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Pastrana gets stuck; Brack wins X Games Rally Car Final

rally

In the final event of X Games 15, Kenny Brack of Sweden managed to steal the gold from defending champion Travis Pastrana. Midway through the race, Pastrana’s car become lodged between the barrier walls. Understanding he had no chance of catching up to Brack, Pastrana ceded the race.

Only 25, Pastrana is one of the most decorated athletes in X Games history. This is his second year that he hasn’t walked away with a medal since beginning to compete in 1999. On the other hand, Brack’s win is quite the success story. Brack, who is a retired IndyCar driver, had never before competed in an X Games. At 43, Brack was one of the oldest competitors at the Games and is relatively new to rally car racing.

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Adam Jones ousted in semis; Blake Williams wins gold in Moto X Freestyle

Blake

Fans have criticized the confusing formats in many of these events. To clue you guys in, here’s the rules explained over at ESPN’s live blog covering motocross at the X Games:

In case you were wondering, tonight’s qualifying is the exact same as earlier today. Two brackets of four riders. Each bracket get three 60 second runs and the judges take the best two. Then they combine the best two and the top two riders out of each bracket move onto the final, which will consist of four riders.

In what is pretty much thought of as the semifinals, both Adam Jones and Todd Potter were unable to advance to the finals. The commentators kept on saying that Jones wasn’t getting the flexibility he usually is able to pull off. I don’t know. What these guys are doing is just insane. I wouldn’t know how to judge any of these tricks. I know this is a competition, but I’m just so amazed at what each of these guys are doing that I completely forget they’re being scored.

Nevertheless, I felt Blake Williams was the most impressive throughout the day. His runs just seemed to have the most energy in them. Each trick was always somehow more confounding than the last. He definitely deserved to take the gold.

I’ve never watched this much coverage of the X Games in my life. I have to admit that I was never convinced of their appeal. Now I can say I’m a real fan. Maybe it’s because these guys are simply getting better. It’s almost like the Slam Dunk Contest in that they have a year to think of a performance that will top the greatest from last year. Also, ESPN has done a great job profiling the athletes and adding drama to the events. So far, it’s been very exciting.

X Games Athlete Profile: Adam Jones

Adam Jones

At only 24 years of age, Adam Jones is already one of the top riders in professional motocross. Interestingly enough, the Warrendale, PA, native didn’t get on a bike until he was 10 years old. Since then, however, it’s been all uphill. Jones spent seven years in the racing scene before an injury forced him to take a year off. He used that time to re-evaluate his perspective on racing. Realizing that he was taking the sport too seriously, he came back with the attitude of trying to have more fun. It was then that Jones decided to take his chances on the IFMA Freestyle Motocross Circuit.

Jones first garnered some attention at an IMFA X Games qualifier where he performed well enough to take the last position. This was to be the start of Jones’ success. Jones took a gold medal at the 2007 X Games and it remains the crowning achievement in his career. Adam’s dominance in 2007 was recognized as he was named the 2007 International Rider of the Year as well as the prestigious 2007 Transworld Motocross Rider of the Year. Since then, Jones has consistently finished in the top three positions at most of the competitions he enters.

Jones has been criticized in the past for sometimes giving a lackluster performance. Some days he might leave everyone in awe while others he simply leaves the fans wanting more. Nevertheless, when he’s on his game he is obviously one of the most creative riders out there. Jones’ repertoire includes great let-go stunts, big bar tricks, and excellent extension.

Adam’s sponsors are Fox Racing, DC Shoes, Smith Optics, Monster Energy Drink, OGIO, Maxxis, Pro Taper, Pro Circuit, Factory Connection. He rides a Yamaha YZ 250.

News and Commentary

Official website

Jones wins the Vans Invitational

GrindTV.com page

Jones in Vienna

Videos

X Games 13 Gold Medal Run

X Games 12 Best Trick Finals

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X Games 15 Preview

X Games

XG15 is under way in Los Angeles.

ESPN previews four different events

Skateboarding: “A confluence of factors makes this year’s Street competition one of the most fascinating to date. To begin with, there’s Ryan Sheckler. Arguably the most recognizable skater on earth, Sheckler comes to Los Angeles hot off a Dew Tour win, and the prototype for competition dominance. But a sagging economy has lured hardcore street skaters who normally focus on producing film segments to take a shot on the sport’s biggest stage. Can guys like Mike Mo Capaldi, Darrell Stanton and Nick Dompierre establish a new competition benchmark? And can any of them stop 15-year-old Chaz Ortiz from making the whole field look old?”

Moto X: “In an event known for big names, perhaps none is bigger than James Stewart. The 23-year-old motocross superstar is on pace to shatter the all-time record for Supercross wins, but first he’s making his first pit stop at X Games. James is known internationally not just for his dominance, but also his breaking down of racial barriers as the sport’s first African-American champion. The X Games gives Stewart the opportunity to test his newfound acceptance of his own fame with a whole new fan base.”

BMX: “Now that Dave Mirra has joined the Action Sports Retirement Tour (otherwise known as the Rally America Championship), it would seem he’s ready finally to cede the X Games BMX stage to other riders, except he’s still competing in both Park and Big Air and remains a gold-medal threat in both. He’s already the most decorated BMX rider in X Games history; will he pad his lead at XG15?”

Rally: “Travis Pastrana has won two of the three X Games Rally events, and his healthy lead in the 2009 Rally America Championship indicates he’s driving as well as ever. The flip side of Pastrana’s consistency is Ken Block, who’s considered the fastest driver in North America, but with a reputation for recklessness that has cost him wins in the past. In six Rally America championships this year, Block has won twice, finished second once and failed to finish three times. Whether or not he can finally break through for X Games gold after winning two bronzes and a silver in the past three might be the most fascinating question at XG15.”

ESPN also has coverage of the ever-elusive front flip, marketing guru Ken Block, 15-year-old skateboarder Chaz Ortiz, supercross star James Stewart and BMXer Van Homan.

You can watch a well-made trailer right here as well.

The Los Angeles Times has also run a series of stories detailing the this year’s events.

On risk, injury, and death

On James Stewart’s debut

On women’s skateboarding

On Jake Brown’s aerial displays

Lastly, I think James Stewart sums up the excitement of the events perfectly in this quote:

“The average person always thinks soccer, football and basketball players are the toughest athletes. But man, I think the guys that come to the X Games are probably some of the most gnarly and talented athletes in the world.”

You can catch the games all week on ESPN and ESPN2.

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