Nov 22, 2014  Destination of title still uncertain as Rinaldo wins Day 1 of NIGHT of the JUMPs in Frankfurt
NIGHT of the JUMPs returned to the Frankfurt Festhalle on Friday after a nine-year absence.
Eleven riders from five nations competed in the penultimate round of this year’s FIM Freestyle MX World Championship. Local fans were rooting for the three German contestants, Luc and Hannes Ackermann and Lukas Weis, but were also intrigued by the three-way battle at the top between current championship leader Maikel Melero (ESP), Libor Podmol (CZE) and Remi Bizouard (FRA).

Frankfurt turned out not to be such a happy hunting ground for the 2010 world champion from the Czech Republic. In the third round of free practice, Podmol tried to pull off a Flair over the Quarter but slipped on landing and had to retire injured. He was instantly out of contention for the title and headed home early.

The championship battle was now down to a two-horse race between Melero and Bizouard whose primary concern was to survive the qualifying round. Melero secured a preliminary second place with a Doublegrab Flip. Bizouard’s Tsunami Flip was enough to take him through in fifth place. However, the overall winner in qualification was reigning world champion David Rinaldo with a Doublegrab Flip and a new Stripper Flip variation.

Petr Pilat and Brice Izzo also progressed to the final, but the big sensation for the home crowd was the run by Luc Ackermann. The 16-year-old performed a 360, a Surfer Takeoff Tsunami Flip and a Flair to qualify in third position.

NOTJ returnee Jamie Squibb from England was unable to produce the goods on the night. Also going out at halftime in the freestyle competition were Jose Miralles, Hannes Ackermann and Lukas Weis. ‘Whipmaster’ Weis at least had the instant consolation of prevailing in the subsequent LifeProof Best Whip Contest.

The Maxxis Highest Air Contest was a face-off between Luc Ackermann, Jose Miralles and Lukas Weis. The trio saw the absence of regular winner Massimo Bianconcini as a great opportunity for glory, and so it was that Miralles claimed victory ahead of Luc Ackermann. But worse than the defeat in the side competition for Luc was the damage to the suspension of his bike sustained on his last jump which threatened to scupper his chances in the freestyle final. Fortunately, the official NIGHT of the JUMPs crew were able to swap the broken spring with one from his brother’s machine in a matter of minutes. Luc thus embarked on his maiden world championship final round, reprising his 360 and Surfer Takeoff Tsunami Flip. However, his Flair wasn’t quite as smartly executed as in the preliminary heat, which bumped him down one place to fourth.

Petr Pilat put in a spectacular run to deprive the young German of a potential podium. He took the third spot with a series of accomplished backflip triple combos.

Remi Bizouard went first in the championship showdown. His run included a Hart Attack, Ruler Flip and Cliffhanger Flip. This put him into the hot seat which he retained against the challenge of Melero. The diminutive Spaniard showed his determination to get the title decided on the night with a Double Seatgrab Flip and a new Cordova to Superflip combo. The plan was to force the issue with a Flair in the double-up, but in his eagerness, he crashed and fell back to sixth place. Which of course maintains the championship suspense until tomorrow. Going into the last world championship event of the season, Melero has 130 points, just eight more than Remi Bizouard on a score of 122.

Victory on Friday went to David Rinaldo. The Frenchman was the well-deserved winner with a Doublegrab Indy Flip and California Roll.

On Saturday, the Festhalle in Frankfurt hosts the tenth and last round of the 2014 World Championship. The deciding freestyle competition and crowning of the new champion can be seen live on Coverage begins at 9pm local time (CET).

Firstname Lastname Nat WR Pts
1 David Rinaldo FRA 20.0
2 Remi Bizouard FRA 18.0
3 Petr Pilat CZE 16.0
4 Luc Ackermann GER 14.0
5 Brice Izzo FRA 12.0
6 Maikel Melero ESP 10.0
7 Jose Miralles ESP 9.0
8 Jamie Squibb GBR 8.0
9 Lukas Weis GER 7.0
10 Hannes Ackermann GER 6.0

Firstname Lastname Nat Pts
1 David Rinaldo FRA 393.0
2 Remi Bizouard FRA 381.0
3 Petr Pilat CZE 364.0
4 Luc Ackermann GER 352.0
5 Brice Izzo FRA 351.0
6 Maikel Melero ESP 322.0

Highest Air
Firstname Lastname Nat Height
1 Jose Miralles ESP 8.5 m
2 Luc Ackermann GER 8.2 m
3 Lukas Weis GER 7.0 m

Whip Contest
Firstname Lastname Nat
1 Lukas Weis GER

Firstname Lastname Nat Points
1 David Rinaldo FRA 347.0
2 Maikel Melero ESP 343.0
3 Luc Ackermann GER 336.0
4 Petr Pilat CZE 332.0
5 Remi Bizouard FRA 331.0
6 Brice Izzo FRA 328.0
7 Jose Miralles ESP 278.0
8 Jamie Squibb GBR 267.0
9 Lukas Weis GER 227.0
10 Hannes Ackermann GER 211.0