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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Living in America, many times we're not up to date with all the FMX competitions going on around the world. All I used to know about international FMX came from watching a couple clips on Fuel TV's M-80 and I knew that Adam Jones and Mike Mason went over there sometimes. That was until I rode an international event. Looking at the list of riders I thought, "I don't even know half of these guys, this will be easy." I had heard of Andre Villa and Mat Rebeaud before, but not all the other guys on the roster. Once the night event started, the riders were throwing KOD flips, holy grabs, cliffhanger flips and all kinds of gnarly stuff I wasn't expecting. Needless to say, I went home and stepped up my practice program for the next IFMXF event I was scheduled to participate in.

The IFMXF series is major and with the riders facing gnarly competition week in and week out, the level of riding gets pushed further and further. Know how Adam Jones does cordova flips? The first one wasn't thrown at an X Games Best Trick competition, it was thrown in a normal freestyle run at the IFMXF.

Trying to keep up with the Euro riders took its tole on Mr. Hartman

With the level of competition being pushed harder every year, 2008 has seen some of the gnarliest stuff yet and I was blessed with the opportunity to be part of it. A brain injury has left me on the sidelines for the last 4 rounds, but that doesn't mean that everyone else took a vacation. This year we saw Andre Villa come out charging, winning the first round and continuing on to win the next two as well. Remi Bizouard was always right there, but it seemed like Villa had the edge. Unfortunately, Andre Villa suffered a broken tib/fib at the Red Bull X-Fighters in Poland, so the IFMXF series championship was up for grabs.

With Villa sidelined, Remi couldn't help but basically win everything else. "Andre is one of the best riders in the world so without him, it's not the same" said Remi of not having as much competition around. The late season also saw Libor Podmol make a strong come back, swinging hard. Libor broke his ankle in the off-season and entered the season with very little confidence. Bizouard said he knew that Libor could be one of the best riders in the world and now he is.

The king of Europe in 2008.

So that's a super short and quick wrap-up of the 2008 IFMXF series till now, but the series wraps up this weekend in Fortaleza, Brazil. Even though they've all but handed Remi the series trophy, it'll still be a rad event with plenty of gnarly riding.

When asked what he's going to do after the season Remi said, "I'm going to practice more to be better for next year." I was thinking he'd say something more along the lines of "I'm going to Disneyworld," or "I'm taking Mexican cruise with free drinks", but I guess Europe doesn't have either of those things, so he might as well just practice. He could always go to the Berlin wall and cry, but that doesn't sound like much of a celebration. —Greg

Check out for all the info as well as some really videos, photos and interviews.

Here's a cool piece featuring series champion, Remi Bizouard.

And here's a video of author Greg Hartman — shot by his wife.