarily securing third place in the overall ranking. But the German FMX terminator Luc Ackermann came back and, once again, almost gave spectators a heart attack. He launched into a ride on the first ramp and crashed again, just like on his first ride. But not even that could stop the 21-year-old. He shook it off, got back on his bike and landed a No Hand Frontflip, Double Backflip, Clicker Superflip, Flair (540 degree turn), Holygrab (flying over the motorcycle free-handed), a Seatgrab Flip and Ruler Flip. The judges were impressed, ranking him number one for the second stage.
Decision at the Big Dogs
The great Red Bull Dirt Diggers finale was the “The Big Dogs” course, where the riders had 15 minutes to show what they had on jumps as long as 40 metres. All of the riders shone with Whips, Upside Tricks and Transfers. But some even showed off their Backflips. The spectators “flipped out” over Belgium’s Gilles Dejong and England’s Jamie Squibb. Kai Haase and David Rinaldo also showed off rotations and difficult stunts over these long distances. But this course would also be dominated by one person: Luc Ackermann. The German just flipped over the 40 metres as if it were a piece of cake. No one else could hold a light to his jumps, putting Ackermann in first place of the third stage as well. Ackermann racked up a total of 811 points during the event, making him the Red Bull Dirt Digger overall champion. David Rinaldo took home the silver, and the bronze went to Germany’s Kai Haase. Pat Bowden hat to settle for fourth place, but he was able to take home the award for Best Trick for his Seatgrab Frontflip. The trophy for Best Whip went to Jarryd McNeil and the Best Moment went to Luc Ackermann for the Dirt Takeoff Double Backflip.