Berlin, February 17, 2018: An incredible display of Freestyle Motocross prowess was delivered this weekend in the German capital with two rounds of NIGHT of the JUMPs events in Berlin. With 11 of the world’s best riders from six nations flying under the roof of the Mercedes-Benz Arena on their motocross bikes, almost 15,000 fans didn’t miss the action as history was re-written.
The first night of competition came with an explosive ending, with visitors treated to history being made in front of their very eyes. Luc Ackermann landed the first ever Double Backflip in a NIGHT of the JUMPs competition. However, since Luc missed one trick in his normal run, he was still lacking a few points and unable to win over the four-time World Champion, Maikel Melero (ESP). For the second night in Berlin, the local German rider knew he had what it takes to finally dismount Melero from his spot at the top of the leaderboard.
The Championship contenders were visibly impressed by Luc’s Double Backflip and all of the riders knew they were going to have to step up their game. First and foremost was Maikel Melero who made an uncharacteristic mistake after slipping off the side of the landing ramp in the preliminary round and slamming into the fence. In sixth position, the Spaniard was very lucky to just sneak into the final top 6 riders. The rider to miss out was Remi Bizouard on the second day in Berlin when he unfortunately had a dead sailor in his run. Petr Pilat struggled after crashing a flair in qualifying and damaging his recently operated on Shoulder and couldn’t show all of the tricks he wanted to get into the top 6.
David Rinaldo (FRA) and Pat Bowden (AUS) who both missed the final on the Friday with errors in their runs, were able to put it behind them and both cruised through qualifying to go into the finals. Rob Adelberg and Libor Podmol completed the final six riders.
As the first rider to start the final round, Maikel Melero was in unfamiliar territory in the start position for the reigning World Champion who has won 11 of the last 12 NIGHT of the JUMPs events. Although he showed his usual good run, today it would not be enough for the win. Libor Podmol would then replace Melero from the Hot Seat early on in the finals. The Czech Ninja landed a clean California Roll to No Hand Landing in the Double Up to put an exclamation mark on his run with 406 points.
Adelberg was then the rider everyone wanted to watch, while oozing style, he started his run with the Cordova Egg Roll and finishing his run with the California Roll. It was only enough to earn him fourth position with 397 points. While Pat Bowden who was third in the qualifying round, showed a more choreographed run with his first trick being an Upright Trick and then immediately backing it up with the same trick performed in a Backflip. For example, a normal Ruler followed by a Ruler Flip, a normal Cliffhanger followed by a Cliffhanger Flip. However lacking a quarter pipe trick or body varial, he fell back to sixth position.
David Rinaldo was clearly out for redemption after missing the final on the previous day. With an aggressive run, Rinaldo landed the California Roll, Lazyboy Flip and Egg Roll. In the double up he extended out his Double Grab Backflip but it wasn’t enough to bump Podmol from the Hotseat.
Then it was time for the big moment to arrive. Luc Ackermann was the last rider of the evening on the track and with 9,000 fans in the sold-out Arena, he gave the crowd goosebumps as he started his run. Luc treated the run like it was full of ‘Best Tricks’ including his Ruler Indy Flip, Holy Grab, Hart Flip, Flair, 360, Egg Roll, Long distance 360 Nac-Nac and the Surfer Tsunami Flip, while saving his new Double Backflip for the Double Up. The judges rewarded his run full of madness with 432 points. The Mercedes-Benz Arena erupted to celebrate their own local ‘German Wunderkind’. It was Luc’s first ever victory in a World Championship round at NIGHT of the JUMPs as he re-wrote history.
With Luc’s first ever victory, he also took the lead in the World Championship overall standings. After three rounds of the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship series, the German leads with 56 points in front of Melero with 52 points. Libor Podmol is currently sitting in third place with 44 points.
Are we at a point where we are seeing a changing of the guard, after the four years domination by Melero? Ackermann has always shocked the other riders in recent years, but he has never challenged because of inconsistency. If Luc can keep this current run going, it will be interesting to see what happens at the fourth World Championship round in Krakow on March 24th, 2018 at the Tauron Arena.
The Maxxis Highest Air competition was back in full swing and Massimo Bianconcini returned to the top after beating Kai Haase who won the previous night, and also Brice Izzo. Remi Bizouard won the Best Whip competition over Pat Bowden.
The conclusion of the biggest weekend of Freestyle Motocross in the German capital has seen the best FMX athletes in the world push their limits and land the most dangerous tricks and watching the German, Luc Ackermann, make history. The dates for 2019 have already been set on February 22nd and 23rd with the NIGHT of the JUMPs return in the Mercedes-Benz Arena. The pre-sale is already up and running. The next World Championship round will take place on March 24th, 2018 at NIGHT of the JUMPs in Krakow (Tauron Arena). If you can’t make it to Krakow, the LiveStream will again be available.
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