And once again, the youngsters in the line-up – Filip Podmol and Luc Ackermann – made it through to the final. Podmol junior qualified with an Underflip, a Surfer Tsunami Flip and various other tricks learnt from his big brother to take a sensational fourth place. Luc had problems again with his Cordova Flip but still managed to squeeze through into the final in sixth. Unfortunately for him, he then had a crash landing in the Lifeproof Best Whip Contest and could barely manage a couple of show jumps in the second part of the main event.
Brice Izzo was also unable to dislodge the younger Podmol from fourth place in the final. Despite performing some well executed tricks, he finished the evening three points adrift.
The internal Czech duel for best result on the night was won by Petr Pilat. The tallest rider in the field pulled off a Dead Body Flip with near perfect extension, leaving Podmol trailing in his wake. It also secured him the Spark7 trophy for Best Trick of the Day. But even so, it still wasn’t enough for more than third place in Sunday’s NIGHT of the JUMPS at Graz.
The battle for top spot was a two-way contest between Remi Bizouard and a top-qualifying Maikel Melero. Remi delighted fans and judges in equal measure with his usual precision and assured style. An exquisite Ruler Flip saw him safely past Pilat.
But then the reigning world champion from Spain struck back. Melero had clearly been struggling in the previous European fixtures, but on Sunday, he was back to form with a new triple combination: a One-hand Takeoff One-Hand Seatgrab Rock Solid to No-Hand-Landing. And with a perfect Doublegrab Flip on his last jump, the judges were convinced that he merited the victory.
In the overall European Championship standings, Remi Bizouard stays ahead of Petr Pilat on 74 to 70 points. Melero on 61 points in third is now within touching distance.
And we mustn’t forget the Maxxis Highest Air in which Massimo Bianconcini and Jose Miralles had a dingdong battle. The bar kept on rising, up and up past the 9.6-metre mark. When both of them knocked it off at 10 metres, Miralles was deemed the winner on the basis of fewer unsuccessful attempts.
NIGHT of the JUMPS will next be held on the weekend of 6th/7th March in Berlin where the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship will be contested. The next round of the European Championship is scheduled for 26th April in Munich. FMX fans in Austria already in possession of a diary for 2016 should pencil in the weekend of 23rd/24th January. That’s when NIGHT of the JUMPs returns to Linz.