The future of freestyle motocross just might have a distinctly French flair if the 2012 UEM Freestyle MX European championships are any indication: French riders Rémi Bizouard, David Rinaldo, and Brice Izzo took all three podium stops at the conclusion of the Union Européenne de Motocyclisme-sanctioned series on Saturday night in Mannheim, Germany, with Bizouard taking the overall championship title ahead of Izzo and Chilean rider Javier Villegas.
Villegas, Bizouard's closest rival in recent International Freestyle Motocross Federation (IFMXF) events, had lead the UEM series prior to this weekend after beating Bizouard in both of the opening rounds in Linz, Austria in January, but missed Saturday's competition due to a schedule conflict with the Red Bull X-Fighters in Glen Helen, Calif.
That left a wide opening for Bizouard, a fierce competitor who has been throwing 360 underflips and other massive tricks in IFMXF competition this year. He won the qualification round on Saturday at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, then dominated in finals, with a run featuring a ruler flip, cliffhanger flip, 360, and Hart attack flip.
"It's been a good day and it's been a good year already," Bizouard said, after the competition. "I'm looking forward to the rest of the season but it's a long season with the World Cup," he said, referring to the fact that he is also the current overall points leader on the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship tour -- ahead of Czech rider Libor Podmol and Izzo -- after winning the first and third rounds and taking second in the second and fourth rounds.
Bizouard is also the current overall points leader on the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship tour -- ahead of Czech rider Libor Podmol and Izzo -- after winning the first and third rounds and taking second in the second and fourth rounds.
If Bizouard comes out on top, it will be his third FIM World Championship title. "I wish that... but you know it's a long season, we're still having a lot of events coming up, and I will try my best to hold here," he said, after Saturday's UEM finals. "But you can't really say 'til the last event because it's really not a safe action sport, so you never know what can happen. I will keep working and practicing and I hope I'm going to do it this year."
The FIM tour continues on June 15 in Togliatti, Russia before taking a summer hiatus, then picks up again Sept. 15-16 in Guangzhou, China. This week the IFMXF announced it has signed a multiple-year contract with Chinese promoter Ye Jianhuato to bring the FIM series to China annually.
Final results from Mannheim, Germany:
1. Rémi Bizouard (FRA) 396 points
2. David Rinaldo (FRA) 380 points
3. Brice Izzo (FRA) 378 points
4. Libor Podmol (CZE) 375 points
5. Brody Wilson (USA) 320 points
6. Pedro Moreno (ESP) 314 points
Final results, 2012 UEM Freestyle MX European Championship:
1. Remi Bizouard (FRA) 56 points
2. Brice Izzo (FRA) 40 points
3. Javier Villegas (CHL) 40 points
4. Jose Miralles (ESP) 28 points
5. Hannes Ackermann (GER) 26 points
6. Petr Pilat (CZE) 24 points