Eleven riders from six countries were in the NIGHT of the JUMPs line-up. Podmol, now fit again, was back on the scene, hoping for another podium, as Maikel Melero had to miss the event due to injury.
Germany had three contenders in the European championship fight – Lukas Weis, and Luc and Hannes Ackermann. For them, though, it was also about producing a good performance with an eye to the Freestyle of Nations, in which the three make up Team Germany. Unfortunately, none of them made it to the final. Luc Ackermann in eighth position just missed scraping through into the final round.
Rob Adelberg, the only non-European rider, took pole position for the final. The man from Down Under went to the top of qualifying with a perfect run.
Spain, France and the Czech Republic were each represented by two dirt bike riders. Libor Podmol and Petr Pilat (both CZE) and Remi Bizouard and Brice Izzo (both FRA) were on top form in qualifying and made it to the finals, whilst Spanish rider Dany Torres even made it into the final round. Jose Miralles was consigned to a lowly seventh place, despite producing good performances, but El Loco really warmed up for the Freestyle of Nations in the Rockwell Watch Best Whip, which he won with his unique Clicker Whip from German rider Lukas Weis, who also produced top-class Whips.
Bianconcini pinned all his hopes on winning Maxxis Highest Air. The Italian had completely screwed up his freestyle run with three dead sailors and wanted to win the high jump come what may. However, he had not reckoned with Jose Miralles and Luc Ackermann, who both outdid him. The crowd went wild over German youngster Luc Ackermann when he jumped 9.00 metres after Miralles had knocked the bar off.
Podmol was first rider out in the final, executing his tricks – Cliffhanger No Hand Lander and Underflip to 1-Hand-Lander to name but a few. He was thus able to catch Brice Izzo, who pulled off Tsunami Flip and his new Combo 1-Hand-Take of Can Can Flip to One Hand Lander.
Next, Petr Pilat produced the best final run of his career. Tsunami Flip, Triple Saran Wrap, Seatgrab Flip and his new Sidesattle Take-of Candybar Flip Candybar to Candybar Landing. Normally, he would have claimed a place on the podium, but not on this day. Firstly, Dany Torres let fly with Double Seatgrab flip, Paris Hilton Flip, Hart Attack Flip and the Lazyflip in the double-up, which would probably have given him the win in any other contest. But then Remi Bizouard countered with Cliffhanger Flip, Hart Attack Flip and his Ruler Flip, which was good enough to catch Torres and give him the ‘hot seat’, but not for long. Adelberg put both the Cliffhanger Flip and the Tsunami Flip over the 24 metre gap to leapfrog his way up the field to victory.
Still, Frenchman Remi Bizouard did not remain down in the mouth for long, as second place won him the crown in the overall standings of the FMX European Championship. Fellow Frenchman, Brice Izzo, finished in second position. Fifth overall was not enough to enable Podmol to snatch Melero’s podium away from him. And so, the diminutive Spaniard was third in the EM in absentia.
Many of the riders contesting the NIGHT of the JUMPs in Mannheim are now preparing for the World Team Championship. The premiere of the FIM Freestyle of Nations will take place on May 31st, 2014 in the Veltins Arena, formerly aufSchalke Arena